Can This Bracelet Change The World?
When is a piece of string not just a piece of string? When that piece of string becomes a bracelet, and that bracelet becomes an industry, and that industry changes the lives of people in a small town in Costa Rica. Pura Vida, a collection of boho bracelets that have been seen on celebs like Rihanna and Victoria's Secret swimsuit models, started out as a collaboration between a pair of California guys and two Costa Rican bracelet craftsman.
Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman, traveling through Costa Rica after graduating college and digging on the easy vibes and gorgeous scenery, instantly recognized the commercial potential of the colorful string bracelets. An original order of 400 bracelets, brought back to the States and placed in a local boutique, sold out within days. Realizing that the bracelets were more than a fashion statement, but truly a symbol of the simple things in life, Thall and Goodman re-connected with the Costa Rican artisans and hatched a business plan, which has now sold over three million of bracelets all over the world. Did they think their chance encounter on a surf trip would end in such success? "Ha — definitely not, not at all!" says Thall, who adds that he's sure the their local employees in Costa Rica, who are now 100+ strong and employed full-time by Pura Vida, probably didn't expect this commerce explosion for their town, either.
Styled on Victoria's Secret models for the swimsuit catalog and seen in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, Pura Vida's colorful bracelets have become an iconic part of beach culture — soon to be joined by a boho-inspired bikini collection, a colorful group of clutches, and further evolving bracelet styles, all which incorporate the core string bracelet at their heart. There's also a full range of charity-supporting styles, which have yielded nearly $900,000 in donations to causes like breast cancer awareness and manatee conservation. Every clothing purchase at puravidabracelets.com is shipped with a free bracelet — part of the brand's promotional campaign, but also part of their plan to continue to employ artisans in Costa Rica. "Providing jobs for all those people is really at the heart of the business," Thall says, proving that this stylish business they're building also has a ton of heart, too.