If you’re a millennial in 2017, chances are you've heard about, or own, a Pura Vida bracelet. With nearly 1 Million Instagram followers and a feed so transfixing you feel like you're actually on a beach, Pura Vida has been riding one heck of an online wave. Founded in 2010, the company has done a phenomenal job of creating a lifestyle through their products and online presence. We spoke with CEO Griffin Thall on how the company maintains its online growth and how their brand was initially created + tips on getting featured on their page.
Instasize: At what point did you think “wow, there’s an opportunity here” and how did you go about starting a company?
Griffin Thall: My business partner and I were traveling around Costa Rica when we stumbled upon some local craftsman creating these super simple, but eye catching bracelets. We bought a bunch, brought them back to California and sold them locally. We kept selling out of bracelets and we couldn’t keep enough inventory to stock the demand. That's when we realized we had potential to scale.
IS: How is Pura Vida creating social change? How have bracelet sales improved the lives of those creating them?
GT: We help power artisans around the world by purchasing the bracelets + products they're producing. We work with a number of skilled artisans that help us create rings, bracelets, bags, clutches, and more. Because we purchase in such high volumes it creates steady income for them and their families. We started in only Costa Rica, but now the artisans are located all over the world! They help bring our ideas to life.
IS: The content your IG account consistently features is gorgeous. How did you settle on an overall theme + feel for the company?
GT: As you know, the term "Pure Vida" means "pure life" and everything about our brand emulates that. We want our customers to really enjoy and appreciate the simple things in life. We are inspired by brands that have simple and relaxed vibes, like Free People and Billabong
Our Instagram, @puravidabracelets, content is a mixture of travel and beach photography and natural-looking models. What I mean by “natural-looking” is we want the people wearing our bracelets to be relatable and very in tune with our overall message of enjoying the simple things in life.
IS: How do you choose which photos get featured on your account?
GT: Our first line of attack when it comes to the Instagram page is to go through our hashtag. We check #PuraVidaBracelets on a weekly basis and from there I have a team who selects their top picks and those get posted. The photos we choose all give off a feeling of "wanderlust". We want the photo to pull you in, and to make you think "wow, I wish I could be there at this exact moment". It's that feeling that consistently has them coming back for more on a daily basis.
Every photo we post has a lot of thought put into it. You may or may not have noticed, but every 3 photos has a color theme. We keep that consistent. We want our page to be a storybook of colors. Our Instagram page is actually one of the highest grossing in regards to engagement throughout Instagram. We love that our customers are deeply involved with the content that gets posted.
IS: Pura Vida means “pure life” and we notice that there’s a certain type of lifestyle you are portraying. Can you tell me about that lifestyle?
GT: I would say the lifestyle is very laid back, very carefree, and about never taking anything for granted.
We want our customers to not sweat the small things and enjoy every moment that life has to offer. After interacting with the people of Costa Rice, we realized the value of living and enjoying every moment, and we wanted to carry that over into our brand. The lifestyle isn't lavish or expensive, it's chill and laid back.
"We want our customers to not sweat the small things and enjoy every moment that life has to offer."
IS: We absolutely love the charity bracelets your company makes. Where did the idea stem from and how many charities are you currently working with?
GT: We are currently working with over 150 charities (190 bracelets) which is awesome. It began with just one charity and from there our customers began suggesting other charities, such as "suicide prevention awareness", "alzheimer's disease awareness", and several more.Each bracelet has a percentage of profit that goes directly to the charity.
IS: What is the Pure Vida Club and how can we get involved?
GT: The Pura Vida Club is the best way to stay involved with our brand! Club members get 3 exclusive bracelets (styled by our team of Instagram influencers) shipped to their door every month for just $14.95. The bracelets aren’t sold on the website and it’s a value of up to $50!
You can sign up for the Pura Vida Club here: Pura Vida Website
IS: What advice would you give someone looking to get out and make a difference in the world?
GT: If you’re an entrepreneur and you want to start a brand, get a cheap camera, think of a cause you can relate to and pair it with some type of product you enjoy. Put your head down and get to work. Think of how your success can further help others succeed.
IS: You were named on the Forbes “30 under 30” list in 2015, congratulations! What’s the biggest life lesson you’ve learned after starting your own company and watching it become extremely successful?
GT: Have a business plan, keep your thoughts organized, make sure you work with people you trust and who believe in your brand. Hire true talent, people you see growing alongside your company.
Creativity is key in e-commerce business. Finding a niche that can differentiate you from everyone else is important. High quality is important - people won’t want to continue working with you if you’re putting out poor quality merchandise. If you have a customer who is unhappy with your service or product, do whatever you can to make it up to them.
"Have a business plan, keep your thoughts organized, make sure you work with people you trust and who believe in your brand."