Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
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GoDaddy’s Q&A with Pura Vida founders Paul Goodman and Griffin Thall


Here is how a small incident during a vacation at Costa Rica became a life changing experience.

GoDaddy’s Q&A with Pura Vida founders Paul Goodman and Griffin Thall
Paul Goodman and Griffin Thall fell in love with the local artisan scene during a post-college surfing trip to Costa Rica in 2010. The two SoCal friends were inspired by the laid-back lifestyle of the country's national motto: Pura Vida — a Spanish expression that translates to "pure life," from the colorful hand woven bracelets sold on every corner to the meaningful conversations with the locals.

Paul: Griff and I were on a college graduation surf trip in 2010 when we met two artisans on the beach who were hand-making brightly coloured bracelets. They were homeless at the time, so we decided to help them by purchasing 400 bracelets and bringing them back with us, which is how Pura Vida began. And today, we work with over 600 different artisans around the world, making our products and donating to various charities.

GD: What challenges did you come across and how did you overcome them?
Griffin: Since we launched the brand, I believe we've grown by nearly 100% year over year. So our biggest operational challenges were scaling, inventory management, supply chain (getting things from other countries into the United States), and shipping out the high-volume orders that we do. [It] was not an easy task, and I believe that was the most difficult part (scaling the business).

GD: Giving back is important part of Pura Vida. What are you doing to keep the momentum alive as your company grows.

Paul: As new products are released and new organizations that we can support are discovered, we jump on board to bring them into the Pura Vida lifestyle and enable them to sell products that give back. So when a disaster occurs in the United States or around the world, we have disaster relief bracelets that we can launch right away and raise money for that organization or cause — it's a big part of Pura Vida.

Griffin: In addition, we recently received B Corp certification, which is a huge accomplishment. It took about a year and a half, and we had a long list of things to update — everything from our supply chain to the paper, how things are shipped, and how things are worded. And [we] made certain that we could do everything possible to become B Corp certified. We are now associated with brands such as Patagonia [and] Toms, which places us in a different category of brand.

GD: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to incorporate more sustainable practices into their business models?

Paul: I believe we have always tried to do what is right, whether for the world, the environment, or our employees. By doing good and making people feel good by wearing our products, we hope to leave a lasting impression on our customers and employees.

GD: Pura Vida partners a lot with charities. How do you decide which ones you will partner with?
Griffin: We have a page on our website where people can type in ideas for bracelets or charities to work with, so that's definitely a resource for different organizations.

We also have a team in our office that manages our charity relations, charitable products, and partnerships — all of which are vetted by our team. We try to support as many charities as we can, but not so many that it doesn't feel special or that they don't receive a sizable check.

GD: What is the most challenging part of starting a business venture?
Paul: I believe it is simply the unknown. When you first start out, you have no idea what will happen or how things will unfold. But I think that's always the most enjoyable part. So I believe there is a balance to be struck between not knowing what will happen and accepting the challenge of taking the leap.

Griffin: Yeah and I think entrepreneurs get scared to just start. And if you don’t have a starting point, you never know how to evolve and optimize from there.

So I think the biggest advice is to just start.
Whether you have every question answered and all the tools in your toolbox or not, just start.

GD: What’s your best advice for entrepreneurs who want to work in the retail space?
Paul: I believe you must focus on your customers and your brand, as well as increase word-of-mouth and product development, because I believe the products will be what drive customers to the location. Then, make certain that the location is appropriate for your brand.
So I think it's bright and sunny here in Irvine [California]. We've got the palm trees and the Ferris wheel — it's Pura Vida, and I think it fits the brand perfectly. That is what will ultimately determine its success.

GD: When did you decide to embrace the online model for Pura Vida and has that worked out for you?

Griffin: We created a website shortly after launching the company in 2010. We also provided wholesale pricing on our products. We would go to all the surf shops, yoga studios, nail and hair salons, boutiques, and anyone else we thought would be a good fit for Pura Vida. At the same time, we were developing our website, acquiring all of the necessary apps, and learning about ecommerce and graphic design. So I'd say we began on day one.

GD: The Pura Vida Bracelet Clubs is a successful subscription-based option for your online clients. What were the inspirations behind this model?

Paul: We just wanted to provide a fun experience for our loyal customers who buy every month — why not take the guesswork out of it and give them custom-made exclusive products at a discount every month as long as they sign up for a subscription? So it's been a huge success for our brand and a fantastic way for us to spread word of mouth exponentially.

GD: With the opening of your second brick-and-mortar store in Irvine, Pura Vida is gaining more traction. Where do you see yourself in the future?

Griffin: We definitely want to open more locations. We only launched our clothing line a year and a half or two years ago, so we plan to expand.

We want to ensure that people are pleased with the quality, size, and fit. On the first day, neither the bracelets nor the jewelery were perfect. Clothing is a new category we're entering, and it's been doing really well in retail stores, so we're optimistic.

GD: Describe your most memorable success and why it means so much to you.

Paul: Opening our first retail store was a memorable experience for me. It's amazing to see the brand come to life in person after ten years, and to see customers walk in, touch and feel the product, and walk out ecstatic. Simply seeing them wear the product in person rather than online is a game changer.

Griffin: And the brand was born on a surf trip to Costa Rica and [is] still special to this day — for example, last week I was travelling throughout Europe and saw people wearing Pura Vida in two or three different countries. I've seen them on people all over the world and on trips we've taken. I've seen them in Bali, Italy, Paris, and Barcelona, among other places.

So it's humbling to see our products sourced from Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Central America — and now people all over the world are wearing them. It's a pretty cool sensation.

GD: What processes have you put in place to maintain a happy work-life balance for you and your employees?

Paul: Pura Vida was always designed with a work-life balance in mind, in my opinion. We've always designed the office and culture to make people want to come to work every day. It's a cool lifestyle company. We've always prioritised that, so there isn't much of a divide between work and life — it's more of a blur.

Griffin: We want people to feel at ease and relaxed while working in the office or from home in this new environment, and to truly live the brand. That, I believe, is why people want to work for Pura Vida — because of the culture and passion for the brand.
To know more about the company do checkout puravidabracelets.com.