Whenever a piece of jewelry starts to become trendy, there are all sorts of follow-up questions that will be asked by intrigued consumers. To tell the story in full, you have to go all the way back to the beginning, though….
The Genesis of Pura Vida
Pura Vida got its start back in 2010, as Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman embarked on a trip to Costa Rica. The friends found no shortage of inspiration during this visit. The sunsets and surfing were highlights but what really appealed to them was the laid-back lifestyle that the locals enjoyed. Eventually, they met two incredible local artisans named Jorge and Joaquin.
The duo was known locally for crafting incredibly colorful bracelets. Unfortunately, they could not support themselves on the meager wages that they were making. Griffin and Paul wanted to find a way to help, so they asked them to make 400 bracelets that they could take home with them.
The pieces flew off the shelves once they arrived back in the States. This is when they realized that these friendship bracelets had an even deeper meaning to them. They embodied a movement that is designed to celebrate the simpler aspects of life…. aka “Pura Vida”.
In Spanish, the phrase translates to “pure life”. The bracelets are not just a fashion statement, they are a mission statement. It is time to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures that life has to offer. Otherwise, how are we going to live life to the fullest?
It did not take long before these bracelet sales gave way to a worldwide movement. Millions of Pura Vida bracelets are sold each year and Pura Vida has since partnered with a wide range of charities. Jewelry might be an overcrowded category in the current marketplace, but the success of Pura Vida goes to show what can happen when a fresh approach is taken.
How Did They Handle Scaling Concerns?
Of course, it would be impossible to expect these local artisans to craft millions of bracelets each year. These are the concerns that any company of this nature goes through when they are in the process of scaling up. If changes were made to the product itself, what would that do to the company’s perception?
This may seem like the part of the story where the brand begins to fail but it is actually a story of resilience. Fast growth did not deter the company and they were able to stick to its intended purposes. Increased demand is great but how did these two friends manage to change production methods without losing their initial audience?
The company had hit a fork in the road. It was time to ramp up production but how could they do so without losing the essence of what the company was about in the process? Most companies would choose to move their production base outside of Costa Rica, so that they could sell as many bracelets as possible.
Making a New Way
Instead of taking the aforementioned fork in the road, Pura Vida made a new way for themselves. They found a third method that worked perfectly for their needs, and they did not look back from there. Managing the growth while keeping the original concept intact would be a tough balancing act, but they made a way.
Pura Vida’s founders soon realized that there is a whole world of artisans that they were able to help. By expanding operations to countries like India and El Salvador, the artisan model and the mass production model were finally combined. The bracelets are now made, assembled, and distributed all over the world.
Artisan communities are receiving the support that they need, reaching a larger market of supporters. The Pura Vida spirit also continues to spread. Thanks to the continued growth that they have enjoyed, Pura Vida has had the chance to expand its operations, providing all sorts of awesome accessories. Towels, bikinis, clothing, they have got it all.
How Did Pura Vida Prepare Themselves?
There are a few key tips to bear in mind when it comes time to make the jump to large-scale manufacturing. It all starts by taking the time to consider the customer. Without customers, there is no brand, and no impact can be made. This is something that Pura Vida had to take into account before they made any rash decisions.
In their case, what was good for them and their shareholders was also good for the customers. This made the decision-making process even easier. Pura Vida needed to maintain the proper level of confidence, too. Brand realness is tough to capture and once it is gone, it is almost impossible to get it back.
They zeroed in on what was most important to their audience and found a way to keep providing it. Pura Vida’s founders knew that the customers had a serious attachment to what the product represented. If they could not continue to produce these items without compromising these values, they would have lost their audience entirely.
Pura Vida was even prepared for the chain reaction that would result from the upscaling. Every aspect of the business affects a buyer. By remaining proactive during this process, they were able to steer clear of many of the most common pitfalls that normally take place in these instances. Despite the changes, the customer experience is still enjoyable and most importantly of all… intimate!
What was once an epic idea became a cool brand that is known the world over. Pura Vida did not allow any potential problems to get in the way of their growth and now they are generating the profits they deserve while providing resources to those who are in need. That’s one heck of a balancing act.