Griffin is an SDSU Alum who graduated in 2010 with a marketing degree. Since graduation, he and his business partner developed a famous jewelry brand, made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and donated to over 175 charities. Then, he talked to us.
Since Pura Vida started on a surf trip to Costa Rica, you could guess that there would be an environmental component to the business! Griffin said they started out right away having a mission “to support artisans as much as possible”. Now, there are over 800 artisans that hand make their bracelets every day. Over the years, the company has given back over $2.2 million to charity partners.
Low emission process
Griffin passes on the message that “sustainability doesn’t have to be in the initial thought with starting a business. There’s always ways to improve, especially when you have the resources in place.” His words solidify the idea that it is never too late to make your business incorporate socially and environmentally responsible practices. Pura Vida has converted to solely using organic packaging, has eliminated plastic bags, has a bags to bracelet policy (every 10 bags you send back to them, they will send you a free bracelet), and instead of using petroleum based ink, the company uses soy ink for all their printing. The largest way they are cutting back on environmental impact is through the fact that “there is no gasoline to produce bracelets”. It is just people making the bracelets, not gas powered machines. What a concept!
Griffin shares “Most people naturally care. But there’s caring and then there’s doing.” While their company is known for its commitment to giving back, many of those causes have to do with environmental sustainability. They have donated to Surfrider, Save the Coral Reefs, Save the Sea Turtles, Save the Dolphins, and states that “the ocean related charities are the most popular”. He would know what is the most popular because they get “fans reaching out with about 20 requests a day for different charities”. They aren’t done. One of their goals for 2020 is “converting to being B Corporation Certified”. He says that their success and ability to give back is the result of the mix between team passion and enough of an audience to support.
For those of you reading this who want to hop on a startup team or work for your dream company, his words of wisdom are “to talk to people like myself and get in contact with people working in that office. Ask questions.” People always say it comes down to who we know, but who says we can’t just reach out and know those people? SDSU helped him along the way from the connections he made through his fraternity and the entrepreneurship society on campus!
Sustainability of the Mind
Running a huge company or just keeping up with everyday life, it is expected for people to run out of steam. The power to sustain a clear mind and focus can be difficult but not impossible. To keep his sanity, he commits to an annual trip to visit Tavarua Island in Fiji, known for its incredible surf break. This is actually the location where they found the Save the Clams organization.
How to get involved
Go to puravidabracelets.com to request a charity that you want the company to support. They will go through them. Besides that, the company also offers a student discount of 20% percent here! Or you can visit their store in La Jolla!