Griffin Thall, Chief Executive Officer of Pure Vida, started with just $200 – now, the company is worth over $130 million and was recently acquired by designer Vera Bradley.
Thall, a Los Angeles native, started his journey at San Diego State University. After graduating in 2010, he went on a trip to Costa Rica with his future business partner, Paul Goodman. For five weeks they traveled, surfed, and explored the land, meeting two bracelet vendors along the way. Griffin and Goodman were so taken with the beautiful designs that they wanted to sell the bracelets back home to friends and family, and that's how Pure Vida was born.
Thall and Goodman started with one hundred dollars each to place an order for bracelets. They passed them out on college campuses, went to street fairs, and participated in other forms of grassroots marketing to get their business off the ground. Thall tells One Million By One Million that he always felt proud that they never took on debt or financing – they simply doubled their orders with their vendor each time they placed one.
"We bought 400 bracelets for our first order with the $200," Thall says in an interview with One Million By One Million. "Then once we turned those 400 bracelets into $2,000, we would buy another couple thousand bracelets. Once we sold those, we would buy 10,000 more bracelets."
Ten years later, the vendors that Thall originally purchased from now manage over 800 artisan crafters across Central and South America. Every bracelet is still made by hand, and they are shipped all around the world. Pure Vida primarily sells merchandise through Shopify. They also use Facebook marketplace for advertising space, and they note that social media has been an excellent resource for promoting their products. Vera Bradley acquired 75% of the company in 2019, while Thall and his business partner still own the remainder.