Thursday, 8 March 2012

Viva Pura Vida Charity Bracelets

I can’t quite believe my luck some days when I stumble upon hidden gems such as Pura Vida, completely by accident.

Pura Vida Bracelets began with two friends who were holidaying in Costa Rica, and (as fate would have it) came across a man named Jorge who was peddling colourful handmade bracelets on the streets. They felt that the simplicity of the bracelets captured the essence of their journey and the simple lifestyle of the Costa Rican people and cultures. The pair asked Jorge if he would kindly make them 400 bracelets (they did pay for them, just in case you were wondering!) which they could take back home with them to the U.S and sell; and within weeks a relationship between these men had blossomed. Upon meeting Jorge, he was living in a single room with three beds shared by several other members of his family. But after the guys returned home they were able to provide him with enough business from the bracelets to live comfortably in a house and have his friends working alongside him. Jorge went from selling a small 2-5 bracelets each week to the point where he now sells more than a whopping 15,000 per week!

Those initial 400 bracelets were an instant hit in the guys’ hometown of California, and sold out like hot cakes, with people asking for more, more, MORE. And so, they contacted Jorge, and a full-fledged business was born. No one has looked back since. 

The bracelets are now being sold in over 700 surf shops, boutiques, college book stores, as well as a few large chain stores, AND online (for those of you who aren’t lucky enough to live in the right postal code:

‘The phrase “Pura Vida” means ‘pure life’ in Spanish. Enjoying life slowly, celebrating good fortune and not taking anything for granted embodies the Pura Vida Lifestyle.’

Each bracelet is handmade in Costa Rica with a unique combination of colours – so it’s very unlikely that you’ll encounter someone with your exact bracelet... how cool is that? You’d think that would mean they’d be ridiculously over-priced, but you can grab yourself one for between $5-$15, with only an additional $5 for international shipping. There are so many colour ways on offer that it’ll take you a while to decide which one is right for you. I’m finding the whittling down process extremely tough, so I may just cave and buy all 5 that I have my eyes on. Once again, I think they do make truly special gifts for friends and family... think of them as friendship bracelets with a cause. The time has come to boycott the likes of LINKS & Pandora, and embrace Pura Vida whole-heartedly. Spread the word.

Apart from Pura Vida creating jobs and better lives for the Costa Rican people, here’s where the extra bit of charity comes in: Many of the bracelets on offer are part of the ‘charity collection’ with around 20% of the profits of each bracelet going directly to many different causes including Breast Cancer, Suicide Prevention, AIDS Awareness, Stop Bullying, and the U.S Army to name just a few. There’s also a ‘Kony 2012’ bracelet in support of the Invisible Children campaign which went global as of yesterday. AND (yes, there’s more) Pura Vida is also a member of ‘One Percent for The Planet’ and thus donates 1% of all profits to the Surfrider Foundation which cleans up beaches and oceans worldwide. 

This is what the guys had to say about their business philosophy:

‘Here at Pura Vida Bracelets we strongly believe in giving back. After travelling around the world and seeing tons of beaches filled with trash and debris, we wanted to make it not only a point to help, but a mission. There is no reason why our beautiful beaches and oceans should be left destroyed. In addition to cleaning up beaches around the world, we aim to provide more and more full time jobs to the amazingly talented artisans of Costa Rica. After travelling all over Costa Rica, we came to realize that with very little tourism and the low paying jobs, local jewellers had a difficult time making ends meet. From the exponential growth of Pura Vida Bracelets throughout the United States, we are now able to fully support the food, clothing, and shelter of 15 talented artisans. Our goal is to recruit all the artisans of Costa Rica and get their beautifully hand crafted jewellery on the wrists of everyone in the world. Pura Vida for life!

AMEN to that guys. 

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