Stories and Articles

Pura Vida Bracelets – Paul Goodman and Griffin Thall

Pura Vida logoThey met at Agoura High in Agoura Hills, California. They both loved surfing and shared the desire to start their own businesses. But even though Paul Goodman (’10, finance) and Griffin Thall (’10, marketing) earned their business degrees at San Diego State, they weren’t sure what that business would be until they went on a 5-week post-graduation surfing trip to Costa Rica in July 2010.

During the trip they met two men, Jorge and Joaquin, who were selling bracelets on the street. Goodman and Thall loved the simple, handmade bracelets and realized a potential market for them in the U.S.

PuraVida founders holding piles of bracelets

To test the market for the bracelets, Goodman and Thall asked the two vendors if they would be willing to make 400 bracelets that could be sold in the U.S. Though no one knew it at the time, it was the beginning of an on-going partnership that has burgeoned into two full-fledged businesses – one in La Jolla, California and the other in Dominical, Costa Rica.

The first outlet for the bracelets was a small boutique in Malibu,California. They sold out quickly and people started asking for more. Pura Vida Bracelets was born.

Today, Pura Vida employs 15 at its La Jolla headquarters and Jorge and Joaquin’s jewelry making operation grew from just the two of them to 75 employees. The bracelets are sold both online and in approximately 3000 retail outlets throughout the world.

While Goodman and Thall share the title of CEO and founder for Pura Vida Bracelets, they have different areas of expertise within the organization. Goodman handles the logistics, accounting, finance duties and operations for the company, while Thall is in charge of branding, design, marketing, communications and social media functions. They have also pledged to give part of the profits to their favorite charitable organizations including those that benefit environment, animal and educational causes.

The two still keep close to their SDSU roots as they keep in touch with their favorite college instructor, Steven Osinski, who teaches marketing and sales classes at the College of Business. As for advice to SDSU’s future entrepreneurs, Thall says: “Follow your passion, not the paycheck.”