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Bootstrapping to $130M: Pura Vida CEO Griffin Thall (Part 2)

Posted on Saturday, Dec 5th 2020

Sramana Mitra: What was the customer acquisition strategy on each track? 

Griffin Thall: For B2C, we would pass out bracelets to people in college campuses. We would go to street fairs. We would do anything that we could that was the grassroots to grow in marketing.

Once Facebook and Instagram opened up their ad platforms, we started running ads earlier than most brands today. Our CPA was really low. We were able to acquire hundreds of thousands of customers at a low price. Now, it’s gotten a lot more expensive and competitive on those platforms.

Facebook is still our largest channel for acquisition on the digital side. For wholesale, we go to trade shows about 20 or 30 times per year. Since March, that’s been put on hold, but before that, it’s been really busy. We have about 10 to 15 people in our office that focus on the wholesale side of the business.

We bring in new stores every day, but we are very picky about the stores that we allow to sell Pura Vida. They need to be quality stores. They need to have a similar type of vibe whether it’s surf, lifestyle, yoga, or fitness. We are also in a couple of bigger chains like Wholefoods and Paper Store. There is a whole range of stores that carry our brand. 

Sramana Mitra: Tell me about the trajectory of the business. In 2010, you said you did about $750,000?

Griffin Thall: Yes, that was the first year.

Sramana Mitra: How did the business grow from there?

Griffin Thall: We doubled every single year ever since we started the brand. Up until last year, we were growing anywhere between 100% to 125%. 

Sramana Mitra: Where are you now?

Griffin Thall: Right now, it’s still going strong. We are not growing at 100%. It’s harder to grow at such a high revenue level. As a percentage from the previous year, it’s slightly lower, but it’s still really strong in terms of growth numbers. 

Sramana Mitra: Are you at about $12 million dollars a year now?

Griffin Thall: No, we’re over $100 million. 

Sramana Mitra: Are still doing 70% online and 30% wholesale?

Griffin Thall: Yes. 

Sramana Mitra: Talk to me about financing. What’s been the financing strategy? Is it bootstrapped? Did you take any outside financing?

Griffin Thall: My business partner Paul and I started with $100 each. We own the company at 50-50. We never took on financing. We never took on debt. We just invested $100 each and kept doubling it on every order that we had to fund the next order of bracelets.

For example, we bought 400 bracelets for our first order with the $200. 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. Today, we are buying a couple of million bracelets each month. 

This segment is part 2 in the series : Bootstrapping to $130M: Pura Vida CEO Griffin Thall
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