Retail giant Vera Bradley has purchased a $75 million stake of Pura Vida, a La Jolla-based jewelry company best known for making colorful, handmade string bracelets.
The deal gives Vera Bradley, a retailer known for handbags and luggage, 75 percent ownership of the company, with an option to buy the remaining 25 percent in five years.
Founded in 2010 by San Diego State University alumni Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman, the company sells colorful string or braided bracelets that start from $6 each. The jewelry is made by artisans in Costa Rica and El Salvador using scissors and candles, and then sold online and in retail stores.
The two young men had barely reached their 20s when they first launched Pura Vida, starting the business with $100 — and never once taking money from investors. Today, the company ships about 1 million products a month, according to a February interview.
Over the past decade, the company has grown into a $400 million-plus lifestyle brand. Pura Vida reported $68 million in annual revenue for 2018, with net income of $3.8 million.
“With Vera Bradley providing the financial, organizational, and operational infrastructure, the Pura Vida lifestyle can grow as high and far as we want it to,” Thall and Goodman jointly noted in a statement.
Vera Bradley’s CEO Robert Wallstrom said the company has been successful by “creating deep customer connections through fun, casual, comfortable and affordable offerings.” He considers the company a “market leader” in the jewelry and accessory markets, according to a statement.
Pura Vida could earn an additional $22.5 million payment from Vera Bradley if they meet certain targets for 2019, bringing the total deal value to $97.5 million.
Pura Vida, which just moved into a brand new beachside office in La Jolla this February, will remain in San Diego, operating as a subsidiary to Vera Bradley. Earlier this year, the company employed 30 people at their local office.
Pura Vida has no plans to relocate or adjust its internal structure at this time, said Thall and Goodman in a joint statement provided to the Union-Tribune Friday.