Retail Pioneers: A Day in the Life with The Giving Keys
I love Caitlin Crosby’s analogy of keys. Like people, keys are unique, flawed, sometimes scarred and at the risk of being discarded. Yet keys, like people are unique and serve a purpose. The Giving Keys founder, actress and singer/songwriter, Caitlin Crosby, wore an old hotel key on a necklace and had the idea to start engraving old, used keys with inspirational words. Realizing that in a way we are all like these keys she wanted to create a purpose for these keys- being able to renew their purpose over and over again.
Crosby wanted to add a charitable dimension to the business model, and it wasn’t long before her vision became clear. She found the missing link on a rainy day when she saw Rob and Cera on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles holding a sign that read Ugly, Broke, & Hungry. They went to dinner and Caitlin discovered that Cera made jewelry – and this was her “a-ha” moment. Rob and Cera joined the team and started making Giving Keys the next day. Since then The Giving Keys have partnered closely with Chrysalis and United Way’s PATH (People Assisting The Homeless) program.
Today, The Giving Keys exists to employ those transitioning out of homelessness to make jewelry out of repurposed keys that get sold and shared around the world. Each key is unique and carries a message like LOVE, STRENGTH, INSPIRE or COURAGE. When the wearer of the key encounters someone else who needs the message on the key, they give it away and then send us the story of their key being paid forward. Check out the Employed for Change page for more info on the team.
My love of The Giving Keys started with a trip to Kitson, when I was on the hunt for a birthday gift. I found the “Dream” key necklace as a gift and I got an “Inspire” key necklace for myself as well. I’m a huge supporter of TGK because the necklaces are a cool way to show your own personal style, but more importantly, the products serve a purpose that is close to my heart- preventing homelessness and helping people become independent again. The homeless population in Los Angeles- particularly in South LA and the LA metro continues to grow, so much that over the course of a year, 190,207 men, women and children experience homelessness.
I knew I had to find out more and meet the awesome people behind this great cause. This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer with TGK team and chat with their powerhouse production manager, Angela Lira about what goes on behind the scenes and about new The Giving Keys product now available online, or in stores near you.
HGC: What does a typical day for you and the team look like?
HGC: I also asked the team about their favorite keys, and which words of inspiration were their favorites.
Kenzie, Head Key Buyer: The three-holed indepedent Lock Co. vintage padlock key. They have an automatic history of what they could have opened. Aesthetically they’re symmetrical and can pair well with any other key.
Kylee, Assistant Production Manager: Anything with a swirly or Victorian design. I love imagining what keys like that were used to open, probably the lock to beautiful wardrobe chests filled with gowns. Who knows?
DePreist, Engraver: My favorite keys are the brass keys because they’re the easiest to engrave. My favorite key would be “Faith” and my favorite saying is “Never let the little things get you down.”
Nikki, Production Team: I like the Gayle keys with the heart shape because they remind me it was once a key to someone’s heart, or to something someone loved dearly.
Angela, Production Manager: I love the rustic antique with the heart-shaped bow, aka: the Angela key.
Kellie, Web Processor: The 1800′s Oracle Brass P&F corbin with a Victorian design and also the MasterLock Co. Gold with Lion minted on the bow
Mannix, Engraver: My favorite key is “Patience” because it will help remind people to be more patient with themselves and other people.
Robert, Production Team: My favorite saying is, “Failure is never an option, so keep trusting the process of treating others as you would treat yourself.
HGC: Thanks Angela for chatting with me, and for the NEW product reveal, shop the The Giving Keys latest, the Rebel Pendant Necklace launched just last week. Click here to shop and to view other photos, prices start at $85.
In addition to their new Rebel Pendant, check out the Limited Edition “Give” tee, in partnership with goodhYOUman, another awesome brand that gives back to a great cause. Shop the limited edition The Giving Keys x goodhYOUman tee here. For more info on The Giving Keys, follow the company on Facebook, and stay in touch with goodhYOUman here.