How It All Began...
It started with a New York hotel room key. Our founder, actress and singer/songwriter, Caitlin Crosby, wore the key as 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 -- unique, flawed, scarred, and at risk of being discarded – she began encouraging people to wear and embrace the message on their key necklace, then 'pay it forward' to someone who needs the message more. Watch Caitlin tell the story herself in Love is the Key: Caitlin Crosby at TEDxBend
Meet Cera and Rob
Wanting to add a charitable dimension to the business model, it wasn't long before Caitlin’s vision became clear. She found the missing link when she saw Rob & Cera on Hollywood Blvd, sitting under an umbrella, and holding a sign that read “Ugly, Broke, & Hungry”. They went to dinner and Caitlin discovered that Cera made jewelry – this was the ‘a-ha’ moment. Rob & Cera joined the team and started making Giving Keys the next day.
As the business started to develop, we partnered up with the United Way and PATH, a reputable transitional home in LA. These valuable partners help us build our team through their thorough screening process, which ensures we employ those truly determined to reset the course of their life.
We now have 10 employees that are trying to transition out of homelessness. We've helped them open bank accounts, provided them with financial planning support and now 5 of the 10 have earned enough to get their own apartments and support themselves.
Today, our products are carried in 200+ stores in the US and internationally including Fred Segal, Kitson and Opening Ceremony.
In July 2012 we moved into an office in downtown LA. We began partnering with Chrysalis (www.changelives.org) in March of 2013 to help us find more employees. As the company grew and evolved we loved the idea of providing work opportunities outside of just engraving in order to build soft skills that were transferable to other work environments.
Chrysalis hires became office staff and very quickly we outgrew our downtown office. In June of 2013 we made the move to Lincoln Heights where we plan to grow and develop our team.
Now that you know that each of these keys were hand stamped with love, we hope their inspiring stories inspire YOU to not only support our cause with your purchase, but also keep your eyes peeled for the person who's the next stop on that key's journey.XX