How It All Began
It started with a New York hotel room key. The Giving Keys 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 wanted these keys to have their purpose renewed over and over again. Their message is yours for a time, but once they’ve served their purpose with you, pay it forward to inspire another. Watch Caitlin tell the story herself in Love is the Key: Caitlin Crosby at TEDxBend
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 on a rainy day when she saw Rob and 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 and Cera joined the team and started making Giving Keys the next day.
As the business started to develop, The Giving Keys partnered up with the United Way and PATH, a reputable transitional home in LA. These valuable partners helped The Giving Keys build their team through their in-depth screening process, ensuring that those employed were truly determined to reset the course of their lives.
Since the beginning, The Giving Keys has employed 13 people experiencing homelessness, providing opportunities for the team members to move into permanent housing.
Today, The Giving Keys are carried in over 300 stores in the US and internationally including Anthropologie, Fred Segal, Henri Bendel and Kitson.
In March of 2013 The Giving Keys began partnering with Chrysalis to help find more employees. Chrysalis is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the resources and support needed to find and retain employment.
As the staff of The Giving Keys grew, they moved in June of 2013 to the Los Angeles’ neighborhood of Lincoln Heights, where they have plenty of space to expand and develop the team.
Now that you know each of these keys were hand stamped with love, we hope their inspiring stories inspire you not only to support our cause with your purchase, but also to keep your eyes peeled for the next person who plays a part in that key’s journey.