The Giving Keys company is the result of one woman simply living a life of love. Founder Caitlin Crosby grew up in Hollywood and rebelled against the vanity she found in the entertainment culture. Through her music and life she instead encouraged people to “Love Your Flawz.”
While staying in New York, Caitlin wore her hotel key as a necklace and asked a locksmith to engrave her famous message on the key. When Caitlin saw a pile of old keys at the locksmith’s shop, she asked him to engrave other inspiring words on the keys and then she turned them into necklaces to sell at her concerts. Caitlin encouraged her audience:
“I want you guys to get a key that reminds you that you’re special, you’re one of a kind, just like these keys…You might feel old, used, discarded, flawed, just like these keys…I want you to wear it and embrace that word on there until you meet somebody that you feel needs the message on there more than you, and I want you to pay it forward to them. And then come back and write me the story of why you gave it away.”
In addition to inspiring people through her jewelry, Caitlin knew she wanted to do more with the business, to make some charitable impact, but she was waiting for just the right cause.
One day after church she saw Cera and Rob, a homeless couple, holding a sign that said “ugly, broke & hungry” and she took them out to dinner. She wasn’t looking for a great business plan, or coming to this conversation with anything on her mind but loving the world.
During their dinner, Caitlin complimented Cera on her necklace, and to her surprise Cera shared that she made jewelry on the street! Now Caitlin knew how The Giving Keys could have an even greater impact — by employing homeless people! Cera and Rob began making necklaces and eventually earned enough money to buy their own apartment.
As the keys continued selling, Caitlin knew she needed more employees and began working with the United Way, a transitional home called PATH, and later with Chrysalis. The partnerships help The Giving Keys employ individuals who can gain the most from the job and who best fit the company. Today The Giving Keys employs 10 people, and 5 of these individuals have transitioned out of homelessness.
We love The Giving Keys because they provide hope for the homeless, for the key’s owner, and for each person the key is passed on to. If you want to learn more about The Giving Keys’ impact, read the stories of those Employed for Change and those who have taken the #PayItForward challenge.
And of course, make sure to check out our favorite accessories below!
1. Classic Pendant, $35
The original necklace, that inspired The Giving Keys. This classic comes in 7 different chains, with 14 engraved word choices. You can even add a custom word for just $5 more!
2. Never Ending Bracelet, $48
This bracelet’s never ending design symbolizes the ongoing power of your purchase, for people fighting poverty and for recipients of the #payitforward challenge. This beautiful piece comes in 3 different chains. Try pairing it with the Never Ending Necklace.
3. Knuckle Ring, $40
This unique ring comes in gold or silver, and stretches across two or three fingers. It is sure to make an ethical fashion statement and spark some great conversations!