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Vera Bradley acquires stake in give-back accessories brand

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Vera Bradley, Inc. has acquired a 75 percent interest in Pura Vida, a digitally-native California company that sells handmade string bracelets and other accessories created by artisans in Costa Rica, El Salvador and India.

The deal is valued at $75 million, Chain Store Age reported.

Creative Genius, Inc., which does business under the name Pura Vida Bracelets, will operate as a subsidiary of Vera Bradley from its current headquarters in La Jolla, California under the direction of its founders, Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman.

Vera Bradley will retain the right to acquire the remaining 25 percent stake of the company for five years.

“Pura Vida is a highly-differentiated lifestyle brand with uniquely strong products and amazing consumer loyalty,” Robert Wallstrom, CEO of Vera Bradley (NASDAQ: VRA) said in a company statement. “The brand resonates with individuals worldwide, creating a community of fun-loving, socially conscious, and stylish advocates, reflecting its potential to become a full-fledged lifestyle brand.

Wallstrom said the companies are similar in their value-based cultures, authentic brands, devoted customer bases and emotional customer connections.

“Vera Bradley will be able to leverage Pura Vida’s expertise around digital marketing and social customer engagement, and Pura Vida will be able to leverage our product design and development, infrastructure, and back office support capabilities, he said.”

Vera Bradley had revenues of $416.1 million for its most recent fiscal year while Pura Vida reported total revenue of $68.3 million, per Chain Store Age.

Partners Thall and Goodman created Pura Vida in 2010 after meeting two bracelet artisans while on a trip to Costa Rica who were struggling to survive on what they were earning from their craft.

The company has grown to employ more than 650 people who now earn a steady income “thanks to the incredible support of Pura Vida fans,” per the company’s website.

Wallstrom noted that like Vera Bradley, Pura Vida was founded by two friends and entrepreneurs who “built a dominant brand by relentlessly focusing on customer experiences and connections.”

Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Vera Bradley was founded in 1982 by Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Patricia R. Miller and named after Baekgaard’s mother.