The Giving Keys

The Giving Keys is set to make its largest marketing push to date in a bid to draw brand awareness as the accessories firm — which calls itself a pay-it-forward business — remains on track for brick-and-mortar.

The company, which is based in the downtown Los Angeles Arts District, embarks on a nearly monthlong “Be the Key” campaign this month that includes several influencers and a promotional offer of a set of its key necklaces for the price of one ($42). The campaign caps April 28 — which is International Pay It Forward Day — and is ambitious in its aim: “We want to be the largest, most influential pay-it-forward brand,” said marketing director Courtney Roberts.

The Giving Keys employs individuals transitioning out of homelessness and sells inspirational jewelry adorned with vintage or new keys stamped with 13 words such as “Love,” “Let Go” and “Believe.”

The campaign starts with the partnering of five influencers and later expands to 20 more across a broad spectrum of industries such as music, sports, TV and social and includes Kelsea Ballerini, Brittany Snow and Omari Hardwick. Posters for the campaign will be distributed in various neighborhoods, although the bulk of the marketing strategy is digital.

While influencers received a set of the limited-edition necklace sets, none were paid to post content for the campaign, Roberts said. That’s consistent with how the company has worked with influencers since its start in 2008.

The company, which aims to bring awareness to homelessness in L.A., also comes as it plans a larger push into the brick-and-mortar space.

The Giving Keys will have a pop-up shop in Nordstrom’s Mission Viejo store in Orange County April 17-30. That store, along with an Airstream converted into a roving shop last year that’s now parked near the company’s headquarters, are the only two physical places selling the necklace sets for the campaign.

“If all goes well there [at Nordstrom], we’re going to be looking to expand our shop-in-shop presence and make it available to other retailers,” Roberts said.

The Airstream will continue to be a lab to test consumer appetite and merchandising with a consistent consumer base, Roberts said. The company’s also looking to potentially do pop-ups later this year in places such as Westfield World Trade Center in New York and is in talks with Apolis about a possible presence in one of the company’s stores as that concept expands. The Giving Keys continues to be on track for permanent retail in 2018, something previously stated to WWD by president Brit Moore last year. It will also dabble in new categories. During Holiday it tried its hand at candles, launching four scents online, and will roll out journals for the upcoming holiday season.

Most of the sales from the current month’s promotion — about 95 percent — are expected to be generated from the company’s online shop where the company is projecting a 190 percent increase in April sales from the year-ago period.

The Giving Keys had sales last year of $8.6 million. It is currently sold in about 1,300 doors and counts 70 workers.

For More on The Giving Keys in WWD:

The Giving Keys Pop-up to Kickoff Brick-and-Mortar Tour

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