Fashion that ends homelessness.

The Giving Keys is a Los Angeles-based jewelry company founded by singer-songwriter and actress Caitlin Crosby. The Giving Keys repurposes old keys and crafts them into modern jewelry and accessories, in order to employ local residents who are transitioning out of homelessness. Their fashion items can be found in 1,200 retail locations worldwide including Nordstrom, TOMS Marketplace, Kitson, Fred Segal, Anthropologie, Sevenly, Henri Bendel, and Altar’d State.

The Giving Keys has been featured on The Today Show, and in Elle, People, E! News, Last Call with Carson Daly, MTV, and The Huffington Post.

My Roles

  • Website UX designer
  • Designer of logo, branding
  • Designer of in-store experience for Nordstrom and Henri Bendel popup shops
  • Marketing consultant
Client:

The Giving Keys

Website:

Visit

Date

2012 – 2013

Services

UX Design Mobile and Web, In-Store Experience Design, Marketing

Problem

The Giving Keys was experiencing unprecedented national attention, due in large part to Caitlin Crosby’s TEDx talk and partnerships with Not For Sale and Nordstrom. This increase in exposure necessitated a more high-profile look.

Solution

In partnership with Giving Keys President Britt Moore, I conceptualized and executed branding redesigns consistent with trending fashion brands, and establishing a unique tone that would set The Giving Keys apart.

Process

I led several design sprints with Giving Keys staff focused on the website purchasing process, pop-up store product display, in-store visual experience, branding and marketing style guidelines, and print media experience.

The new visual aesthetic attracted several celebrity partnerships, which propelled The Giving Keys onto an international stage and transformed them into a symbol for social awareness. They became a case-study in implementing social business models well.

Design thinking and human-centered design

One main focus was to capture and feature the human impact that purchasing a key had in the city of Los Angeles. Every key purchased created a job for someone living on Skid Row, and taught them a trade skill.

This deeply human, life-changing aspect to the company needed to be fused with a high-end fashion aesthetic appropriate for celebrities and social media influencers.

One way we achieved this was through photography that featured diverse models who radiated strength. We also crafted inspirational language that we delivered through social media and various online news outlets.

Homeless Impact

120,639
Hours of Work Created

Jobs Created

71
Jobs Created

Stability

With each job, The Giving Keys offers benefits, paid time-off, housing, education, case management appointments, and a supportive environment that cares for the whole person.

Additional Work

In addition, I helped The Giving Keys establish a video production process and visual language. I wrote, directed, and produced a partnership video between The Giving Keys and 31Bits. You can watch the video below.

The video production growth was slow at first, but eventually became a cornerstone of The Giving Keys’ marketing strategy that included a commercial for American Express.