How a $12 String Bracelet Became a Huge Deal



In 2013, former Facebook employee Chris Pan was given an “intention” bracelet—a brass washer-style ring anchored by cotton string. The word “impact” was, at his request, stamped into the metal. 

The idea of a new age-y bracelet—bearing a word meant to help you stay the course or maintain a healthy mindframe—struck him as a pretty great one.

Soon, Pan was making his own intent bracelets from his Los Angeles home, and eventually created kits for other “activators” to stamp the tiny rings with words for clients. MyIntent Project, a jewelry company with Zen baked into its bones (and name), was born.

Last week, Pan was profiled on the Today show (see video below), where he said things really took off for MyIntent when he slipped Jay-Z a personalized bracelet at a club in early 2015. The rapper/producer was so taken with the bauble—which read “educate”—he asked Pan to make bracelets at an event he was hosting. At that event, Pan made Kanye West a bracelet that read “beautify.” 

A few months later, West prominently showed off that $12 bracelet on the cover of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People issue (April 2015). And the orders came rolling in. 

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Now the company, based in Los Angeles, has 34 “activators” (reps) with kits based all over the world who are able to make the personalized jewelry for clients or, presumably, events.

The product range is narrow by design—just a few simple string and leather bracelets and necklaces, all with the stampable brass ring. Prices range from $12 for the Cotton Tie-On bracelet to $25 for the Pura Vida bracelet, which features an adjustable wax-coated string bracelet.

The company regularly partners with charitable organizations: It rents part of a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles to employ a handful of people fighting their way back from homelessness, through the Chrysalis nonprofit organization.

But MyIntent doesn’t have a set charitable partner or mandate, in the manner of an Aurate or Falling Whistles. In fact, MyIntent’s mission, according to the website, is “to be a catalyst for meaningful conversation and positive energy”—which could be construed as selfless or self-important. Depending on your viewpoint.

Another interesting thing about MyIntent Project—a company that exclusively makes bracelets and necklaces—is its insistence that it’s not a jewelry manufacturer. A direct quote from the website: “We are not a jewelry company—we are an intentions project.” Here’s to cagey marketing!

But ultimately, the product flirts with genius. It plugs into the current global mood—we all want to find meaning in everyday life. It also answers the consumer desire for highly personalized, custom jewelry.

Add Yeezy’s stamp of approval and a next-to-nothing price tag? You basically have a product positioned for total takeover.

(Photo courtesy of Time; video courtesy of The Today Show)

JCK Magazine Editor