the giving keys!
by Robin mcgraw
Caitlin Crosby has found the keys to success!
I was so excited to sit down with actress, singer, songwriter and entrepreneur Caitlin Crosby for this week’s episode of I’ve Got a Secret! She is such an inspiration to me, and she definitely knows a thing or two about inspiring others. In addition to her extraordinary music, Caitlin is working to end homelessness through employment. As CEO and Founder, Caitlin has created The Giving Keys, an incredible company which trains and employs those transitioning out of homelessness to make jewelry out of repurposed keys. “Our mission is to employ every able-bodied homeless individual in Los Angeles.” Caitlin says.
The story really all opened with a key:
While on tour to promote her debut album “Flawz” in 2009, Caitlin launched the campaign “LoveYourFlawz” to support those dealing with body image issues. Caitlin had started wearing her New York hotel room’s vintage key as a necklace (originally so she wouldn’t misplace it) and had the idea to start engraving old, used keys with inspirational words. Realizing that, in some ways, we are all like these keys…unique, imperfect, scarred, and sometimes cast aside by others; she wanted these keys to have their purpose renewed again and again. Caitlin began selling necklaces and bracelets, strung with classic keys, at her tour’s merchandise table. Engraved with words like STRENGTH, HOPE, BELIEVE and FEARLESS, the pieces were meant to remind her fans to love their flaws and that they are one of a kind, just like the keys. When the wearer of the key encountered someone else who needed the message even more – they were encouraged to give it away and share their “pay it forward” story. In short order, the trinkets began to sell out faster than her CDs, and Caitlin knew she was on to something special.
Soon Caitlin’s social media accounts were flooded with stories of how or why people paid their keys forward. Moved by what she read; the L.A. native started thegivingkeys.com to publish the messages. Caitlin always knew she wanted a charitable component to The Giving Keys, and within a few months, she quite literally met the missing piece. On a rainy day in Hollywood, Caitlin saw a homeless couple (Rob and Cera) sitting under an umbrella holding a sign that said “Ugly, Broke & Hungry” and invited them to dinner. The “a-ha moment” came when Caitlin asked Cera where she had gotten her necklace, and she replied, “I made it.” Caitlin asked them to be her business partners, and they began doing engraving for The Giving Keys the very next day.
Over the years, The Giving Keys has employed and rehomed hundreds of people who have struggled with homelessness and collected thousands of pay-it-forward stories. Today, The Giving Keys are carried in more than 400 stores in the US and internationally. Graduates of The Giving Keys’ program have secured and maintained housing, started their own businesses, regained custody of their children, stayed sober and found a renewed sense of purpose.
“There are locks all around you and maybe you hold the key to someone else's freedom.”
I can't wait to see where all of Caitlin’s creative inspiration will lead her next!
To learn more and find your perfect key, visit https://www.thegivingkeys.com