On Tuesday, September 18, Lee Rhodes the founder of glassybaby and 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year by Entrepreneur Magazine spoke at the Junior League of Seattle’s annual kickoff meeting at the EMP Museum. She talked about how goodwill, craftsmanship, simplicity (and a little luck) helped create a thriving business that provides light, beauty and healing to many people.
Goodwill - While Lee was undergoing treatment during her seven year battle with cancer, she met patients in chemo waiting rooms who could not afford day-to-day basic needs such as rent or the bus fare during treatment. She wanted to help. “It is at the core of this company to give back,” said Lee. “When I founded glassybaby, I never knew these little glass votives would have such an impact on people touched by cancer.”
Glassybaby’s philanthropic mission is to donate a percentage of revenue (not profits) to charities dedicated to health, healing and quality of life. By October 2012, glassybaby will have donated over $1 million.
Chances are, there is a charity that you care about that glassbaby has created a goodwill candle for. You can see all the benefactors of the goodwill program here. (Some examples include Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, White Light Foundation and Gilda’s Club NYC)
Craftsmanship - Glassybaby employs over 70 Seattle artists who make each glassybaby by hand. It takes four glassblowers to make each glassybaby. Each one ends up looking unique in shape and color. There are over 400 colors to choose from, and it’s always fun to put different color palettes together for parties and special occasions.
Simplicity (and a little luck) - Lee mentioned how many people told her she could not open a retail store with only one product. But it was the simplicity of her vision that made for a unique experience. When we walked into the room at the EMP, we were surrounded by hundreds of glassybaby candles. The beautiful light and color had a calming effect while at the same time making it festive, and was a nice transition from the busy, hectic day.
Lee also shared several stories of ‘luck’ that helped glassybaby. She had helped a last minute order to get glassybabies to light a dinner party over in Bellevue. The next day, one of the guests wanted to order some for a birthday gift. The gift ended up going to Martha Stewart, who subsequently called Lee to invite her to be a guest on her show and get nationwide exposure and interest.
Tuesday, September 18 was also the unveiling of a new goodwill candle set called “Catalyst”. The colors are a beautiful sea-glass and cream. Ten percent from the sale of each ‘Catalyst’ set will be donated to the Junior League of Seattle in support of community programs to empower women and children.
Catalyst is available at glassybaby locations in Bellevue, University Village and Madrona, as well as online. Glassybaby will also donate 10% of all web purchases until September 25, 2012 to the Junior League of Seattle. Simply visit glassybaby.com, select the items you wish to purchase, and enter ‘catalyst’ in the giving code field of the shopping cart.