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Contest! Dalai Lama’s “Force for Good”

Win a candle and Daniel Goleman’s newest book, A Force for Good

Dalai Lama A Force for Good Daniel Goleman

We’re so inspired by this book, and so incredibly honored to be cited as the leading example of companies “heightening the ethical standards of business” – alongside giants like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, and Warby Parker – that we’re celebrating by giving away a bunch of copies for free.

This jubilation is not just about being recognized for our values and commitment to social good (although after years of hard work, that feels really nice)… we love what the Dalai Lama has to say.  And Daniel Goleman expresses this vision in a thoroughly engaging way.

But here’s the best part:  you too are a force for good. We all are. Where and when has your compassion compelled you to do more than empathize, to take action?

Share it! Send your best message or photo on Facebook, TwitterInstagram or Pinterest of being a #ForceForGood, and get a chance to receive a free copy of A Force For Good by Daniel Goleman (Hardcopy or Audiobook) and a beautiful, handmade Prosperity Candle with your fragrance choice.

All our small acts add up to a big, positive impact – bigger than the scalenegativity that dominates the news. We love how the Dalai Lama says that no matter how much bad stuff happens around the world, it is far outweighed by acts of kindness and generosity.

So how do you do #RealGood?

The Dalai Lama is an optimist. He sees the good in people, and recognizes that change and a brighter future for everyone is within our grasp if we turn our compassionate energy outward. Such compassion resides within each and every one of us… it’s simply a matter of allowing ourselves to express it in all aspects of our lives, both personal and professional.

We love the phrase “a force for good.” It encompasses everything we believe in, every decision we make at Prosperity Candle. It describes the best in all of us.

So join our contest, comment on Facebook, tweet us your message, share your photo on Instagram or Pinterest. Let’s shout out to the world what it means to be a force for good!

That eligibility stuff

Contest open through July 31, 2015 (but feel free to spread the word any day of the year).

Winners announced on August 4th, so stay tuned our on social media pages.

No purchase necessary to enter or win this contest. One (1) contest entry per person. Entrants must be over 18 years of age and a legal resident of the United States. Void where prohibited. Entries on all social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest) will be considered valid, and all entries must have a current e-mail address to be eligible (we’ll contact you by email for your design and shipping information).

Prosperity Candle never shares or sells your address or personal information.

Be A Force For Good, Says The Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama Daniel Goleman A Force for GoodLast Monday evening I made my way to Broadside Bookshop in Northampton, MA to hear Daniel Goleman talk about his new book, A Force for Good. I was very much looking forward to an impassioned reading from the celebrated author of Emotional Intelligence.

What I got instead was a surprising peak into who the Dalai Lama is, and his vision for the world.

Rather than promote his book, Daniel Goleman shared stories about Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama – Buddhist monk, spiritual and political leader of Tibet, refugee, Nobel Peace Prize winner, BBC fanatic. A humble man who has traveled the world sharing wisdom seasoned with impish humor.

But the anecdote that really stuck with me was one that spoke of unbound optimism.

No matter how much trauma the media heaps upon us every scaleday, the Dalai Lama notes, such misery in the world is far outweighed by acts of kindness. If one could place both on an old-style scale, compassion would triumph over cruelty and callousness.

That observation forms the foundation of his optimism. Compassion resides within each and every one of us. The challenge is how to harness it, turn it outward, and take action. It is not enough to feel empathy for those less fortunate, he says. We must each become a force for good.

I love that phrase. A force for good. It’s so powerful and forward-moving, applicable to every aspect of your life. The opposite of complacency and self-interest. It speaks of a brighter future for everyone, everywhere.

Halfway through the book you encounter a chapter called “Economics as if People Mattered” that talks about the B Corp movement and using business as a force for good – a particular passion of mine. Solving the world’s social and environmental problems is a daunting task, yet solutions are entirely within our reach. But only if businesses jump in with both feet, led by or leading consumers.

And I don’t mean dipping a toe in the socially responsible pond. That respectable but entirely inadequate time has passed. The world needs individuals, communities, businesses, investors and institutions to hear the Dalai Lama’s clarion call, recognize the need and opportunity, and turn compassion into action.

That is the vision he shares with us, told through stories of people taking bold steps in the right direction. Prosperity Candle is one of the businesses mentioned, alongside Patagonia, Greystone Bakery, Warby Parker and Ben & Jerry’s… which is very cool.

But what really matters is whether this vision will take root and grow. Change will not happen because of decisions made by governments, the Dalai Lama says. Real change can only take place when we allow our compassion and values to guide our decisions and choices.

“As human beings, equipped with marvelous intelligence and the potential for developing a warm heart, each and every one of us can become a force for good.” – Dalai Lama, February 8, 2015.

A resounding YES!FFG-Cover

Join the movement

More about A Force for Good, and the audiobook version

More about the Dalai Lama

More about Daniel Goleman

More about the B Corp movement

Related article about Prosperity Candle as a B Corp and “force for good”

World Refugee Day, Helping Kids Far Away

World Refugee Day SOS Childen's Villages

On their way from Ohio to a family vacation in Maine, Lori and Megan stopped by Prosperity Candle’s studio to say hello and meet the women refugees who make their candles. What a joy for us and, as we discovered, for kids in Zimbabwe and Nepal.

You see, Lori and Megan’s candles aren’t just any candles… they are custom-designed for SOS Children’s Villages, an international organization with a single, inspiring goal: every child has the opportunity to grow up with love, respect and security in a supportive family environment. One of their values particularly resonates: courage to take action.

That sums up how Lori and Megan spend many of their weekends. A year ago Lori called to ask if we could design a candle she and Megan could sell at fairs as a way to raise awareness and money for SOS Children’s Villages. Wanting to do more than donate, they were looking for a product that could generate support through purchases. Ideally one people would enjoy and return to buy again and again. We loved it.Custom candle for SOS Children's Villagess

Profits from every sale are donated to help vulnerable children and families around the world. Whether due to political strife in Tibet, earthquakes in Nepal, economic collapse in Zimbabwe, or war in Syria… SOS Children’s Villages is there to provide safe havens and services. Lori calculates that with every 100 candles sold they can sponsor a child in need.

She is the editor of a physics journal and her daughter Megan is in 5th grade. Both care passionately about children who through circumstances beyond their control don’t have a loving home with access to education, healthcare and support. So they took action. And as a result, SOS villages in Zimbabwe and Nepal are being sponsored.

This Saturday, June 20th, is World Refugee Day. It is a moment to reflect on the plight of refugees everywhere who have lost their homes, livelihoods, and much more. For a powerful video about kids in a refugee camp, this UN Web TV video is worth watching.

Refugees_KosovoAt Prosperity Candle we recognize this day because our U.S. candle-makers are women from refugee camps, some having spent over 15 years in temporary housing with no access to education, jobs or proper medical care. And they are the lucky ones, those few who have been given the opportunity to build a brighter future for themselves and their families somewhere else, far from the tragedy that befell them. They, too, are taking action every day to create new lives.

We hope you’ll join us on Saturday to pause for a moment, reflect on all that you are grateful for, and think about ways to help others in need. Perhaps refugees in your area. And then, like Lori and Megan, take action.

More about SOS Children’s Villages

World Refugee Day on facebook

UN Refugee Agency

Lori’s SOS Candles on facebook

 

 

 

 

Prosperity Candle Goes To Turkey Designing Pottery For Iraqi Widows

Turkish Ceramic Artisan

In the town of Kutahya southeast of Istanbul a group of artisans is working on our designs. They are among the best in the world, continuing a long tradition of crafting beautiful ceramics entirely by hand – the perfect vessel for a unique candle.

The ceramics are not for us, though. They are for widows in Baghdad. Prosperity Candle is going to Turkey to source pottery for the first women-owned candle enterprise in Iraq.

It may come as a surprise to discover we started there. In 2009, Prosperity Candle launched an initiative in Baghdad to support women’s economic independence through entrepreneurship at a time when bombs were exploding every day. Women were advised to stay home, safe from market violence and a culture that was turning increasingly restrictive.

In a small town in western Massachusetts, three friends gathered in a dining room to assemble 50 “business-in-a-box” kits, complete with candle-making equipment, training supplies and an Entrepreneur’s Guide translated into Arabic. Our founder’s 2-year and 4-year old daughters helped, making sure each box had every component the women in Baghdad would need.

Then we flew to Turkey to train the first Iraqi woman – Iptesam – on every aspect of candle-making, from preparing the wax to packaging the final product. And in record-keeping, quality control, and marketing. She returned to Baghdad to train 4 others who in turn trained more than 40 Iraqi women.

We were completely self-funded, passionate, and in hindsight a little crazy. Some months later we participated in a business plan competition and earned 3rd place. Afterward, a judge told us that our idea was so bold that we might have won, except no one actually believed we could ship out of Iraq.

Just two weeks later, our first candles left Baghdad… 1,948 pillars handmade by Iraqi women, mostly widows. We waited for a lull in the bombs, loaded a truck, and shipped. The candles were delayed in Erbil, then again in Dubai, and yet again in New York. But they arrived in time for Mother’s Day 2010.

Suffice it to say that the very first pillar we held was an emotional moment. From Baghdad to small town USA. From her hands to ours.

This vision to help women in regions of conflict build brighter futures through entrepreneurship – to not just survive, but actually thrive – was now tangible. We had a lot of work ahead to fully realize that vision, but the launch was successful. We had done what others had said was impossible.

Today, as we prepare to return to Turkey with Mimi, an extraordinarily talented product designer, we feel fortunate to be working with some of the same Iraqi women from 2009. Strong, determined, inspiring women like Lamya’a, Nazhat, Hiyam and Intisar.

This time, however, they will joined by hundreds of their sisters. Won over by the original project, the U.S. State Department has asked us to scale up the initiative to include 600 widows with their support.

That is the impact we seek. One community, one woman, one candle at a time.

If you’re interested in hearing more about Prosperity Candle’s origins, check out Our Story.

 

 

Contest! What Makes Your Mom Unique?

Mother's Day Contest

Someone once said every day is Mom’s Day. It’s true. But it’s still nice to recognize all your mom has done on one day in particular. This year, it’s Sunday, May 10th.

In celebration, we’re holding a contest with the chance to thank your mom in a very special way… 2 custom candles of your own design. One for her, one for you!

Simply join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest and tell us why your mom is unique. Be sure to include the hashtag #BecauseOfYouMom in your post, tweet, comment or photo. We’ll announce a winner on Thursday, April 30th.

Good luck – we hope you win 2 unique candles!

If you haven’t checked out our new Design Your Own Candle feature yet, it’s really cool. It makes the perfect Mother’s Day, birthday, any-day gift.

Over 4,000 possible combinations of beautiful vessels, wonderful fragrances, and 3 scent levels. You get to choose… and we’ll make it, just for you. Because your home is unique, and every room has a purpose, an aesthetic, an ambiance. Now you can create a candle for each one, exactly as you like.

All our candles are soy blend with cotton wicks. No dyes, no enhancers. Just a clean burning candle, individually handmade by a woman artisan and supporting equal opportunity around the world. Fair trade, too!

Be sure to order by May 1 for Mother’s Day as it takes a few days to make custom candles.

Contest Eligibility

No purchase necessary to enter or win this contest. One (1) contest entry per person. Entrants must be over 18 years of age and a legal resident of the United States. Void where prohibited. Entries on all social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest) will be considered valid, and all entries must have a current e-mail address to be eligible (we’ll contact you by email for your design and shipping information).

Prosperity Candle never shares or sells your address or personal information.

Candles Should Be As Unique As You Are

Custom candles

You have a certain style, an aesthetic that belongs solely to you. We all do. We’re influenced by many people and places, but we each combine those inspirations in a unique way. It’s part of what makes you, you.

Here in our studio, we delight in discovering new vessels and fragrances to create unique candles, handmade by women artisans. Every so often, we gather around a wooden table in western Massachusetts (a rickety dining table, actually) and share our inspirations. We unwrap and tell stories about where we found each vessel and who made it.

It’s the most creative part of what we do, and we love it.

Then comes the hard part. We can’t make all these wonderful new candles… there are too many for our shelves and budget. So we have to choose. That isn’t as fun because it feels so limiting.

Then it dawned on us. Why make the candles in advance? Why make that choice for you? In an instant we envisioned people creating candles that match their own unique style, with a large selection of options to choose from. Wow!

Imagine designing a candle for every purpose, every room, every aesthetic, every mood. The perfect candle, every time.

Welcome to Design Your Own Candle. Over 60 vessels and 24 fragrances that will change and expand every month, soon every week. Plus 3 scent strength levels, so you can even choose the amount of fragrance.

From over 4,000 possibilities, we’ll make one candle, exactly how you like it.

Still handmade by a woman artisan, still supporting women’s entrepreneurship to create a brighter future for all. We’re the same small enterprise changing lives and prioritizing social good above all else. Just doing it in a cool new way.

So go ahead, let your individuality shine! Exclusively from Prosperity Candle.

Gender Pay Gap: Patricia Arquette Gets It

Patricia Aquette

“Patricia Arquette gets it” are the Washington Post’s words, but we totally agree.

The question of a gender pay gap has been debated a lot lately, long before the Academy Awards and certainly after. And that is great. Because no matter who says what with which statistic – whether that gap has significantly narrowed or remains stubbornly wide – it exists.

Women today on average make 82 cents for every dollar a man makes. If you’re under age 35, 90 cents. Back in 1979 it was just 63 cents, so that is real progress.

And this may surprise you: unmarried women without children earn 96 cents to an unmarried man’s dollar.

That’s practically pay equity! And yet… what exactly does this imply? What happens when a woman has a baby?

76 cents is what happens. Married mothers with at least one child under age 18 earn 76 cents on a married father’s dollar. Which means women are effectively penalized for giving birth. In a recent report for the centrist think tank Third Way, University of Massachusetts sociology professor Michelle Budig put it this way:

“Fatherhood results in a wage bonus… motherhood results in a wage penalty.”

This is precisely the point Patricia Arquette was making in her Oscar acceptance speech. The wage gap is much greater for mothers… a full 24%. Which is why we love what she said.

“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It is our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

She got some pushback from groups advocating for action on more extreme of forms of gender inequality around the world, and they have a point. But whether rich or poor, in the US or abroad, every woman deserves equality.

We’ll go one step further. Nearly everywhere, women and girls face numerous disadvantages, from restricted access to education and work opportunities to lower compensation and property ownership. It’s not only a pay gap – it’s a global opportunity gap. A big, wide, stubbornly persistent chasm.

We argue that many of the world’s most intractable problems like poverty and conflict can be linked to gender inequality – and solved by addressing it. Equal opportunity for women and girls will bring about a brighter future for everyone, everywhere.

This Wednesday, April 14th, is Equal Pay Day. It symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. Some say it’s misleading, based on headlines rather than real data.

We say it’s an important day to recognize no matter the exact date. Because gender bias persists in and outside of the workplace. And it is holding the world back.

So show your support. Wear red on Wednesday, and share these links with friends:

Patricia Arquette gets it: The real gender wage gap is for moms (Washington Post)

The Fatherhood Bonus and Motherhood Penalty (Third Way)

Equal Pay for Equal Work: Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (ACLU)

Earth Hour – flick off, power up!

Earth_Hour_PostWhat are you doing Saturday night? Here’s an awesome idea.

Turn off the lights for 60 minutes.

Across the world on March 28th, millions of people will be doing the same at precisely 8:30pm local time. The reason? To celebrate earth and raise awareness about climate change.

Earth Hour was created in 2007 by the World Wildlife Fund in Sydney, Australia and has since grown into a global lights-off event in more than 162 countries and territories. Check out photos online… you’ll be amazed at the beauty of people everywhere gathering, lighting candles, and gazing at starry skies.

So join in! Here’s how:

1. Find an event near you

Near Northampton, MA? We’re co-hosting @ Dobra Tea (186 Main Street). Join us for music, food & amazing artisan teas on March 28th. Lights out, candles lit at 8:30pm!

2. Create your own Earth Hour event

3. Join Prosperity Candle’s “9 fun things to do during Earth Hour” on social media and win one of 9 candles

4. Most importantly, turn off all your non-essential lights at 8:30pm on March 28thEarth Hour candles

Whether you’ll be stargazing, striking a yoga pose, connecting with someone you love, or taking part in a local event… do it by candlelight. And tell the world!

Simply head to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and share one thing you’ll do while the lights are off for a chance to win. We’ll be announcing 9 winners on March 31st. See rules below.

We all recognize that individually, it’s hard to make a significant difference when it comes to climate change. But together, we can. Global problems require global solutions, and Earth Hour shows us how simple it can be unite people across time zones for a worthy cause.

Your power to make change happen is unlimited when you connect and join forces with others. And have a bit of fun along the way.

Earth_Hour_Post_2

Eligibility

No purchase is necessary to enter or win this contest. Only one (1) contest entry per person. Entrants must be over 18 years of age and a legal resident of the United States. Void where prohibited. Entries must have a current e-mail address to be eligible (winners will be contacted for shipping information to send your prize). Prosperity Candle employees are not eligible to enter the contest. Prosperity Candle will not sell your address or personal information.

Picked up her skirts, kicked off her heels

by Emma Cotler Powers

Prosperity Candle is about independence, women’s entrepreneurship, and breaking the mold. That’s something I can relate to.

I come from a family of women, literally and metaphorically. My grandmother is the matriarch. After fitting the mold of the model woman at an early age of 23 she picked up her skirts, kicked off her heels, and ran away to New York City where she became an artist.

She was playing with csculpturelay, doing mostly abstraction, when suddenly one of her creations looked at her. She started to make a crowd of them – crones, she called them.

The dictionary definition of a crone brings to mind witches, hags and just general unpleasantness. Hers, though, were full of meat, life and heartache. They hung on the walls in her old apartment, arranged in waves as if they were climbing and descending hills. I looked at their non-faces, for they were just hooded holes, and imagined my ancestors making their way to America. “A crone is a woman with the wisdom of years,” my grandmother told me.

I never questioned her confident dismissal of the negative connotations surrounding the word. I simply accepted her broader view, her kinder view. I instinctively understood that wisdom in women is feared and distorted.

She had three equally strong and rebellious daughters. I am one of her two granddaughters. When I look in the mirror I see a lucky woman, but a woman nonetheless: someone whose face is a drawing board for the world to sketch upon. The word woman is still so fraught with meaning that my face is alight with it.

I urge all of us to pick up our metaphorical skirts and kick off our metaphorical heels – to break the mold and show others the way – in celebration of International Women’s Day.

My grandmother, a silver haired crone of 86, would applaud loudly.

ONE BILLION RISING

One Billion Rising V-Day

We sent an email that said women are not a possession. On Valentine’s Day.

It elicited more responses than usual, mostly “thank you.” But many also questioned our purpose.

Here it is.

“Women are not a possession” is from Tena Clark’s Break The Chain, the anthem for ONE BILLION RISING that has become a global campaign to end violence against women and girls. Founded by Eve Ensler, it is women and men gathering in over 200 countries to express outrage and solidarity – and to dance. It’s incredibly powerful.

When we started Prosperity Candle, supporting women in regions of conflict was our purpose. The founders had traveled around the world for decades helping people escape poverty through entrepreneurship. In the places we worked, this is what we observed:

Men have more access to resources. Women face more obstacles. Men often waste their money. Women typically invest theirs more wisely.

When we launched Prosperity Candle with our own limited funds, we chose to invest wisely, in women. It was March 2009, and I was traveling to meet with our pilot project partner, Women for Women International. On the plane I read about participants in their programs, women who had survived war.

I arrived in tears. The atrocities these women had experienced were beyond comprehension. So was their strength and resilience. A year later Wafa’a, a widow who lost her husband to a mortar landing on their apartment, held up her first pillar candle telling President Obama that Iraqi women are strong and independent.

That is how we started, and who we are. All of our candles are handmade by strong women building a brighter future for themselves and their families, here in the U.S. and overseas. Women who have faced and overcome unspeakable adversity.

February 14th is the worldwide event day for ONE BILLION RISING. We are incredibly inspired by this movement and Eve’s engaging approach to activism. It relates to our own purpose and the women we work with, which is why we sent the Valentine’s Day email.

We encourage you to visit V-Day on facebook and ONE BILLION RISING to discover powerful videos, images and more.

Thank you for asking.

And if you missed our email, here are the links:

Break The Chain, One Billion RisingOne Billion Rising video