All posts by Prosperity Candle

Refugees Welcome

refugees welcome proudly made by refugees

“Compassion is what keeps America great” was the title of this morning’s editorial in our local newspaper. It caught our eye.

Americans are a generous people. Across this country you see individuals and communities helping others in little and big ways. You read stories about acts of kindness and people feeling empathy for one another. This unites us, as it unites communities around the world.

Look at the outpouring of support from Americans at times of tragedy near and far. In the wake of Katrina and horror of 9/11, or devastation following Haiti’s 2010 earthquake or Indonesia’s 2004 tsunami. We reached into our wallets, jumped on a bus, organized relief, and cared for the displaced.

“This is just the type of thing to do – you do this for people,” says Nancy Flickinger, a member of a local church group. “They need all the help they can get.”

What is interesting is who she was talking about… a 56-year old Kurdish widow and her sons who have spent the past 2 years in a Turkish refugee camp. They are refugees from Iraq fleeing violence, hoping for the opportunity to build a new life in our town after their world had been torn apart.

For a few weeks it looked like this family of three might not make it to the U.S., despite a lengthy vetting process. But when the travel ban was blocked, they were cleared for resettlement and arrived last night to a welcome of 180 Americans who have all made a 5-year commitment to help with transportation, learning English, and acclimating to life in this country.

Americans are indeed a compassionate people, and that empathy makes us great.

Seven years ago someone who loaned us money to start Prosperity Candle pressed us to figure how we could have a local impact in addition to supporting widows in Baghdad. So we reached out to women refugees recently relocated nearby, and ever since are glad he nudged us in this direction.

Working side by side with refugees who fled persecution, lost their homes and livelihoods, endured endless hardships in refugee camps, and arrived here with little more than hope for a better life has been educational and inspiring, and has enriched our lives and community.

The story we tell is that we helped these foreign-born women, but in truth they have given much more in return. Every day in our candle studio we are grateful for their skill and attention to detail, their diligence and hard work, the constant improvements they make.

Mostly, though, we are we are grateful for their friendship. Compassion and caring go both ways.

#refugeeswelcome    #refugees

refugees welcome proudly made by refugees

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Love In A New Light: Valentine’s Day Picks!

Bamboo_Washi

“Never be afraid to start over, it’s a chance to rebuild the life the way you wanted all along.” – Rae Smith

Without a doubt we are living an era of profound change. Positive from some perspectives, negative from others. Mostly there is a sense of uncertainty. The question we ask ourselves is, how can all of us continue to contribute to a better world?

Back i
n 2009, we embarked on a path to promote positive change by empowering women in places like Iraq through artisan-entrepreneurship. Eight years later we are still at it, now working alongside with women refugees here in the U.S. as well. Our message is one of unity, helping those in need, and creating opportunities for everyone to build a brighter future.

With the help of many wonderful partners who embrace fair trade and value the good that handmade products can do, Prosperity Candle has had a positive impact on many lives. But mostly it is you who has made this happen. Whether you call it giving back, shopping for change, or simply being a conscious consumer, you have made a difference.

We also imagine that you love candlelight as much as we so here. Beyond the good our candles do, we strive to create designs and scents that make people happy. Whether purchasing for yourself or as a gift, we want people to enjoy them as much for ambiance they create as the beautiful story behind each candle.

With that in mind, and despite all the change that is going on, we recognize that Valentine’s Day right around the corner and should be celebrated… plus maybe, just maybe, love really can love can conquer all. 

So here we go… our Valentine’s Day favorites, handpoured for you by women refugees here in our little studio.

Our Valentine’s Day Top Picks
1. Time to Unwind

Give the gift of Time to Unwind, perfect recipe to a stress-free moment:

Mullein & Sparrow’s Floral Facial Steam: handcrafted by holistic herbalist Anit Hora, this purifying blend of organic herbs helps detoxify, cleanse and rejuvenate your skin.

Formulary 55’s Milk & Honey Sparkling Bath Tablet

√ The light of our Washi Tea Tin candle burning for up to 18 hours, customizable in 5 fragrance options.
Facial Steam Mullein & Sparrowmilk and honeyTime_to_Unwind

2. Aleppo Cuisine Gift Set

Give the gift to cook with love:

√ The Aleppo Cookbook: Voted Best Cookbook 2016 by The Washington Post, this book unlocks the secrets of Syrian cuisine through the recipes of renowned Chef Marlene Matar.

√ Custom blended Middle Eastern Spices.

√  The light of our hand-poured, soy blend candle burning for up to 28 hours, available in Chamomile & Sage or Unscented.

3. Simple Delight

Give the gift to enjoy the simple things.

√ The Little Korboose Tea Towel: unbleached organic cotton towel, designed with love by artist April Nemeth.

Formulary 55’s Balsam & Fir Shea Butter Moisturizing Soap.

√ The light of our Washi Tea Tin candle burning for up to 18 hours, customizable in 5 fragrance options.

Little Korboose Tea TowelBalsam & FirSimple Delight

4. Replenish Yourself

Give someone the gift to replenish themselves.

Mullein & Sparrow’s Lavender Blossom Body Oil: Handcrafted by holistic herbalist Anit Hora, lavender blossom body oil is formulated with the meditative and healing attributes of pure lavender oil from France. Skin-firming, hydrating and antioxidant-rich.

Formulary 55’s Sea Salt & Lavender Sparkling Bath Tablet.

√ The light of our Washi Tea Tin candle burning for up to 18 hours, customizable in 5 fragrance options.

Body Oil Mullein Sparrowsea_salt_fizzyReplenish Yourself

5. Washi Tea Tins

Our Washi Tea Tin candles, hand-picked by BuzzFeed and JetSet Times, are a customer favorite! We’ve had a hard time keeping them in stock as they went so fast, but the good news is that they are back, so catch them while they last. Made from Japanese washi paper, they’re customizable in 11 fragrances and 5 colors, and they burn up to 15 hours.

Supporting our women artisans – in style.

Cozy_Washi

Browse our full selection of Top Picks for Valentine’s Day here!

Don’t forget to send us some love on Instagram!

Do you have one of our candles at home? Share your best shots and tag @prosperitycandle to be featured. Let’s be consciously good, together.

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Her Personality, Her Fragrance

Our bespoke fragrance collection is uniquely designed to appeal to everyone, from fans of rich musky scents to those who prefer something light, crisp, and fresh. Below, our guide to picking a candle in her fragrance, something she’ll absolutely love . . . without giving yourself away before it’s unwrapped!

For the romantic

Amber&Orchid_JennyPennywood She loves a good romantic comedy and the sight of fresh flowers on her bedside table. Our Amber & Orchid fragrance is perfect for the hopeful romantic in your life. It’s lushly floral yet complex, with notes of bergamot and clary sage, and the addition of amber takes it to a new level of sophistication.

Perfect for: an indulgent evening in with her closest girlfriends, catching up on each other’s lives and dreams for the future.

For the minimalist

SeaGrass_anamontiel

She abhors clutter and distractions. She’s the only person you know who has her email inbox entirely under control. Her motto is ‘buy less, choose well’. For your most organized friend, the one who extols of virtues of simple living, a clean and nature-infused scent. Reminiscent of her favorite beachside moments, it’s a fresh and joyous fragrance . . . never excessive.

Perfect for: adding a bit of peaceful, seaside atmosphere to her weekly electronic-free night, when she turns off her phone and computer in favor of good old fashioned time with the family.

For the gourmand

VanillaBean&Peppercorn_jeanalexanderfraterShe lives for new culinary experiences — everywhere she travels, she’s got a wishlist of restaurants to try. Her kitchen overflows with cookbooks. She’s the consummate hostess, and while everyone else will try to wow her with kitchen gadgets and specialty spices, she’ll really love the potent combination of classic vanilla bean and sharp, spicy black peppercorn. Her fragrance compliments her refined palette.

Perfect for: a fragrant addition to her morning ritual of artisanal coffee, sipped slowly while reading the daily paper (or the latest recipes on Epicurious).

For the explorer

PR&P_janetlittleShe wants to go coast to coast, from the rocky beaches of Maine to the majestic forests of the Pacific Northwest. She’s wild about travel, all the adventure the big wide world holds. Inspire her wanderlust with a rich blend of redwood and exotic patchouli. No matter where she’s come from or where she’s headed, the fragrance will bring her back to center.

Perfect for: a long relaxing bath after a week of backpacking with friends in the Catskills.

 

Water.org candles: give globally with the gift of light and clean water

Prosperity Candle supports water projects around the world with Water.org candle collection

Safe water transforms lives.

For more than twenty years, Water.org has pioneered safe water and sanitation solutions that give women hope, children health and communities a future. This holiday, we’ve partnered with Water.org on an exclusive candle collection supporting the cause of clean water for those who need it, all around the world.

water.org_candles_Shopify

Transform lives with a Water.org candle this holiday

Ethically handmade with a fresh Rainwater scent, each Water.org candle comes gift boxed with the story of the woman who made it. Every purchase donates 10% to Water.org, to support their projects in Haiti, Bangladesh, Uganda, and more.

Shop Water.org candles on Prosperity Candle, and learn more about Water.org’s important work below!

Blogging ethically: our favorite ethical lifestyle blogs

We’re a little bit addicted to lifestyle blogs.

What can we say? We love beautiful interiors, clever ideas for diy projects, and all things lovely. What we love even more is discovering amazing blogs focused on covering ethical brands and providing thoughtful alternatives to traditional purchases. Below are a few of our favorite ethical lifestyle blogs — we’d love to know yours!

Buy Conscious

Bringing you “daily inspiration for conscious living”, Buy Conscious is the passion project of Rose and Julia, two women lending their voices and efforts to making consumers aware of the power of their purchases. Right now, we’re loving their ideas for holiday gifts that keep on giving through Oxfam America’s Unwrapped program. And we were honored to be included in their recent write up of conscious candles!

Ecocult

Based in New York City but reaching far beyond, Alden Wicker’s Ecocult is a great resource for sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives. Showcasing amazing brands doing good, with an eye for highend style and design, Ecocult consistently covers items that end up on our wishlists. With holiday season madness approached, Alden recently wrote a open letter to her family on present-buying . . . a great thought piece and conversation starter for any of us feeling that the over-consumption of Christmas needs to be scaled way back!

Life Style Justice

Hannah’s heart and soul is in social justice — she works with non-profits and for-good businesses, and identifies as a social activist and conscientious consumer. Life Style Justice is her outlet for sharing the many ways she aligns her values with her purchases. Filled with posts on ethical fashion, homemaking, and more, our favorite feature is Life Style Justice’s Ethical Style Files, a gorgeous lookbook of Hannah’s fair trade, thrifted, made in the U.S.A., and otherwise ethical wardrobe.

Let’s Be Fair

Dominique’s internet home was one of our first ethical blog discoveries, so it holds a special place in our hearts! Working from the belief that a “thoughtful  and ethical lifestyle can be stylish, affordable, and fun,” Dominique covers a wide range of topics relating to ethical purchasing — from beauty to ethical good for little ones to how to throw an ethical wedding (her recent post showcasing ethical engagement rings was full of stunning rings that would light up any proposal).

Many Sparrows

Kayla’s goal is to inspire women to find a story worth sharing, and she does so through thoughtful, personal essays on her blog Many Sparrows. From sharing stories of motherhood (her letter to her son Joseph about the joy of being his mother brings tears to our eyes) to reflections on her faith and values, Many Sparrows is an uplifting read time and time again. We were lucky enough to have Kayla share our story with friends at the Influence Conference, and her passion for our work touched us deeply!

Did we miss an ethical lifestyle blog you love? Drop us a comment and let us know!

The making of the Forever Candle

It all starts with the perfect glass.

Our dream of the Forever Candle started with the beauty and symbolism of an egg. The shape came to life through a collaboration with expert glassblowers in Poland: thick walls, a heavy sham, and delicate curves. Every one handblown, our team of artisan candlemakers clean and prepare each glass, carefully affixing cotton wicks by hand.

It all begins with the perfect glass Htoo carefully wicks each glass by hand

When it comes to candlemaking, getting the recipe right is key. We think of it as part chemistry, part art. Fragrance is measured and added to our soy blend wax, mixed and melted by hand. And before candles can be poured, the glasses need to be heated to the right temperature, ensuring a beautiful appearance and candle performance.

Fragrance and wax come together to create the perfect mixture for pouring. Heating the glass to prevent unsightly bubbling

Once the blended wax & fragrance has reached the perfect temperature, the pouring can begin. Each glass is slowly filled, ensuring no spattering of wax on the glass walls. As the wax flows from the pitcher, it begins to solidify almost immediately, transitioning from crystal clear to milky white. It’s beautiful to watch — definitely the part of the process that most feels like magic!

Htoo checks on wax Wax flows from pitcher to Forever Candle glass

Before the wax can cool, wick centering tools are used to hold the wick perfectly straight. To ensure the wax cools correctly, candles are covered while the wax solidifies. Finally, candles are inspected for quality — we often re-melt wax to ensure a lovely, level candle. Designed to burn beautifully, at first and every light.

Wick centering tools keep wicks from sagging Moo Kho checks a Forever Candle for any imperfections

We take pride in every candle we pour, but the Forever Candle is particularly special to us. Every one comes with a lifetime of complimentary refills, for a lifetime of impact — every pour provides living wage work for women artisans building a brighter future after years as refugees.

Shop the Forever Candle

images by Meg Haley of Meg Haley Photography

Prosperity Candle for The Little Market

photo by The Little Market

We’ve long been fans of The Little Market, a beautifully curated online marketplace of ethically sourced handmade goods changing the lives of artisans around the world. (Their mission aligns with the Prosperity Candle mission so perfectly!) And we’re honored to be their very first U.S. partner! We collaborated with them to create an exclusive line of hand poured candles in scents perfect for holiday entertaining (like Pumpkin Pie and Holiday Spice) or any time during the year (like rich, sophisticated Vetiver, a personal favorite).

Head over to The Little Market’s blog for a Q&A with Prosperity Candle founder Ted Barber. And don’t forget to check out our candles in their shop!

photo source: The Little Market instagram

What’s the real environmental impact of a candle?

It’s a question we ask ourselves all the time. As a socially responsible business, we also have a responsibility to our planet. We strive to minimize our environmental impact in every way possible!

Prosperity Candle's ingredients

Soy versus paraffin

At first glance, soy wax or beeswax seem like the obvious raw materials to use when thinking about environmental sustainability. Surprisingly, this is not always the case!

After much research, we have concluded that our custom paraffin-soy blend is the most sustainable choice we can make today. Paraffin is a material that is available regionally in large quantity, so using it means a much lower carbon footprint than with other waxes that must be shipped in.

Paraffin is also a by-product, which if not used would go into the waste stream. We’ve found that most soy wax is sourced from agribusiness, where large amounts of petrochemicals are used in carbon-intensive cultivation methods. Paraffin can actually be a more sustainable option than soy when you compare total environment impacts.

Healthwise, food-quality paraffin burns as cleanly as other high quality waxes. At Prosperity Candle, we use only the highest grade candle waxes with natural cotton wicks (no lead or zinc) for a long-lasting, clean burning candle.

Smoke & soot

It’s an unavoidable fact: all waxes emit some soot. If made and burned correctly (yup, trimming your wick actually matters!), a flame should not emit smoke. And here’s the good news: waxes burn cleanly if they are high quality, highly refined, and the production of the candle is technically correct.

Our candles and fragrances meet the strict California Proposition 65 for indoor air quality, and contain none of the performance enhancers that low-grade, very fragrant candles use.

Production standards

When looking at how ‘green’ a candle is, you have to also consider the environment in which it is made and the candle container.  We are proud to be a certified B-Corp for our environmental and social sustainability practices.  We make our candles in a clean, healthy environment for both our candle artisans and the candles themselves.

In selecting our vessels, we always aim for recycled, recyclable, repurposed and fair trade.  We hate the idea of a candle vessel being thrown out when done, which is why we have a section of our site dedicated to reuse and repurposing, which is many times better than simply recycling.

Moo Kho centering a wick in our production studio

Sustainable business values

Our team consists of locavores in both spirit and practice. We eat produce from New England farms shares, buy local dairy products, and support artisans in our neighborhoods. But we also recognize that not everything we use can be made locally – and that there are people living in distant places who can greatly benefit from trade.

While working to improve the lives of women in places of conflict and disaster, we strive to minimize our carbon footprint wherever possible. We consolidate shipments, select routes with the smallest carbon footprint (we are a strong advocate of ships using wind power to reduce fuel use), minimize packaging and waste, recycle & reuse everything we can, and regularly purchase carbon offsets.

We are committed to tracking and continually reducing Prosperity Candle’s carbon footprint over time.

Have a question about our environmental impact? Get in touch via Twitter or Facebook!

Empower Women

Women Working
Empower women. It’s a powerful statement, a two word sentence that says so much more than the sum of its letters. And it’s what we’re about. What we believe in. Empower women.

Empower women. The women we work with here at Prosperity Candle. They’re new to the United States, refugees from Burma, and in need of support. Not charity, but sustainable economic opportunity. They’re raising families, learning English, acclimating to a new climate and a completely new way of life. For them, empowerment starts small: living wage work in a supportive environment, where time off is readily available, sick kids are welcomed in (one great thing about having a nap-ready couch in our studio!), and candles are made by their hands, designed to share their light with the world.

Empower women. The women our nonprofit sister organization, Prosperity Catalyst, works with in Haiti. They’re moms, they’re daughters, and through their work they’ve become friends. While their budding business is still small, selling locally in the markets of Cap Haitian, their spirit is huge. Each woman pools a portion of the income she makes into a savings fund, and the women regularly distribute that pool to one of its members. This extra piece of income has allowed for small, previously unavailable luxuries like a new haircut or outfit. It’s also allowed for children’s schooling to be paid for upfront. Investing not only in the women entrepreneurs, but in the next generation of women as well.

Empower women. And empower future women . . . empower girls. Show her Wonder Woman. Show her writers, and businesswomen, and teachers, and doctors. The world will show her princesses. Show her Malala Yousafzai, show her Half the Sky, show her the world beyond the tiny boxes, the gender roles she’ll be pushed into. Show her how to consume media messages with a cautious and critical eye. Empower her, show her the world of possibilities that lies ahead of her, and you’ve made a mighty investment into a brighter future for us all.

Easy Ways to Celebrate Day of the Girl 2013

A girl with an extra year of education can earn 20% more as an adult.
source: The World Bank

source: Day of the Girl

source: Day of the Girl

This Friday marks the second ever International Day of the Girl Child, a day dedicated to advancing the rights of girls around the world. As it says on the official Day of the Girl site, Day of the Girl is “bigger than one issue, one organization, one country, and even the day itself. It is a yearly reflection of what we’ve done and what we need to keep doing to fully achieve gender equality everywhere.”

There are so many ways to take part in International Day of the Girl. It’s all about getting involved, and that means everything from raising your own awareness to sharing the day’s mission with others to supporting related causes.

For example, you can donate to great educations supporting girls education, like She’s the First. You can purchase products made by women, or designed to support women and girls, like our A Brighter Future gift set, which donates to the Malala Fund.

You can follow the International Day of the Girl hashtag on twitter to take part in the global conversation, and like the Day of the Girl facebook page for updates.

And there’s tons of great, shareable media out there. Below are a few of the videos and essays we’ve enjoyed this week — from a round up of girls who are dreaming big to a brief, heart-warming video featuring pop star Katy Perry!

  1. 8 Girls Who Dream Big For International Day of the Girl 2013 on the Huffington Post
  2. 10 Facts You Don’t Know About Girls Education on ABC News
  3. Women as a Force for Change by Nicholas Kristof
  4. Watch Katy Perry ‘Roar’ with Unicef for International Day of the Girl
  5. Anne T. Donahue reflects on undervaluing education & remembering its importance
  6. Watch Jon Stewart’s full interview with Malala Yousafzai on The Daily Show: part 1, part 2, & part 3.

What have you been reading and watching in honor of Day of the Girl? We’d love to know — please share with us in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!