One Day for One World: World Fair Trade Day 2016

World Fair Trade Day

“Nobody wants to buy something that was made by exploiting someone else”. – Jerry Greenfield, philanthropist and co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s.

These are words of wisdom, short and straight to the point. However for us, the concept of Fair Trade stretches well beyond. As one of our favorite actresses and activists Emma Watson once stated, “I think if you care about the developing world, then Fair Trade is even better than giving to charity, as you’re essentially giving these people the opportunity to help themselves out of poverty – and that’s all they really want.”

That’s why we love World Fair Trade Day. Started in 2001, World Fair Trade Day is an initiative that falls on the second Saturday of May of each year. It is an inclusive worldwide festival of events celebrating Fair Trade as a tangible contribution to the fight against poverty and exploitation, climate change and the economic crises that have the greatest impact on the world’s most vulnerable. Leading up to May 14th, Fair Trade USA is recognizing the importance of empowering women by announcing their #FairHer campaign to celebrate women who purchase Fair Trade products.

We believe that everyone deserves to be a part of the #FairHer initiative! That’s why we’re giving away 5 candles for World Fair Trade Day 2016. For a chance to win, simply enter our contest on Facebook and tell us why YOU love Fair Trade products. Here’s why we believe in Fair Trade:

World Fair Trade Day

Self-empowering

Fair trade does more than provide, it empowers. One of the beautiful things about making candles is that a woman can start up and expand a business in the safety of her own home with local materials. This stability is a critical element during times of unrest. Enabling women to escape poverty and conflict around the world lies at the heart of our enterprise. Every candle purchased helps provide a fair, living wage for the women of Prosperity, who have recently resettled from refugee camps and are working to build a brighter future for themselves and their families in the United States.

World Fair Trade Day

Quality

Fair Trade symbolizes ‘high quality’. That’s why Fair Trade strawberries taste even sweeter! We care about the quality of candles, and the quality of life. The candles we make are hand poured and soy blend with natural cotton wicks. We add the perfect amount of fragrance made with essential oils, then hand pour into vessels one by one. Also, needless to say, we are dedicated to shaping a high quality of life for our women artisans and their families. We thrive on investing in communities like Haiti and Iraq, and ultimately creating a beautiful, fair candle experience for you that you can believe in.

World Fair Trade Day

Uniqueness

Fair Trade is unique. Just like people, every candle is different! We proudly embrace this uniqueness in candle design, and our social enterprise. There are over 400 candle producers in the United States. Many are environmentally compatible but no other candle company is B-Corp certified for social and environmental impact. We believe that other companies like to work with us because we’re different. For example, we love working with our sustainable collaboration partners The Little Market and Garden Collage. Their mission, vision and teams align perfectly with what we do at Prosperity Candle! From woman artisan to business partner, we pour love into all our working relationships, our candles and our loyal customers. This uniqueness defines Prosperity Candle.

Ready to join in this global celebration? Inspired to try one of our candles? Click here to browse our collections and don’t forget to enter our World Fair Trade Day giveaway on Facebook!

#WFTD2016    #FairTrade     #ProsperityCandle

Celebrate Earth Day, Every Day!

Prosperity Candle Liberte Pot Candle

“The Earth is what we all have in common” – Wendell Berry

Here at Prosperity Candle, we’re gearing up for Earth Day on April 22nd. Beyond celebrating the resources that Mother Nature has given us on this one special day, we’d like to inspire you to help protect those resources 365 days of the year. Wouldn’t it be great if every day could be Earth Day?

Sustainable development is a global topic discussed by the United Nations, as Member States gather in Paris to reach a global agreement. With so many individuals, organizations and governments involved, we’d like to have a simple story to pass on when we talk about the big – and small – things we can do to sustain our earth. Inspired by Earth Month, we’ve listed Prosperity Candle’s 5R’s of sustainability for 2016:

Respect

Encouraging respect for life on Earth goes a long way. We take pride in using nature’s resources gracefully for our candles, while brightening the lives of others. Why not choose a fair trade supplier for your business gifts and support important causes, like women’s leadership and human rights? The glow and warmth of a candle’s flame stand for how we like to treat people and the planet: with dignity.

Reduce

Have you ever calculated your ecological footprint? We are proud to be a certified B-Corp for our environmental and social sustainability practices. We use soy blend wax, fragrances made with essential oils, and natural cotton and wood wicks. We also consolidate shipments, select routes with the smallest footprint, and re-use or recycle every scrap of shipping material that comes through our door.

Repurpose

What better way to honor the earth, and your pocket, than repurposing items and giving your home decor a little boost? How about using sake candles as tea cups or this Liberte Pot candle to plant your favorite flower?

Prosperity Candle Liberte Pot Candle

Responsibility

As a social enterprise, we thrive at the intersection of business and philanthropy, seeking sustainable market-based solutions to today’s global challenges. We love supporting local initiatives like Kestrel Land Trust to benefit the community and being involved in events that benefit earth and society. Find one in your area by checking out the Earth Day Network which gathers a list of fair trade and green events around the world.

Rethink

Rethink how you shop. Rethink traditional gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. We can do lots of good for others, and the earth, with even the smallest decisions. Get your loved ones a gift that they’ll enjoy, not throw away. How about a gift card for weddings, baby showers and graduations? Ultimately, your purchases decide whether fair trade and green products become the norm.

Robert Swan once said,  “The greatest threat to our earth is believing that someone else will save it.” Let’s stand together to inspire habits that serve the earth every day. #EarthDay2016 #Candles4Earth #EarthDayEveryDay

Would you like to enjoy your own flower pot candle? Click here to start your Spring right!

From Haiti To Haiti, With Determination

Haiti_earthquake

On January 12th, 2010 a powerful earthquake struck Haiti, taking 230,000 lives, injuring 300,000 and displacing over 1.5 million. Six years later, families and the country are still struggling to recover.

Here at Prosperity Candle, and for the thousands of people who have volunteered to save and help rebuild lives there, the devastation that befell this Caribbean country just a few hours’ flight from Miami is much more than images. We’ve worked in Haiti both before and after the earthquake.

So when Prosperity Candle was ready to expand to a new country to support women artisans and entrepreneurs, we knew it would be Haiti. Beyond donations, we wanted to reach out to help Haitians build a brighter future in the way our social enterprise was created to do. Together with our sister nonprofit, Prosperity Catalyst, we went there and invested in a women-owned candle enterprise.

Three years later, we are continuing that effort with something new and entirely unique.

_JP_5531

Concrete candle holders made with rubble from the 2010 earthquake, symbolizing light from darkness and a brighter future ahead. Designed and individually handcrafted in partnership with Stone Soup Concrete, 10% of proceeds are donated to support women entrepreneurs and civic leaders in Haiti.

But today  through January 12, 2016 we are donating 100% of the proceeds.

Combined_Haiti_Pillars_JP_8379

Already these candles reside in homes from London to LA, given as unique and meaningful gifts this past holiday. The response has been incredible. Each begins with blocks of concrete we handle with deep awareness of the lives lost, and even deeper determination to help those still in need.

Turning these blocks into smooth candle holders is a slow process done entirely by hand from start to finish. No two pieces are exactly the same depending on the material we receive. Each arrives with a story card and matchbox with inspirational quote. You can view the Haiti Rubble Series in our Limited Edition Collection.

For wholesale inquiries, please visit the Haiti Rubble Series on our wholesale site.

If you are interested in supporting Haitian women more directly, we encourage you to visit Prosperity Catalyst, a Boston-based nonprofit that incubates and launches women-led businesses in distressed regions, creating opportunities for women to achieve economic empowerment. Its vision is a world where all women have the opportunity, capacity and support to become powerful catalysts for social and economic change.

Thank you. Together we can – and will – create a brighter future for all.

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.

 

 

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.

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!

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!

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