A few days ago, my mom asked me to list all the ways that a Prosperity Candle gift gives back to people, communities and the environment. She wanted to know the total impact because she sensed that she only knew a piece of it. She was so right.
So I started talking about the women who make our candles, whether still recovering from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and struggling to escape poverty, seeking independence and self sufficiency as a widow in Iraq, or recently resettled in the U.S. after years in a refugee camp for displaced Burmese families. These strong and resilient women are rebuilding their lives and need to put food on the table, send kids to school, and afford medicines. But we seek to help them achieve more. Prosperity Candle’s model provides an entrepreneurial opportunity to not just survive, but truly thrive.
That’s our mission. That’s why we started this social enterprise and launched our sister nonprofit, Prosperity Catalyst. And that is why we chose candles – a unique business that can start in the safety of the home, but rapidly grow far beyond in both size and income. It’s extraordinary.
But my mom knew all that. She wanted to see the entire picture. So here it is – something we haven’t really put all in one place until this post.
- We directly support women rebuilding their lives following conflict and natural disaster, including women refugees resettled in the U.S. from conflict countries.
- Through fair trade purchases of artisan vessels, soaps and gourmet items, we support women and families in Afghanistan, Congo, Ghana, Haiti, Kashmir, Kenya, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe… and many more countries. We deeply believe in and support fair trade.
- In the U.S., we purchase directly from women artisans and combine our candles with products from women-focused organizations like Women’s Bean Project, Bright Endeavors, Beeline, and Good Fortune Soaps.
- We donate to organizations aligned with our mission and work, including Amnesty International, Oxfam International, Partners in Health, Women for Women International, and World Pulse.
- All our artisan vessels are intended to live long and happy lives in your home… we find pieces that are beautiful to begin with, make a candle out of them, then show you how to remove the wax when done so your vessel can be used in the kitchen, dining room, or as décor.
- Our soda, wine and beer bottles have 3 lives… first as a bottle, then as a candle, and finally as a glass to add to your collection. That’s some serious social and environmental good!
- Our coffee tin patio candles are real coffee tins that we couldn’t bear to see thrown out, or even recycled before they had another life. We collect, clean and make citronella candles out of them, creating a swank and environmentally friendly way to shoo summer bugs.
- Our travel tins are made in the U.S. (not China!) and are fully recyclable, like any tin can.
- Our soy wax is made from organic soybeans from small U.S. farms, and we source it from the closest suppliers available.
- Our beeswax is pure and unbleached, sourced from the closest suppliers available.
- The paraffin we use is the highest grade, sourced from U.S. & Canadian producers. It is a waste stream byproduct that is made into useful, clean burning wax.
- We use only natural cotton wicks with a coating of soy wax – no zinc, no other stuff in them.
- Our scents are all made in the U.S. from essential and fragrance oils.
- We recycle nearly everything here, including packing materials we receive from others… we have big bins of them because we really can’t stand to throw anything out.
- Our gift boxes, tissue, crinkle paper and newsprint (for packing orders) are all made from recycled materials. We could get fancy, but then we’d be less environmentally friendly.
- Our own shipping boxes are made from recycled paper and printed with soy ink.
- Our office is 100% florescent lights, including CFLs for our little photo studio.
While we think globally, every day we make a local impact as well. Whenever we can, we buy local. We source close by. We support local businesses. And in addition to reaching out to women in places like Haiti and Iraq, we work with refugees right here in Massachusetts who are faced with incredible challenges to rebuild their lives in the U.S. We offer good wages, flexible hours, transportation support, learning opportunities, and assistance navigating the complexities of healthcare, insurance and taxation services. We try to do whatever we can to help, as any friend and neighbor would do.
Prosperity Candle was created to serve a social mission and have a positive, lasting impact on the world. We’re working really hard to make that happen and every day there is progress. But that’s not to say we don’t have things we need to improve upon – we do. It’s not enough to feel passionate about something. Like every organization, we make mistakes and see areas that need attention. And it’s our commitment to giving back in every way possible that drives us to fix the mistakes and figure out how to do things better tomorrow.
That’s the entire picture, mom!