Frequently Asked Questions

Are you a non-profit or a for-profit?

Both! We’re a hybrid called a social enterprise, an organization created to address a challenge (such as poverty or climate change) with a market-based approach for sustainable impact. Our legal designation is an L3C, which is a low-profit limited liability company. We prioritize social benefit over profit. Learn more about L3Cs at

Why do you focus on women?

Investing in women is the key to ending poverty. Around the world, women reinvest more of their earnings in their families and communities, especially child education. We believe that empowering women economically is central to global peace and shared prosperity. Learn more about why economically empowering women makes sense at

When a woman thrives, an entire community thrives.

Why candles?

We create economic opportunities for women through entrepreneurship in regions of conflict and natural disaster. To achieve this goal, the enterprises we support must offer the opportunity to not just survive, but truly thrive.

Candles and candle-making are ideal. Local materials, local and global markets, a consumable product, and highly scalable. A woman can start her business in the safety of her home – a critical element in places of unrest – yet grow it well beyond. She can transition from living in poverty to earning more than a living wage in a matter of months when she has access to markets. Learn more in our company story

We combine candles with handmade vessels and accessories to broaden our impact and celebrate artisans around the world.

Are you fair trade?

Yes, and proud of it! We are a member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) and Green America. We’re a Common Good Company. which underscores our commitment to prioritizing the social good over all else. And we're proud to not only be B-Corp certified but awarded "Best for the World" for our positive social and environmental impact, scoring in the top 10% of B-Corps our size.


Who are you?

We are a small team of people who believe that social enterprises can help solve many of the world’s problems. We’re dedicated to creating economic opportunities for women to thrive, and are deeply committed to supporting women’s entrepreneurship.

Our backgrounds span international development, retail and wholesale business, importing, journalism, Arabic studies, marketing, and women’s empowerment.

Where do you work?

Haiti, Iraq and with women refugees in the U.S. Plus more than a dozen countries through fair trade purchases, from Afghanistan and Bangladesh to Kenya, Rwanda and Nicaragua. Read more about our model and where we work in the Boston Globe

Why Iraq & Haiti?

We believe in going where our model is needed most, where few others are able or willing to invest, and where we can have the greatest impact. We go where international assistance provides relief, but global business sees risk. We focus our efforts on places where our unique approach to supporting women’s entrepreneurship can help rebuild lives and enable families to thrive. This includes working with women refugees recently resettled here in the U.S.

Do you have corporate gifts?

Yes! We offer a beautiful selection of corporate and event gifts that are ideal for clients, employees, conferences, speakers, Board members, donors and volunteers.

Unique products, exceptional quality, tremendous impact… and full customization. Most often you can only put your logo on something (and too often that something is junk, or what we call bad swag). We’re the opposite. We custom design labels, packaging and note cards with your entire brand – logo, colors, images, messaging and more. It’s what we love to do.

And not only are gift recipients wowed and appreciative, but the company or nonprofit’s brand is enhanced at the same time. Our clients include Accenture, Oxfam, PAX World Funds, Harvard Business School, CARE and many more. Find our more on our custom gifting website

What do you mean by shared prosperity?

Shared prosperity is our way of talking about commerce as a force for good. When a business focuses on its own profits and the needs of relatively few shareholders, others in the world tend to lose. But when that same business balances profits with the common good, benefits accrue more fairly. Prosperity is shared, which in turn promotes sustainability. We view this as taking fair trade one step further. For Prosperity Candle, a living wage is just the starting point. Our model is designed to promote opportunities to not just survive, but really thrive – even in the most challenging of environments.

How much do the women earn?

One of the most common questions people ask is how much of each candle goes to the woman who made it. The answer is 100%. Because everything Prosperity Candle does, every moment of every day, is dedicated to helping her thrive.

But we understand what they are asking. In terms of labor, anywhere from 15% to 30% of the retail price of a candle (25% to 60% of the wholesale price) goes to the woman who made it. It depends on the candle, where it comes from, cost of shipping from places like Iraq and Haiti, and on the value of the vessel.

Our Eva Bowls, for example, are handpainted by women artisans in Kashmir, where conflict and natural disaster have devastated communities. They are fair-trade imported, then made into unique candles and gift packaged by Burmese refugees. When sold for $25, 25% is for the re-usable bowl which includes compensation to the women artisans, 18% goes to the Burmese women, 13% is for materials (wax, fragrance, gift packaging), and the balance covers our rent, website, and overhead.

What we are most concerned with, however, is whether a woman making candles has the opportunity to thrive. Fair trade is vitally important, but it aims to ensure equitable prices and safe work conditions, not necessarily that a person can escape poverty (let alone prosper). You can pay an above-market price for a beautiful handwoven basket that took many days to create, and that artisan will likely still be living in poverty.

The key for us is not how much a woman earns per candle, but how much can she earn in a day. Because it is the daily income that determines whether someone has escaped poverty and can put food on the table, not the percent per pound of coffee that goes to the farmer. $2 could be an exceedingly fair price for something, but if it’s as much as a person can produce in a day, it’s still extreme poverty.

That's why we chose candles. A woman can go from poverty to earning better than a living wage because the enterprise is scalable. We love artisan-made products, and are dedicated to fair trade principles. We just like to add what we view as an essential ingredient to ending poverty: the opportunity to truly thrive.

When did Prosperity Candle start?

The first idea for creating enterprise opportunities in developing countries were formulated in 2004. But it wasn’t until 2008 that candles and a focus on women in regions of conflict crystalized. Our pilot project was launched in Baghdad in 2009, Prosperity Candle was officially formed in 2010, and 2011 was our first full year of operation. Learn more about our origin in our company story

Are the candles scented? 

We offer both scented and unscented candles. We have 5 signature scents, plus more than 18 additional scents to choose from when placing custom orders. 

What are the fragrances made from? 

We use both essential oils and fragrance oils based on essential oils. Essential oil fragrances contain only botanical extracts. Fragrance oils include additional ingredients to improve scent throw and compatibility with waxes. Our fragrance oils are used in cosmetics, soaps and other personal products. All are skin-safe and phthalate free. 

What wax and wick do you use? 

Our beeswax blend is made from combining the highest quality beeswax and soy wax, and carries the natural undertone scent of beeswax. Our soy blend is made from combining the highest quality soy and paraffin waxes. Paraffin is a by-product of oil refining, and when made into high grade candle wax, it burns cleanly. We do not dye our candles as this reduces the purity of the burn. All waxes are sourced in the U.S.  

All our wicks are natural cotton, coated in soy wax. There are no metals or other components.

Where do you get the candle containers? 

We believe in reusable first, and always recycled/recyclable materials. We don’t believe any product should be thrown away. Our artisan collection uses vessels from around the world, including fair trade from Egypt, Honduras, Kenya, Nicaragua, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. We also purchase from artisans in the U.S., Canada, Turkey and other countries. 

Our recycled soda and wine bottle candles are made from real, repurposed glass – which means 3 lives: bottle, candle, drinking glass. Our coffee tin candles use real coffee tins that we collect, clean and turn into stylish patio candles.

Most of our products come with instructions for cleaning out the wax when the candle is finished so that the vessel can be added to your kitchen, table and home décor. That makes us happy! 

Where do your accessories come from? 

We source our baskets, soaps, coffees, teas, jewelry, scarves and other accessories from fair trade partners, and endeavor to support women artisans as much as possible. These items are made in the U.S. and in over 12 countries around the world including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Congo, Ecuador, Haiti, Ghana, Honduras, India (and Kashmir), Nicaragua, Pakistan, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. 

Additional questions? 

Just ask! Contact us at or (413) 727-3078. 

And if you have suggestions, creative ideas or stories to share, we’d love to hear from you.Everything we do every day serves our mission and helps create connection with people like you. We’d love to learn what inspires you and how our work can contribute to your positive impact in the world.