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Social Enterprise Prosperity Candle

“One tiny person can make a difference.” – Dr. Teresa Chahine, Social Entrepreneurship Program Leader at Harvard Chan School and Director at Alfanar Lebanon.

Agreed! And so can one small business prioritizing positive impact over all else. We believe in social enterprises because they contribute to solving a community challenge using the power of the marketplace. Simply put, they are a force for good… “businesses that are changing the world for the better.”

Such challenges abound, which is why Dr. Chahine’s new book Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship comes at a perfect time. It educates us about how social businesses are today’s solution for a brighter tomorrow. “For the past 10+ years I have mentored undergraduate students in helping for-profits and non-profits conceive, develop, and implement social enterprise… and have yet to find such a comprehensive and applied resource,” comments Professor John Gonas.

We’re honored to be profiled in Dr. Chahine’s book on social entrepreneurship, and thought we’d share a bit more about how we relate to this growing movement. Of course, we can’t help but first invite you to give a gift to someone you love… one that brightens lives and helps change the world for the better.  That’s why we do what we do!

Social enterprise Prosperity Candle

Catalyst for Change

“Want to change the world? Invest in women.” Those where the first words spoken by our co-founder Ted Barber when recently interviewed by bizwomen.

Prosperity Candle is a social enterprise that believes in contributing to the common good, striving every day to help end poverty through beautiful design, joyous fragrances made with essential oils and artisan stories that brighten hearts and souls.

Alongside is Prosperity Catalyst , our sister nonprofit that launches and incubates women-led businesses in distressed regions, like Iraq, where creating opportunities for women to achieve economic empowerment is an essential catalyst for social and economic change.  

Every candle purchased supports the mission of both organizations.

Social Enterprise Prosperity Candle

Social Return on Investment (SROI)

Social enterprises measure the number of lives impacted through their product or service, focusing on triple-bottom-line practices that lead to economic, social and environmental success. So the return on investment is not just financial, it’s also tangibly making the world a better place. How great is that?

We’re proud that Prosperity Candle has been named a “Best for the World” B-Corp for its positive impact on artisans, communities and the environment.  It’s part of who we are, every day, right from the start.  And we endeavor to share that message through our newsletter, blog and social media – as well as in the gift box cards included with every candle that tell the story of the woman who made your candle.

Social Enterprise Prosperity Candle

Beyond Charity

We deeply believe in philanthropy, and support its ability to catalyze change. Which is why we launched a social enterprise and nonprofit together with aligned missions. But we also know from experience that to create lasting change, charity and governments alone are not enough. It’s the marketplace – consumers, businesses and investors – that has the ability to create sustainable impact.

Here at Prosperity Candle, we created a unique business model that engages all of the above, most importantly people like you. It is based on soy blend candles that can be made even in the most difficult of environments and sold locally, regionally and globally.

We train disadvantaged women to start their own, independent candle-making enterprises, with Prosperity Candle as a partner. Why? Because our mission is to create opportunities for women to build a brighter future for themselves and their families through entrepreneurship, while brightening the homes of your friends and family with beautiful candlelight and meaningful gifts.

Thank you for the incredible support you’ve given our social enterprise over the past 6 years… we’re still a small team of passionate people thinking about how we can make a difference, one woman artisan at a time.

#ProsperityCandle    #socent    #Bcorps

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

Light up her Heart on Mother’s Day!

Mother's Day

“There’s a reason some people think they can do anything, they listened to their mothers”.  – a Mother’s Day quote

Mothers are incredible. It goes without saying that we wouldn’t be here without them. But so many are unsung heroes who lend a hand to people in need, bringing them in from the cold to a bright and loving environment. With Mother’s Day approaching on May 8th, we are celebrating these women – and everyone who helps and nurtures those in need.

Moo Kho, one of our candle-makers, is an inspiring example. Having endured years in a refugee camp and being separated from her parents and siblings, she has dedicated her life to helping other families who have also lost everything. And to her daughters for whom she is providing a childhood that is brighter than the one she had.

Time with loved ones is such a precious gift. And being able to spend hours with your mom to share your dreams is in itself a dream. On Mother’s Day weekend, we’ll be closing shop here and heading to Weesie’s house with her favorite candle in hand. Weesie is another unsung hero who has helped many in need over her 78 years, never letting obstacles get in the way, always seeing the best in people. She is our co-founder Ted’s mom, a woman cherished by all.

We wish we could likewise give a candle to every mother in the world. We can’t, of course. But this year we would like to give away 5 of our unique Mother’s Day designs, hand-poured by a woman artisan for your mother, daughter, sister or friend. It’s our small way of helping to celebrate the moms in other people’s lives.

For a chance to win, simply share on facebook which of the candle moments below best reflects how you would spend time with your mom. We wish you good luck!

Tea time

Mother's DayTea and candles are a perfect match… we’ve been combining them in gifts since 2011. Plan your own mother-daughter tea party with these Tika pot candles. You’ll have a chance to finally catch up and she’ll enjoy every minute of it.

Meditation

Mother's DayMothers manage a myriad of tasks all day, every day. She deserves some time to relax. Our Liberte Pot candles come in soothing fragrances and are ideal to create a zen moment in her busy day. To be fair, fathers manage a lot, too… but we’re talking about moms here!

Sweet Tooth

Mother's Day“A mother is a person who seeing there are only three cookies for four people, promptly announces she never did care for cookies” (from a quote by Tenneva Jordan). We say no way, get more cookies! Available in all our springtime fragrances, this pink pot candle is an absolute favorite.

Flower gardening

Mother's DayA bouquet of flowers goes a long way, but why not start with a candle that repurposes as a flower pot? This earth-friendly gift will make any mom happy. It even comes with a set of wildflower seeds from our good friends at Garden Collage.

So there you have it… which one is your favorite?  Light up your Mother’s heart by clicking here to win and give her a Prosperity Candle

#MothersDay #ProsperityCandle #LightUpHerHeart

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!

International Women’s Day: Men

International Women's Day

“It’s sad to see that in this day and age, gender parity is still far from a reality in many parts of the world.” – Sir Richard Branson

Indeed. Except that it’s more than sad, and it’s not yet a reality anywhere. But it will be.

March 8th is International Women’s Day, a collective moment taken every year to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and across nations. We love it, and appreciate the businesses and organizations that ask us to create custom gifts for their IWD events.

We also love International Women’s Day because we see a huge spike in conversation about the issues we care most about and focus on throughout the year. Whether celebrating accomplishments or taking action on behalf of women’s rights, March 8th represents a powerful force for positive change in the world.

One essential part of that progress is men. It is not enough for women alone to fight for equal opportunities. Men and future men – boys learning gender roles as they grow – must actively participate. In the home, in schools, in government, and at work, play and places of worship. Everywhere.

When we travel, we see the degree to which gender inequality holds back women and girls from success, especially in education, business, media and government. Often the constraints are cultural, which is particularly tough to change. But let’s be frank. Many barriers are born of domination, fear and misogyny.

And yet, there is progress. In Saudi Arabia where women cannot open a bank account without a husband’s permission, let alone drive a car, they voted for first time in local elections this past December. For a country that is among the most repressive, this is a milestone. A human right fought for by women, supported by broadminded men.

So this year we choose to celebrate the many men across the world and all walks of life who not only believe in and support gender parity, but stand up and say so. Loud and clear.

That is why we like HeForShe so much, an organization that emphasizes equality is not just a women’s issue… it is a human issue. Because supporting equal rights and opportunities for women and girls is surely the best way to create a brighter future for all.

Visit International Women’s Day, HeForShe and UNWomen to learn more and watch inspiring videos. And be sure to share!

#IWD2016        #PledgeForParity        #HeForShe

One Billion Rising 2016

1BillionRising_3

In 2013, we participated in several of the 1 BILLION RISING events here in Massachusetts. It was powerful, meaningful and incredibly energetic. We danced. A lot.

And everyone there – women, men and kids – all of us heard the call-to-action loud and clear:  stop violence against women and girls.

Last year on Valentine’s Day we sent out an email entitled “Women are not a possession,” and it elicited many more responses than usual, mostly thank-you’s, but also questions about why we did it.

We thought we’d reiterate why this movement means so much to us. Why we are promoting their campaign and donating 10% of sales from the past few weeks.

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, and decided that investing in women would be our focus, our way of creating lasting change.

In March 2009, we were traveling to meet with our pilot project partner, Women for Women International, and on the plane started reading about the women in their programs. Women who had not only survived war, but unspeakable atrocities at the hands of men.

We landed in tears. What these women had experienced was beyond comprehension. So was their strength and resilience. Six months later, we began working with a group of these women in Baghdad.

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. Women who have lost their homes, family members, dignity… and so much more that is beyond words.

We recognize this past, but are focused on the future and doing what we can to ensure women and girls everywhere have an equal opportunity to build a better life. A big part of that is standing up for their rights, and ending violence against women and girls.

February 14th is Valentine’s Day and the worldwide event day for ONE BILLION RISING. We are incredibly inspired by this movement and Eve Ensler’s engaging approach to activism.

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

And check out HeForShe, an organization we also support:

HeForShe_Logo_Header_SupportingPartners_UseOnly_onWhite

And be sure to listen to Break The Chain, Tena Clark’s incredible anthem for ONE BILLION RISING:

Break The Chain, One Billion Rising

Breastfeeding at work – get over it

Spanish woman breastfeeds in parliament

Breastfeeding at work

Member of Parliament Carolina Bescansa brings Diego to work and, shockingly, breastfeeds him.

When will everyone – both men and women – get over it?

Pediatricians and health professionals emphasize that breastfeeding is the healthiest, most natural care a mother can give a newborn. Not every woman can or chooses to breastfeed, but why do we continue to stigmatize those that do?

This morning’s news paints a bemusing picture of Spain’s newest members of parliament arriving for work while the establishment looked on “bewildered.” Younger, more female, some biking instead of riding in limousines. A few of the men even had ponytails.

But who causes the biggest stir? Diego, a 5-month old who was not elected and therefore should not be allowed in the hallowed chambers of government. Carolina Bescansa took flak from both men and women for grabbing headlines and perpetuating the assumption that childcare is a woman’s job.

When will this nonsense stop? Spain’s 2016 parliament boasts an increase in women and minority representation, which means it more closely resembles the make-up of the country’s population than ever before. Gender parity is encouraged by requiring all parties to put forth candidate pools that are at least 40% women. Then it’s up to the people.

They voted for 39% women (compared to 20% in the U.S. Congress, despite a 51% majority in our population), which means 138 in Spain’s lower parliament, and some 90 in the Senate. Fantastic.

And if some of those 228 women have newborns and choose breast milk over formula, what should they do? Pump all day behind closed doors, excuse themselves from meetings for a nursery visit, postpone running for office?

At Prosperity Candle, we created options. How a woman and her partner manage their family life is their choice. Our job is to make it as easy as possible in the workplace. It really isn’t that hard. We have a small nursery with screens for optional privacy, and set a clear policy that welcomes babies and supports nursing mothers.

The result is no stress, no fuss. Some days a baby is here, other days infants are with the father or another caregiver. Whatever works best. It doesn’t negatively impact or change anything. In fact, it’s a non-issue.

Which is what breastfeeding should be… a non-issue. At the office, in public, anywhere. Let’s stop calling it indecent, and stop labeling women anti-progressive for nursing at work.

Just get over it.

 

 

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.

Thinking about those left behind

Iraqi women entrepreneurs not refugees

LIGHT THE WAY FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS

As the refugee situation from Syria, Jordan and Iraq reaches a critical point, communities in European Union countries and Turkey are overwhelmed, fences are going up to block the surge and anti-Muslim/immigrant sentiment rise, we are thinking about those left behind – the families who can’t or won’t leave despite the danger and hardships.

Prosperity Candle’s work in Baghdad is aimed at helping women and families who are still there under threat of violence…

Read full article by Cori Urban for The Republican, published on MassLive

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

Womens_Entrepreneurship_Day

Today is Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, a day to recognize and celebrate women entrepreneurs around the world. And, more importantly, to support them!

That is exactly what we do. That is, actually, why we exist.

Whether helping widows in Iraq to start their own candle businesses to sell in local and international markets, women in Port-au-Prince to create the first candle export cooperative in Haiti, or inviting Burmese women refugees here in the United States to join our social enterprise team – Prosperity Candle and its sister nonprofit Prosperity Catalyst were created in 2010 to empower women through entrepreneurship.

Which is why today is such a special day for everyone here, and all the women artisans we work with. Women’s Entrepreneurship Day was founded by Wendy Diamond after volunteering to help provide microcredit to low income women in Honduras. She returned to start a movement whose first day of recognition was last year on November 19, observed in over 140 countries.

We hope you’ll take a moment to celebrate the women entrepreneurs in your life, and help spread the word through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.  Be sure to use #WomenWOW.

How does Fortune Magazine describe Women’s Entrepreneurship Day? As “a global movement to celebrate and support female founders and shed light on some of their challenges… to mobilize a global network of female business owners, entrepreneurs and change makers who support and empower this community of women entrepreneurs and their businesses.”

We’ll go one step further. Women’s entrepreneurship and equal opportunity for women and girls in all aspects of life – business, education, civic leadership and more – will create a brighter future for everyone, everywhere.

More information about Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

More information about Prosperity Catalyst

More information about Prosperity Candle