Glassybaby founder, Lee Rhodes: An Example of the "The New Normal"?
On Friday, April 6th, 2012, Seattle CityClub is bringing business leaders and community members together for a forum entitled "A Tale of Two Economies: Finding the New Normal." We’ll be discussing the two disparate economic realities businesses are experiencing: while some sectors are hiring and expanding, others are shedding jobs and cutting back.
In addition to discussing how struggling individuals and companies can stay afloat, we’ll be examining “the new normal.” Is part of "the new normal" creating a new path to and definition of success?
Enter panelist Lee Rhodes.
Lee Rhodes is the creator and founder of glassybaby, a company which creates handmade glass vessels, typically used as candle holders. Rhodes created the concept of her company while fighting a seven year battle with a rare form of lung cancer.
As her company’s website explains, “She had endured surgery, countless rounds of chemotherapy, and was searching for a few moments of serenity to escape the fear that encompassed her life. Inspired by the beauty of these elegant vessels, Lee filled them with tea lights and scattered them throughout her home. She found great hope and healing in their color, light and love.” Rhodes wanted to provide people facing their own battles with a similar experience. And thus, glassybaby was born.
“From the beginning, the company was all about giving money right off the top,” Rhodes recently told OPEN Forum. “It wasn’t about the product, it was about giving back. We still believe in that mission to this day.” To date, glassybaby has donated more than eight hundred and seventy thousand dollars from sales to charities dedicated to “health, healing and quality of life.”
For more information on how Rhodes might represent "the new normal,” check out these snippets from OPEN Forum’s March 1, 2012 article, “Turning Misfortune into Success.”
Why do you think glassybaby has such a loyal following?
It’s because I’m not selling a product. I have a vehicle that when you put a candle in, it makes you calm and happy. It formulates a 30-second part of your day that you can fill with goodwill and positive energy and simple thoughts, and we don’t have a lot of that in our lives. I also think I am selling an experience. People love and want to touch it and be part of it. We are selling a memory builder, a life experience and a simple kind of magic that gets to the heart of your heart. I don’t think many companies do that.
What accounts for your impressive growth numbers?
It’s all word of mouth. We grow organically. Our customers are sisters and brothers and uncles and fathers of people who’ve experienced glassybaby.
What advice can you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Stick to your mission. Even in the years we didn’t make money, we gave away revenue… Sticking to our mission has really helped throughout the years.
To hear Rhodes speak more about her experience as an entrepreneur in a time of two economies, register for our April 6th event today!