It began with light. The glassybaby founder Lee Rhodes was fighting her third battle with cancer and raising her three small children when the first glassybaby was created in 1998. She was searching for peace and calm and found it when she dropped a tea light in a handmade votive. The color and light helped her slow down and take that deep breath we all forget to take. Lee opened a glassblowing studio and glassybaby was born.
When Lee was cancer-free, her friends and family began asking her to create more glassybaby. She opened a glassblowing studio and the company grew, through word of mouth. People gave them as gifts of love, celebration, consolation, and joy.
"glassybaby allow people to take that 30 seconds of peace and calm to find healing,” Lee says. “They still mean to other people what they meant to me. I feel joy that we have created something that touches so many people."
From the beginning, goodwill has been the foundation of glassybaby. Lee remembers meeting patients in waiting rooms who could not afford day-to-day costs like bus fare and groceries during chemotherapy. glassybaby has donated more than $1.4 million from sales to charities mostly dedicated to meeting those needs that are not covered by health insurance.
glassybaby are handmade by artists in 400+ colors at a Seattle studio seven days a week. It takes four artists to create each unique glassybaby.
glassybaby is now an $8 million a year business with three Seattle area stores, a New York City store and an active web store. Sales have been up 30-50% each year since 2009. The more glassybaby we sell, the more money we donate to charities.
Lee was named Entrepreneur of 2011 by Entrepreneur magazine. She is the first woman to receive the honor and was chosen from thousands of applicants nationally.
And as each glassybaby leaves the door, Lee, reflecting on her own journey, knows that it will play a part of light, beauty, and healing in a new story.