It began with light. 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. Inspired by the beauty of these elegant, handmade vessels, Lee filled them with tea lights and scattered them throughout her house. She found great hope and healing in their color, light and love. She wanted to inspire others. She hired artists to make more and glassybaby was born.
When Lee was cancer free, her friends and family began asking her to create more glassybaby so that they, too, could share their light and joy. The company grew, through word of mouth, friend to friend. 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. “I see people who come into glassybaby who are hurting. 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, Lee made goodwill the foundation of glassybaby. She remembers meeting patients in waiting rooms who could not afford day-to-day costs like bus fare and groceries during chemotherapy. She wanted to help them. To date, glassybaby has donated more than $1.25 million from sales to charities dedicated to meeting those needs.
Today, glassybaby is an $8 million a year business with three Seattle area stores and a growing web store. More than 70 glass artists work seven days a week at a Seattle studio to create glassybaby that are shipped all over the world. Lee says, “ The more glassybaby we sell, the more money we give away to charities helping people.”
glassybaby customers love to give these enduring gifts to others. They mix and match from more than 400 unique glassybaby colors. They understand what Lee’s son Hector wrote about glassybaby, when he was only twelve years old: “Whatever your mood, glassybaby can keep your home inviting and full of spirit.”
“I love being a caretaker for such a simple and authentic product with an honest mission,” says Lee.
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.