While battling cancer in the late nineties with three small children, Lee Rhodes suggested glassblowing classes to her stressed-out husband. He began bringing home colorful votives that she would illuminate with tea lights around the house. Inspired by their handmade beauty and sense of calm, she, too, enrolled in a class and started making them. As friends — and friends of friends — continued to make gift requests, Rhodes officially founded glassybaby in 2001. The company has since grown to include over 30 glassblowers, four stores in Rhodes’ home state of Washington, and a new shop right here in the West Village.
How can you build a business on candle votives?? Stop by glassybaby’s Hudson Street outpost and you’ll see. Occupying the ground floor of a historic townhouse, the shop emanates a quiet, warm beauty that envelopes you like a hug. Rows of glassybaby in over 300 hues flicker around the space, each one handcrafted at the Seattle workshop. They can be used as vessels or little vases — and there’s a recent line of drinking glasses — but a glassybaby is most spectacular when lit, revealing its unique color formation and glow. We want, like, a hundred of them! They’re perfect for outdoor spaces, dinner party settings, home décor…or for someone who’s just feeling a little down.
Knowing that five percent of glassybaby’s gross goes toward charity is also uplifting. There are even designated colors that directly benefit local and national orgs contributing to cancer patient care and research. glassybaby has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars already. After beating cancer three times over seven years, Rhodes wants glassybaby to help others shine, too.