The founder of Seattle-based Glassybaby is bringing her story of inspiration Sunday to Tacoma.
Glassybabys are hand-blown votive candle holders that retail for $40. The colorful handcrafted glass candleholders have boomed in popularity in recent years, and Lee Rhodes — the Seattle woman who started the company — has risen to national prominence as an entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Rhodes will tell her story in Tacoma starting at 5 p.m. Sunday at The Swiss Pub. Rhodes, who was named Entrepreneur of 2011 by Entrepreneur magazine, founded Glassybaby about 10 years ago during one of her bouts with cancer, and now a portion of her company’s profits are donated to cancer-related charities.
Ten percent of the sales from Sunday’s event, at 1904 Jefferson Ave., will benefit MultiCare’s Mary Bridge Children’s Foundation and MultiCare’s Health Foundation’s Oncology Helping Hands Fund.
In 1998, Rhodes battled a rare lung cancer. “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,” the Glassybaby website says.
She placed a tea light in a homemade glass cup and was inspired and comforted by its beauty.
The first retail store opened about nine years ago, the website says. About 500 glass candleholders now are created each day at the company’s Madrona studio.
Rhodes said she hopes people who hear her story are inspired to pursue their own passions.
“Find something you value and be evangelical about it,” she said. “Your life will be richer.”Sara Schilling of the Tri-City Herald and staff writer Kathleen Cooper contributed to this report.