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A typical glassybaby.

glassybaby is a private company based in Seattle, Washington founded by award-winning entrepreneur Lee Rhodes. Its primary product is a handmade glass votive, also known as a "glassybaby", produced in more than four hundred colors and sold over the internet and through a few retail stores in the Seattle area and San Francisco. Their tagline is "one of a kindness." The company donates money from sales to charities helping cancer patients with costs during chemotherapy, and other charities "dedicated to healing".[1][2]


In 1995, at the age of 32, Lee Rhodes was stricken with a third round of a rare form of lung cancer. The mother of three had previously given her then husband, Emery Rhodes, glass blowing lessons, and he created small glass cups, or "baby glasses", which she would light with tea light candles to find solace during the difficult cancer treatments.[3] Encouraged by the demand from her friends, Rhodes hired local glassblowers in 1998 to produce more glassybaby, and began selling them out of her garage. From the beginning, Rhodes wanted to spread hope and give back money from sales to help cancer patients.[4]

"glassybaby allow people to take that 30 seconds of peace and calm to find healing," says Rhodes, "I see people who come into glassybaby hurting. They still mean to other people what they meant to me. I feel joy that we created something that touches so many people."[5]

The company was officially founded in 2001. In 2003, Rhodes set up a glassblowing studio in Seattle’s old Vitamilk Dairy building, since demolished.[6]

In September 2005, Rhodes appeared with Martha Stewart on her television show. Sales, which had reportedly been averaging about 4 a day, leaped to 400, and although the surge slowed somewhat, the impact on the glassybaby business was tremendous.[7]

In 2007, glassybaby moved to a studio and retail shop in Seattle’s Madrona neighborhood.[8]

In 2008, Lee Rhodes was the Nellie Cashman Woman Business Owner of the Year.[9] This award is given by Woman Business Owners, a Puget Sound organization for women entrepreneurs, in the name of Irish nurse and gold prospector Nellie Cashman. In 2011, Rhodes was honored with the "It's Always Something Award" by Gilda's Club New York City for all of her work to help cancer patients. She was given the award at a ceremony at The Plaza Hotel in New York City.[10]

In 2009, glassybaby opened retail outlets in Seattle’s University District,[11] Bellevue,[12] and New York City.[13]

Also in 2009, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos purchased a 22 percent stake in glassybaby. A spokeswoman for Bezos suggested that he was passionate about the product, and thought the company, which grossed over $2 million in 2008, could eventually reach the $100 million mark in sales.[6]

In 2011, glassybaby hired Greg Huey from the Alliance of Angels as President and COO.[14]

In 2012, glassybaby closed their retail outlet in New York City. The store had been the subject of a New York Times case study, which detailed the difficulties experienced by the store.[15]

In 2013, glassybaby opened a retail outlet in San Francisco's Presidio Heights neighborhood.[16] The company was also reportedly in negotiations to lease space for a glassblowing studio in the Presidio.[17]

In 2015, the company made a major push into the Bay Area, opening their first California hot shop in Berkeley, a 13,000 square-foot workshop and retail space. glassybaby also opened retail stores in Palo Alto's Stanford Shopping Center, the San Francisco Ferry Building, and on Union Street near Fillmore in the Marina district.[18]

Charitable giving[edit]

Owner Lee Rhodes remembers meeting patients in chemo waiting rooms who could not afford day to day basic needs during treatment. She wanted to help. From the beginning, glassybaby has donated money from sales, not profits, to charities dedicated to meeting those needs for patients. By October, 2017, glassybaby had donated more than $8,000,000 to 400 different charities.[19]

Some of the charities where glassybaby donates money are the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, University of Washington Medical Center, Gilda's Club New York City, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, The Humane Society of the United States, and Conservation International.[20][19]


The original glassybaby is a glass votive, roughly 2.5" in diameter and 3.75" tall, although significant variation occurs due to the fact that each is handmade. It takes 12–14 minutes for each glassybaby to be made by a team of glass artists. glassybaby are created by a team of 70 plus artists seven days a week at the company's Madrona studio in more than 400 colors. Each glassybaby has a unique name like frog hunting, hope, joy, wet dog, wings and sorry.[21]

glassybaby also manufactures a slightly larger and thinner glass vessel, known as a "drinker", sold in the "accessories" section of their website. Ten percent of each drinker sale is donated to the Seattle Division of V.A. Puget Sound to support veterans battling cancer.[22]


  1. ^ "CEO: Giving money away helps company grow". CBS News. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  2. ^ "Seattle-based company glassybaby reaches goal of $2 million in giving to charities dedicated to healing". PRNewsWire. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  3. ^ "Small Retail: It's the inner glow that sells handblown Glassybabys" Seattle Post Intelligencer 2/15/2008
  4. ^ "Lee Rhodes Member Profile". AHALife. Retrieved 25 September 2014. From the beginning, Glassybaby had the mission to donate money from sales to help patients with those costs, so they could find healing.
  5. ^ "glassybaby". Bozzi Media. Archived from the original on 17 November 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2014. glassybaby allow people to take that 30 seconds of peace and calm to find healing," Lee says. "I feel joy that we have created something that touches so many people.
  6. ^ a b "Glassybaby grows with a little help from Jeff Bezos". Seattle Times. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Seattle artist turns a simple design for candleholders into hot décor". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  8. ^ "From Cancer Patient to a Multimillion-Dollar Beacon of Hope". Entrepreneur Magazine. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  9. ^ "The 2008 WBO Nellie Cashman Finalists" WomanBusinessOwners website
  10. ^ "A business that shines a good light"
  11. ^ “Glassybaby opens University Village Location” NWSource 5/19/2009 Archived May 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ “Glassybaby finds new home in Old Main” Bellevue Reporter 10/15/2009
  13. ^ “The Flicker of a New Store” New York Times 10/15/2009
  14. ^ "Greg Huey catches ‘startup bug,’ departs Alliance of Angels for Glassybaby" Geekwire 9/2/2011
  15. ^ "Seattle Firm Struggles in the Biggest Market" New York Times 9/29/2011
  16. ^ "Glassybaby's Lee Rhodes lights the way in S.F." San Francisco Gate 11/8/2013
  17. ^ "Glassybaby is among 3 signing Presidio leases" San Francisco Gate 12/18/2013
  18. ^ "glassybaby Opens Glass Blowing Hot Shop In Berkeley" The Business Journals 9/29/2015
  19. ^ a b "Glassybaby expands into Southern California – East Coast is next". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  20. ^ "glassybaby: Gifts that Give Back". glassybaby. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  21. ^ Gallagher, BJ. "glassybaby Lights up the World, One Tea Light at a Time". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  22. ^ Yeotsas, Christina. "6 Products with a Charitable Purpose". Real Simple. Retrieved June 15, 2015.

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