Now that I have begun covering gifts again as Trends Editor for Gift Shop Magazine, I’m getting to work more closely with companies like Bridgewater Candle Company. In Atlanta I got a tour of their gorgeous showroom — and as a follow-up to that meeting, I was pleasantly surprised one day to receive a huge box of their dazzling, clean-burning candles on my doorstep.
All their product is enticing, but I am most enamored of Bridgewater’s Mingle collection, as the idea of exquisitely designed and fragrant product coupled with a great cause is irresistible to me. New this season, the range is a vibrant extension of Bridgewater’s Light a Candle Feed a Child program, created in partnership with Rice Bowls, a non-profit organization whose mission is to feed and nurture orphaned children worldwide.
Together they combat the ugly fact that there are nearly 163 million orphaned children worldwide, and every two seconds one dies of malnutrition. Through the program, one jar candle feeds one child for one day — and there is no cap placed on the program. Since it began, Bridgewater is proud to have been able to provide over 4 million meals to children in 50 orphanages throughout the world.The Mingle collection hinges on stylish patterns and fun fragrance pairings, with designs that are hip, vibrant and playfully chic. Each of its five fragrances are available in five distinct design themes for a total of 25 new options. This is especially appealing to retailers wanting to make a certain style statement, e.g., florals or geometrics.
Fragrance pairings include: Afternoon Retreat, Tickled Pink, Sweet Grace, White Cotton and Open Road — and they are just as aromatic in person as they sound. The Light a Candle Feed a Child information is detailed on the bottom of each tin with a photo and info about one child impacted by the program, and the number of meals each tin provides (three) is chicly embossed on the underside of each candle tin lid.This is about much more than just selling candles to Bridgewater. Employees take pride in every detail, from trimming candle wicks to tying hangtags, because to them every candle represents the life of an orphaned child. Each candle created and sold means another day that Barnabas in India or Mafuna in Haiti goes without hunger.
Each year the company takes a group of sales reps, employees and authorized dealers on Bridgewater Brand Experience trips to the orphanages. Trips included Haiti in 2011, Honduras in 2012, Nicaragua in fall 2013 and Honduras in 2014. They usually include delivering much needed supplies to the orphanage, doing service projects and spending ample time loving and getting to know the children.
These trips are a favorite of Bridgewater Candle Company President, Bob Caldwell, Jr. Over and over again he sees members of the group making a special bond or attachment with one of the children. Upon returning home, the person selling or making the candles is now doing it for the child they shared that special bond with, making their jobs a little sweeter.
“Life changing does not even begin to describe our trip,” said Beth Boyink, Schuler Books & Music’s gift buyer. “I saw so many things that my worst imagination had not prepared me for, but I am a better person for having seen them. Experiencing the love and joy of the orphanage showed me first-hand how the simple act of selling a candle can make a difference in a child’s life. I move forward knowing that awareness calls for responsibility.”
Each Mingle tin is $20, and you can shop the whole lovely line here. Thank you Bridgewater for making a big difference in such a beautiful way!