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Non-profit sheds light on green initiatives

Nicholas Pavlik / Lantern reporter

One sweltering summer night in August 2010, four best friends sat around the table of a local neighborhood bar discussing what could be done with an acquired supply of old candle-making materials. It all came to fruition with one simple question.

How could you make a candle company cool?

It was then that Candle With A Cause ignited.

The company — founded by Daniel Kim, an Ohio State College of Medicine graduate, Kani Brown, an OSU College of Optometry graduate, along with Dave Colina and Thomas Dann, both OSU Fisher College of Business graduates — sells environmentally-friendly candles with 25 percent of the proceeds going to local charities.

“We felt that Columbus was a great place for philanthropy and that there were a lot of good causes and people willing to put the time and energy forward to support them,” Kim said. “We’ve always had a heart for giving back, and for social awareness and activism, but we’ve never had an outlet (for) it. We didn’t want it to be ours as much as we wanted it to be for the city.”

Every aspect of the company is green. From the relationships to the product, it’s all an organic process.

Initially the candle containers were crafted from used wine bottles that the company collected from local restaurants. The soy wax and cotton soy wicks used to construct the candles are purchased from a local market.

“The vision was to create an environmentally-friendly product,” Brown said. “We enjoy wine, so we are no strangers to how many wine bottles there are available around the city. By upcycling the used wine bottles, we are cutting down on the cost and resources of recycling, and making something out of them to light people’s homes to increase the awareness of a charity.”

The company is expanding and is now partners with Eartha Limited, a company focused on contemporary environment solutions, to source the wine bottles the company needs and to share its warehouse space for production.

Brown said they want to develop solid partnerships with charities and organizations that have a lasting impression on the people who get involved.

Since last year, the company has reached out to four causes: Pets Without Parents, The Jack Roth Fund, Pelotonia and Flying Horse Farms, their most recent partnership kicking off this fall.

Maren Roth, founder of The Jack Roth Fund and owner of Rowe Botique, a Short North fashion boutique, said she always likes to be part of new ventures, and the idea of promoting local organizations with a good message in an interesting way was what got her hooked.

“I love that it is a local grassroots business effort that was started by some really caring individuals,” Roth said. “I think it’s a unique way to help raise awareness for small non-profits.”

Candle With A Cause doesn’t have any consistent retailers, as they change them on a monthly basis. Customers get an updated list of local retailers on their website and within a month, will be able to purchase them directly from their website.

Kim says meeting so many socially conscious people who are interested in elevating Columbus’ charities has been one of the most rewarding parts of building the company.

“We want to be defined as a company that is doing something meaningful,” Kim said. “We want to be known for making the most of our time by helping our community and the people that live in it.”

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