When the first glassybaby was created in 1998, Lee Rhodes, glassybaby creator and founder, was raising her three small children and fighting what would become a 7-year battle with a rare form of 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. Inspired by the beauty of these elegant vessels, Lee filled them with tea lights and scattered them throughout her home. She found great hope and healing in their color, light and love.
Over the next few years, Lee learned to blow glass and create glassybaby. And as she began giving them to others, glassybaby was born. Eventually she searched out local glass blowers to assist her with the production so that she could spread the light of glassybaby. To Lee, they represented “that deep breath that we often forget to take.”
In 2003, glassybaby opened its first retail store. Today, the Madrona neighborhood of Seattle is home to the company’s main store and studio, where a team of dedicated glassblowers produces an average of 500 glassybaby daily. The company also has stores in Seattle’s University Village; in Bellevue, Washington; and in New York’s West Village at 555 Hudson.
To honor those who have walked down her same path, Lee established glassybaby goodwill, which remains the company’s foundation and mission. During her cancer treatment, Lee met many other patients who could not afford even daily needs such as bus fare, childcare, or groceries. Today, much of the money donated by glassybaby goes directly toward meeting those basic needs. Each year, the company spreads hope by supporting charities dedicated to health, healing, and quality of life.
As each glassybaby leaves the door, Lee, reflecting on her own journey, knows that it will play a part of light, beauty and healing in a new story.