Last week handmade glasswares company glassybaby opened its second-ever hot shop–this one in Berkeley, California–to augment its Seattle glassblowing headquarters. The 13,000-square-foot space accommodates 65 glassblowers making the brand’s signature votive candle holders (called glassybaby) and drinking cups (called drinkers). And the warehouse-style space has room left over for a glassybaby store as well as an event space that is fit to accommodate 200 guests and has a commercial kitchen. The hot shop is open daily to visitors wanting a close-up view of live glassblowing.
Seattle-based glassybaby is committed to supporting local economies; as the company grows in California, so does its commitment to local communities. Its new West Berkeley hot shop was designed by Berkeley native Matt Stromberg, with custom lighting by Berkeley’s Metro Lighting, construction by Oliver & Company in Richmond, California, and custom woodwork made from discarded bleachers from Cal Memorial Stadium.
Above: glassybaby come in more than 400 colors. Photograph by Sarah Alba for glassybaby.
glassybaby founder Lee Rhodes puts “purpose above profit” and donates 10 percent of all sales to select nonprofits. Bay Area beneficiaries include the San Francisco VA Health Care System, Children’s Hospital Oakland, and Glide Memorial Church.
Above: With the opening of the Berkeley hot shop, all glassybaby are now made in either Seattle or Berkeley. Each glassybaby is blown by hand and requires the attention of four individual makers.
glassybaby’s nonprofit contributions total more than $3.5 million to date. Says Rhodes: “Our values as a company are to be kind to the environment, to help where the need is greatest, and to bring a little light, color, and kindness to the world.”
Each glassybaby color has a dedicated charity beneficiary. For example, the purchase of color “kindness” sends 10 percent of proceeds to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco. (For more on glassybaby colors and their matching beneficiaries, see glassybaby’s Power of Giving.) Photograph by Sarah Alba.
Above: happy hour, one of the company’s best-selling drinkers, with a mix of true blue, peace, and turquoise glassybaby. Ten percent from the sale of each drinker will be donated to the San Francisco VA Health Care System.
The glassybaby Berkeley hot shop at 745 Heinz St. is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.