When we started our candle business we knew that we wanted to “give back” in some way. We are huge animal lovers so it was a natural fit to choose animal charities as our partners.
Have you ever heard the term “foster failure” in regards to cats? It’s meant as a humorous term, referring to someone who attempts to foster a cat or kitten - to get them ready for adoption (you know, to someone else), but ends up falling in love and keeping them instead. My husband and I are guilty as charged!
Let me back up a bit and explain. We originally started out with two wonderful cats, Shenna and Sam, who are both now in heaven. We missed them so much we adopted kittens from a wonderful local animal group, OCARC (Orange County Animal Rescue Coalition) who rescues them from a shelter. We became close with the group who hold adoptions at our local PetSmart every weekend. We would go in and get food and litter (and treats, of course!) and visit the kittens and cats that were up for adoption. OCARC does such a wonderful job rescuing cats and finding them homes that we wanted to do whatever we could to help out. We would give money whenever we could, but felt like we wanted to do more. OCARC is always looking for people who can foster the kittens to get them ready for adoption. Fran, who is the angel that started OCARC, talked to us about becoming fosters, and I just didn’t think we would be able to give them up. “Wouldn’t we become too attached?” I would ask. She and some of the other fosters explained that it is hard the first few times, but you know you are doing a good thing, and each one that gets adopted out gives you the opportunity to save more cats! Well, after thinking about it for a while, we (mistakenly) thought we were up for it. I won’t go into all of the details, but suffice it to say, the three kittens we fostered are still in the family! Foster Failure to the max!
A little while later, I decided to start my own company, making hand poured soy candles. As the ideas starting flowing on the concept for the company: what type of candles, wax, containers, labels, scents, etc., we knew we wanted to have a charitable component to the business model. It didn’t take us long to decide that animal charities would be the perfect fit. I mean, our company IS named after those first two cats, (Shen & Sam Co.), after all! We would continue to help our favorite animal charity, OCARC, but in a larger way because the more candles we sell, the more we are able to donate. We know a lot of people are animal lovers and have their own favorite animal charity, so our customers are able to specify when they are placing an order where the donation funds go (if they don’t have one, we default to OCARC).
I have recently started following Beth Stern (wife of Howard Stern) on social media; she is a huge advocate for cats, and quite frankly one of my new heroes. The passion and commitment she has for helping cats find homes is remarkable. Unlike my husband and me though, she and Howard are successful fosters! If you love adorable kitten pictures, her Instagram feed will make you smile every single day! I hope to someday collaborate with her in getting the word out about how the sale of each of our candles can help rescue organizations continue to do the great work they do in helping animals get ready for their forever homes!
We are still building our structure for partnering with animal charities, figuring out the best way to reach out to them, and explain how we can help them. If you have any ideas or examples of ways you’ve partnered with charities, I’d love to hear them!