Incorporating philanthropic approaches into business yields several benefits and opportunities. Various business leaders worldwide are fusing philanthropy into their business ideals to establish a positive outlook of their brand image or company.
“I decided I could insert my love for philanthropy into whatever I created,” asserts Holly Singer (Founder of Milk Jar Candle Company Inc.). Holly firmly believes it is her human duty to use the company’s platform, voice, and revenue to uplift those who need a helping hand. With her inclusive team and work of the partnered non-profits, she has successfully created a positive culture that serves as a source of inspiration for her.
From her early education background and career working in a non-profit and privately for families, Holly harbored great passion for supporting people with disabilities. She dreamt of becoming an Occupational Therapist and continuing on her path to help children connect, grow and feel a great sense of belonging. Due to certain challenges, Holly was unable to pursue her dream. However, she was determined to fulfill her life’s purpose and decided she could incorporate her philanthropic ideals into her business. Currently, Holly envisions Milk Jar to become an example of a business that employs all people and is successful because every single person has value and strengths to offer.
Creating Impacts with Business
In 2016, Milk Jar was launched with the ideology based around clean-burning candles and a more organic and healthier alternative to most candles on the market. The company asserts exclusivity with
- Materials for creating affordable luxury products;
- Zero-waste jar return program;
- Dedication to providing quality paraffin-free coconut soy candles.
The company’s donation program serves as a solution to the market. Inspired by Holly’s previous goals, Milk Jar has donated $1 from each candle sale to Canadian non-profit organizations to fund resources for those in the community since the beginning. Her drive to create a healthier alternative to the standard candle market, and offer aid to the community has helped bring Milk Jar to where it currently is.
Ensuring Mutual Growth
The current expansion of the team has helped Holly gain more time to focus on her preferred areas about Milk Jar—creating new scents and teaching candle making. The company offers custom scents and candle creation for other companies. Holly is also fond of teaching others to connect with their creative side by running scent blending and candle-making workshops out of the company’s candle factory. Along with Milk Jar’s growth, Holly ensures the team’s growth to make sure that she is doing the things that drew her to start making candles in the first place.
Milk Jar has earned several accolades due to its business and philanthropy approaches. In 2019, it was awarded the DEAM Award for disability employment awareness month. In 2020, Holly was enlisted as one of Alberta Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 under 40.
Promoting Inclusivity and Diversity
Milk Jar’s team includes a diverse and unique group of people. With a creative and motivated marketing team and highly skilled production team, its staff is equipped to fulfill all needs of the company. In 2020, the company partnered with Gateway Alberta to explore inclusive hiring. Currently, one-third of its staff are people with disabilities—enabling Milk Jar to push against the stigma of inclusive employment.
Each team member is trained in communication and accountability, allowing them to excel in their role and grow into other parts. To maintain motivation and encouragement, Milk Jar hosts ASL training, monthly staff meeting workshops with an Occupational Therapist, with daily check-ins and communal lunches in its shared office space.
Holistic Response to Increasing Demands
In response to the increase in sales during the pandemic, the team of Milk Jar expanded for meeting demand and manufacturing more products. The company transformed its marketing style and used digital approaches due to the closure of retail spaces and markets.
Additionally, it added a membership program, allowing people monthly delivery of candles at their doorstep. As the team grew, the company also introduced more roles and responsibilities—to provide support to Milk Jar for leveraging more opportunities.
Holly’s Views on Women Business Leadership
What are your opinions on women business leadership? How are you trying to make an impact with your business?
I see several women as business leaders, being regarded for their strength, tenacity and knowledge in their fields. I started Milk Jar out of my home with no business partner or financial support, only a drive to turn my passion for candle-making into a business with a greater purpose of supporting the disability community and inclusive employment. What we do at Milk Jar is much more than the products we sell—it is all about how we can make a positive impact in the lives of others.
How do you focus on surpassing the challenges presented to you?
I lean on my incredible team to work through the challenges we face, and draw their thoughts and expertise as we are a family at Milk Jar. Everyone cares about the common goal of creating inviting spaces at Milk Jar.
Is the business sector welcoming for women? According to you, what are the necessary skills to thrive as a business leader?
In my experience of starting and growing a successful business I feel like I have been welcomed with open arms in the community. Between speaking and mentoring opportunities to new entrepreneurs, to collaborating with large companies, I am regarded as a leader for women entrepreneurs. I believe it is my decisiveness and trust in myself that has led me to thrive in the business world.
Read full Magazine: The 10 Revolutionary Business Leaders, 2023