Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Faces of the Green Pages

Conversations with Today's Green Business Leaders

David Gould
April 2014 —
Sunbeam Candles; Ithaca, NY

Sunbeam Candles lives up to its name. When you light one of Sunbeam's beeswax, soywax, or aromatherapy candles, you're actually bringing a little bit of sunlight inside; that's because all of the company's candles are made at their solar-powered facility in Ithaca, NY.

What's more, Sunbeam Candles always seeks the purest and most local sources of ingredients available. Their beeswax and soy wax are harvested in the United States, and they maintain a personal relationship with many local and regional beekeepers who sell Sunbeam their entire harvest each year. Their aromatherapy lines are scented with 100-percent pure essential oils, never chemical fragrances, and all of their wicks are free of lead and made from 100-percent cotton.

Green America: What does your business do and what are your most popular products?

David Gould: Sunbeam Candles uses solar power to hand-craft beautiful beeswax, soy wax and aromatherapy candles with the purest ingredients available at the least cost to Mother Earth. Our most popular products are our beeswax pillars, tapers, votives.


What makes Sunbeam Candles green?  

David: Sunbeam Candles is committed to socially responsible, environmentally-sound, ethical, and sustainable business practices to promote wellness to our customers and employees. Our candle shop is solar-powered. We compost, recycle, carpool, ship carbon-neutral, and support local businesses. We truly make earth-friendly candles!

We make all of our products in our shop in Ithaca, NY, where we reuse and recycle office paper; recycle all cardboard, plastic, and paper waste; wrap our candles in 100-percent recycled newsprint and 40-percent recycled bubble-wrap; reuse and recycle our wax; and use only 100-percent post-consumer recycled chlorine-free paper.

What did you do before you started your green business?  

David: Before starting Sunbeam Candles I toured around the United States recording and performing as electric bass player with the reggae band called John Brown’s Body.  I clocked in 700 shows in 4.5 years.  I have been crafting candles since college as an extra source of income and decided to start a green candle business once I got off the road. I have always wanted to work for myself.  I was raised in a family of entrepreneurs.



What have been the biggest challenges to social and environmental responsibility?  

David: Cost!

What's been your proudest moment as a green business owner?

David: I’m not sure if I can pick out a proudest moment but I can say that I feel great knowing every day that my business is minimizing its impact on the environment and paying employees a living wage.

What advice would you give to other social and environmental entrepreneurs just starting out?

David: Pay your employees a living wage.   


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