A new candle-making business in Durango is offering homeless residents the chance to earn a day’s wages and work references.
Solutions. Public Benefit Corp. was founded by Joslin Roderick in October to help tackle homelessness by putting money in the pockets of people who need it, helping them develop job skills and giving them a sense of social connection, Roderick said. Solutions workers earn $14 an hour plus lunch, or an extra $7 stipend to buy a meal.
Roderick founded the company on the idea that business can create positive change and help solve social problems, she said.
“Business itself can change the structures that are causing issues,” Roderick said.
Roderick learned how businesses can help spur social change as a student at Fort Lewis College in the peace studies program, which examines how to make societies healthier, she said.
Examples of for-profit businesses that have embraced social missions include Toms Shoes, a shoe company, and Warby Parker, a prescription eyeglasses company, she said. Toms Shoes gives away a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes sold, and Warby Parker gives away a pair of glasses for every pair of glasses it sells.
Businesses with social missions empower consumers to support social change through their purchasing choices, Roderick said.
“As we continue to support new social business structures that are good for everybody, then our entire world gets better,” Roderick said.
Solutions is making candles in the basement of Adventure Christian Church and expects to expand to handmade home goods, body goods and food, Roderick said.
As of Friday, the business has employed six residents who were referred to the company through Community Compassion Outreach, a nonprofit working on solutions to end homelessness.
Roderick said she would like to see the business grow in the same way other well-known brands launched in Durango have, such as Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and GitPrime.
“We need to care about and create new business structures and opportunities that work for everybody,” Roderick said.
Solutions is seeking additional start-up funding for supplies and payroll. To give to the company, visit GoFundMe.com/candles-with-a-cause.