About the Artisan: Open Arms Studio, Austin, Texas, USA

vegan. clean ingredients. fair trade. hand poured.

artisan partner refugee studio austin texas usa open arms studio women do good shop

Our parter organization, Matr Boomie, is passionate about supporting people from marginalized communities both in India and in their local community in Austin, Texas.

Kandu began with the mission of creating a product line which would bring joy to our customers as well as help provide dignified work for people in need in our community in Austin, Texas. Launching Kandu has given us the opportunity to partner with Open Arms Studio, a woman-led, all female studio that provides dignified, living wage work and life skills training to a team of skilled makers from the refugee community who have resettled in Austin. They employ a diverse group of refugees, asylees and immigrants, to produce high-quality ethical products. Currently, the team members are from Burma, Afghanistan, and Syria and mostly made up of refugee mothers, who are all makers.The makers at Open Arms Studio hand pour our soy candles in their studio using unique fragrance blends that we formulated ourselves.

Our design team at Matr Boomie formulated a line of signature scent candles. It was important to us to source single-note, clean fragrance oils from which we could create our own unique scents, using only ingredients that our customers could feel good about using. For that reason, we also use 100% soy wax and cotton wicks. Our signature line also includes seasonal scents. 

Believe it or not, much of the candle making process is quite scientific and math oriented and requires precise measurements and temperature control. Our designers worked closely with the staff and maker group at Open Arms Studio to educate and train them in the candle making process so that they feel confident in their ability to produce high quality candles. 

As with our artisan makers groups in India, Open Arms Studio is grateful for long term partnerships and projects like Kandu which provide ongoing, stable economic opportunities for the community of makers they work with. While this is their first time making candles, they are delighted by the opportunity and making beautiful things with their hands is what they like to do best as makers. Here is one quote from Maria about the overall work of new partnerships like this, “I have been working for Open Arms Studio for four years and now the most exciting thing is taking on a new project. If we just stay home we don’t learn. We work here and we learn something, and we have to support our family."

Read more about Open Arms Studio here!