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Pride Candle Company: The flame that fuels change

If you attended a Bulls, Blackhawks or Bucks game this season – or were one of the millions of fans who watched a game on tv – you saw BMO translate our sponsorships of those teams into a marketing opportunity for independently owned businesses in Chicago and Milwaukee who are giving back to their communities. The aim was to give exposure for business owners who have broken down barriers to reach the success they have today.

One of the six inspiring business clients from the BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ communities was Pride Candle Company, located in Chicago.

For business owner Tim O’Keefe, Pride Candle Company was born out of his two passions – hand crafting candles and supporting the LGBTQ+ community.

“The goal of Pride Candle is to make great products and giving back to the LGBTQ+ community,” says Tim, who created the business to leverage his professional love of fragrance and candle making to advance equity and inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community.

Every quarter Pride Candle Company selects a different charitable partner and 10 per cent of their proceeds go to the amazing work that they’re doing for the community. “I know how important dollars are to those organizations, so it’s a little bit of extra motivation to what we do everyday.” The Pride Candle Company has donated to Equality Illinois, Lamda Legal and Athlete Ally. Plus, Tim only partners with vendors and retailers who are LGBTQ+ allies. 

When Pride Candle Company first started, Tim had to wake up every day and delete hate messages. He was amazed that people would spend that kind of energy on negativity and hate. But that’s what motivates him to be kinder, and to try and be that bright light in the world.

“For me, success is being the flame that fuels change, and having our products help organizations that really need it,” he reflects.

Since it’s beginnings almost two years ago, Pride Candle Company has now expanded to a collection of eleven hand-crafted candles inspired by the rainbow flag.

“Candles are a great way for people to showcase their Pride, to brighten up someone’s day, or just brighten up a space,” finishes Tim.

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