“I have an obsession with fire,” Kristin Purcell reveals while working inside her Estero home that has also morphed into the headquarters for her online boutique, HENRO. “There’s something about a fire, like a warm campfire surrounded by friends and family, that brings me back to basics.”
HENRO—an e-retailer for consciously created home goods and gifts—was born out of several aspirations, including Kristin’s desire to burn a candle free of toxins. She developed a formula devoid of the typical, harsh ingredients found in candles, like petroleum-based wax, phthalates and carcinogens. With a little-to-no background in candlemaking, Kristin took more than a year to perfect her nontoxic, soy-based candle—a product that has become one of HENRO’s bestsellers since the company was founded five years ago.
The success of the candle and other made-in-America home goods propelled the mother of preschooler Henry Robert, her company’s namesake, to leave a 13-year career in corporate America. “Early in our establishment, I realized that I enjoyed working with makers and small shops, and made that our mission,” Kristin says. She now curates and commissions handmade stoneware, sustainably sourced textiles and designer lighting for her shop. A proponent of mindful consumerism and conscientious living, Kristin and her husband, Evan, look to instill intentional consumption not just in their customers, but also in their young son. “It’s always on my mind in business and life in general,” she says. “I’m always thinking, ‘How do I leave the Earth similar or better than when I was here?’”
Part of the Purcell family’s sustainable efforts includes working on the “little and easy things,” like limiting the amount of energy and resources the family uses. She encourages Henry to turn the lights off when leaving a room and to never leave the water running. The family often shops at local farmers markets to support the community and lower their carbon footprint by transporting their produce to shorter distances. When the family is shopping, the Purcells take a few extra minutes to read product labels and ask questions, like ‘How sustainable is the packaging? What are the company’s production practices?’ “We often go to a farm or pumpkin patch where we get to see the food we’re eating,” Kristin says. “Hopefully, that teaches Henry his food comes from somewhere other than a grocery store, that it’s rooted in the Earth and a network of dedicated people who nurture it to life. When he learns where it comes from, he begins to get a deeper connection to the planet.”
She also encourages her family to reuse everyday products, whether it’s a cardboard box, packing paper or a HENRO candle. “I take the wax out, and plant something nice inside,” she says. “It can become a cute gift.”
She’s also inspired to support emerging and middle-career artisans. The online boutique is stocked with berry bowls, bath brushes, terracotta planters and cotton tea towels handmade by American artisans. During a 2018 trip to North Carolina, Kristin was inspired by a pottery piece she discovered at a local store. The small, charming vessel with its smooth edges had the potential to fill so many homes with joy, she thought. So she contacted the artisan directly and turned the maker’s hobby into a career, by having her sell directly through HENRO. From there, Kristin says she started seeking makers—many of whom have a minimal business background—to partner with them to sell their work through her platform. “It feels good to support small business owners and their dreams,” she says.