Things to do in San Francisco: Behind-the-scenes artisan tour of Glassybaby studio

We recently discovered the inspired experiences company IfOnly. They offer unique and engaging experiences that connect you with interesting people and places that you wouldn't normally have access to. We love it because of all the cool outdoor experiences they offer: personalized yoga on a city rooftop, wilderness survival training with a bonafide expert, sunset seaplane tours...outdoor adventures galore! And in today's modern world full of too many things and stuff that clutter our lives, we find it refreshing to indulge in an experience rather than a shopping trip. In fact, studies show that people are more gratified in life when they collect experiences, not things!

 We began the tour in the retail section of the space and admired the many shades of glassybaby!

We began the tour in the retail section of the space and admired the many shades of glassybaby!

A few weeks ago we checked out the IfOnly site and found we were really drawn to all the fascinating artisan behind-the-scenes tours and lessons they offer. Because of their commitment to giving back (a portion of every IfOnly purchase is donated to charity!) and our recent obsession with setting the perfect outdoor table, we jumped at the chance to meet the makers of glassybaby candle holders.

Located in Berkeley, glassybaby's studio is a second location (headquarters are in Seattle) added just recently to handle increased demand for their products. Thanks to IfOnly, we got a private tour of their 13,000 square foot facility during production hours to see the glass candle holders in various stages of production. Each glassybaby is heated in a 2,300 degree oven, handblown, and requires the attention of four individual makers. Seeing this entire process of glassblowing up close was such a thrill. It makes you appreciate the glass votives that much more. We snapped some pictures all along the tour to show you the process glass goes through to become a glassybaby!

 The first step in the making of a glassybaby is to take a glass color rod and heat it with clear glass for shaping a votive.

The first step in the making of a glassybaby is to take a glass color rod and heat it with clear glass for shaping a votive.

 Our lovely tour guide opens the furnace to show us how hot it gets. 2300 degrees is hot, people!

Our lovely tour guide opens the furnace to show us how hot it gets. 2300 degrees is hot, people!

 Step 2 in the process is to shape the glassybaby into its classic round shape. This glassworker is using an iron cup and water to shape and cool the votive.

Step 2 in the process is to shape the glassybaby into its classic round shape. This glassworker is using an iron cup and water to shape and cool the votive.

 Step 3 involves a more refined process of shaping the votive using what look to me like huge-ass tweezers.

Step 3 involves a more refined process of shaping the votive using what look to me like huge-ass tweezers.

 This badass glassblower is putting the finishing touches on a glassbaby votive. Apparently the final step of this glasswork is the most difficult, so only experienced and highly trained glassblowers can do it.

This badass glassblower is putting the finishing touches on a glassbaby votive. Apparently the final step of this glasswork is the most difficult, so only experienced and highly trained glassblowers can do it.

 Each finished glassybaby if quality checked for stability, clarity, size and overall look. Here, finished glassbabys are ready to find new homes!

Each finished glassybaby if quality checked for stability, clarity, size and overall look. Here, finished glassbabys are ready to find new homes!

IfOnly offers not only local but huge, extravagant experiences as well (meet Rolling Stones, hang out with Rachel Zoe and get styled, etc.). Check them out when you need a gift for a hard-to-please or has-everything-already friend. Or find a fun experience to share with your girlfriends as an alternative to the standard wine night get-together. There are so many unique experiences to have in your own backyard!

EXCLUSIVELY for The Urban Deer fans:

Find your own adventure on IfOnly and receive $50 off with coupon code: urbandeer.
CLICK HERE to find your experience and enter code urbandeer at checkout to receive $50 off. (Promo code is good for first experience purchase, one-time use per person, does not include shipping and taxes, and is valid through June 30th, 2016)

Do you know someone in San Francisco, Napa/Sonoma, New York City, or Los Angeles who runs an interesting business worth sharing? Tell them about IfOnly's Luminary program

Today’s post is sponsored by IfOnly, by my love for their incredible experiences is all my own!

 BONUS! After your behind-the-scenes tour you get to pick out your own glassybaby to take home!

BONUS! After your behind-the-scenes tour you get to pick out your own glassybaby to take home!

 Check out this beauty! Each glassybaby is named and comes with a special story to explain how it came into the world! This one's name? DIVA. Fitting, don't you think?

Check out this beauty! Each glassybaby is named and comes with a special story to explain how it came into the world! This one's name? DIVA. Fitting, don't you think?

 A portion of the glassybaby space is available for events. Rent it for a party, a yoga retreat, a meeting. Anything, they say!

A portion of the glassybaby space is available for events. Rent it for a party, a yoga retreat, a meeting. Anything, they say!


More about IfOnly: IfOnly is a marketplace for incredible experiences. From unique everyday offerings with local experts to once-in-a-lifetime connections with lauded luminaries, IfOnly provides access to a curated selection of extraordinary experiences that benefit worthy causes around the world. Members enjoy amazing experiences that help them do something incredible every weekend: engage with athletes, epicureans, artists, musicians, designers, and others who inspire shared interests, foster lasting memories. AND each experience or item purchased benefits a charitable cause!

More about  glassybaby: glassybaby was founded by Lee Rhodes, a three-time cancer survivor with a vision of launching a business devoted to the mission of giving. Her line of vibrantly colored glass votives is a favorite among interior designers, editors, Martha Stewart, and elegant hosts everywhere. Creating each glassybaby involves eight hands, 2000 degrees of focused heat, and a multi-layered glassblowing process. As a result, no two hues glow quite alike. Over the last 20 years, the company has donated over $4 million to charitable causes and in 2015, Lee established the White Light Fund, a 501c organization to assist glassybaby in its goal to promote hope and healing.

#IfOnly
#ExperiencesforGood