Drippy candles spark idea for women’s business

“If you have a surface, we have a solution,” said Myra Rothenberg and Tami Rudnick Rabin.

“If you have a surface, we have a solution,” said Myra Rothenberg and Tami Rudnick Rabin.

Rothenberg is the creative director and Rudnick Rabin is the managing director of a new business called Decor Mates. They’re selling a clever and attractive product that can be used again and again for a multitude of “catch-all” functions.

Rothenberg described how a nagging annoyance sparked the idea.

For as long as she could remember, people were giving her decorative candles as gifts, but she rarely used them because of the mess they made when the wax would spill. And growing up in a Jewish household, her family faced this clean-up problem every time they observed the Shabbat (Sabbath) or celebrated Hanukkah.

To keep hot wax off a table top or linens, “you would wreck a dish,” she said. “Wax paper and foil are ugly under your beautiful menorah. My Christian friends had the same dilemma at Christmas time. Some set candles on top of place mats and ruined them or actually set them on fire.”

About four years ago, Rothenberg started researching materials that would safely collect the wax, but would be easy to clean. She thought there had to be something out there — “and I wanted it to be pretty, like little art pieces, something kitschy or fun,” she said.

She learned about the properties of 100 percent food grade silicone, containing no lead paint. She and Rudnick Rabin started looking at patterns they could put on a lightweight, non-slip, heat-resistant and flame-resistant sort of trivet. Through the Internet, they found a manufacturer in China who was able to produce exactly what they wanted.

Decor Mates are flexible — both literally and figuratively. You can roll them up, toss them around and they bounce back into shape. Cooled candle wax peels off easily. If you set a cold wine bottle or hot tea pot on top of them, the condensation is contained because the Decor Mates have a ridge that keeps the wetness from spreading out.

They’re dishwasher safe or you can wash them in the sink with soap and water.

The small mat is priced at $15 and the large one at $25.

And although some might complain that silicone is not a “green” product, because the Decor Mates are so durable and reusable, they can replace paper or styrofoam products that you’ve been using and throwing away, the pair say.

Rothenberg and Rudnick Rabin have Decor Mates patterns for Hanukkah and Christmas, nautical designs and neutral designs. They’re just now getting some new kitty-cat and grape designs for animal and wine lovers.

Custom prints are available for corporate or individual clients.

Learn more

Decor Mates are available at www.decormates.com, in the gift shop at Temple B’nai Torah in Bellevue, by calling call 206-236-9952 or e-mail info@decormates.com.