For both Paola Harris and Christoff Visscher, their brands were born out of the sense that there was something missing in the tabletop gaming world.
Harris, a fan of Dungeons & Dragons, started her own online store, Paola’s Pixels, because she was unable to find any Dungeons & Dragons merchandise that was “cute and colorful”; the only things that were available were, in her words, “so dark.”
As for Visscher, his company, Cantrip Candles had more accidental roots. He had thought there was something missing from the game nights he hosted, and realized what it was when someone accidentally spilled a glass of beer during a rowdy session: scent. And so, he created a product that would enhance the experience of tabletop gaming with scents designed to match the environment of the setting in the virtual reality within the game.
It comes as no surprise, then, that Harris and Visscher would collaborate and take the initiative in making the gaming world more inclusive to all players regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Visscher recounts that when he found out about Harris’ work through a Kickstarter campaign, he was “floored by the bright colors and intricate details” in her pins. He reached out to Harris with the idea of working on a Dungeons & Dragons enamel pin design for Pride Month, and Harris immediately jumped at the idea. Being originally from Bolivia, she has observed that, despite the country having passed some very progressive laws, LGBTIQ people continue to face a lot of discrimination. For this reason, she is motivated to support international human rights. Similarly for Visscher, he has observed an “amazing surge” in making the gaming world more inclusive, and saw the importance of giving back to the LGBTIQ community and adding visibility to LGBTIQ-owned communities.
Together, Harris and Visscher conceptualized a pin design based on the d20, a role-playing game system central to Dungeons & Dragons, named after the 20-sided dice which are core to many actions in the game.
Thanks to your support, @Irrel and I completed our donations to @LALGBTCenter and @OutRightIntl! Each #RollwithPride pin that you purchased will help make the world a better place for LGBT+! Thank you!
(pre-sale pins are in manufacturing and will be sent out end of May) pic.twitter.com/4xhl3y8USn
— Cantrip Candles (@CantripCandles) May 21, 2018
Thank you Paola’s Pixels and Cantrip Candles for this amazing product, and for your contribution to supporting international LGBTIQ rights around the world!
Check out OutRight’s interview with Paola Harris and Christoff Visscher below. Their pre-sales have closed, but follow Cantrip Candles and Paola on Twitter to be updated on whether there will be more to come!
OutRight: Tell us more about you and your company.
Paola: I run an online store selling my designs on shirts, mugs, bags and enamel pins. I decided to start my own store because I couldn't find any Dungeons and Dragons merchandise that was cute and colorful; everything was so dark.
Christoff: Cantrip Candles produces 100% soy wax candles with scents designed to simulate locations you'd encounter in fantasy tabletop games and adventures like Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder. I started the company after realizing something was missing from my weekly game nights and when a beer was spilled all over the table, I thought "oh! It's scent!" Now, we strive to produce candles that enhance the immersion level of everyone's fantasy games!
OutRight: How and why did you decide to collaborate with each other?
Christoff: I first discovered Paola's beautiful pins through a kickstarter campaign, and was floored by the bright colors and intricate details in her work. When I wanted to explore adding pins to our store, I knew I had to go to straight to her. She is familiar with the tabletop world, and has an amazing eye for design.
Paola: Christoff approached me to collaborate on a Dungeons and Dragons enamel pin design for Pride Month. He mentioned wanting to donate some of the proceeds to our favorite LGBT charities and I immediately jumped at the idea!
OutRight: What motivated you to start a fundraiser and be proactive in supporting international LGBTIQ human rights?
Paola: I'm originally from Bolivia and although my country has passed some very progressive laws, LGBT people still face a lot of discrimination. I wanted to support an organization that helped international human rights for this reason.
Christoff: As a gay man, I think it's important to not only give back to the LGBT+ community, but also add to the visibility of LGBT owned companies. There is a amazing surge in making the gaming world inclusive to all players and with Pride coming up, I thought it would make a perfect pin.
OutRight: What is the inspiration behind your #RollwithPride pins?
Paola: Christoff came up with the idea for the phrase "Roll with Pride", which I thought was a perfect representation of what we wanted to accomplish with the pin. We wanted to design an enamel pin that wasn't exclusively for LGBT players but for allies too.
Christoff: The entire pin design is based around the d20, a twenty sided dice that's core to most role playing games. I struggled to find a pin that combined the iconic d20 with the symbolic pride flag. So I drafted up some potential drawings and worked with Paola to create a comprehensive design. The phrase "Roll with Pride" was a lucky result of brainstorming, and perfectly captured what we wanted our pin to represent.
OutRight: Do you have suggestions on how OutRight can better support people who want to create similar campaigns? Or create collaboration opportunities?
Christoff: I think any successful company should keep their eyes on the little guys. There are so many great ideas out there that just lack the limelight or funding to get off the ground. When companies like OutRight take notice of smaller campaigns it really helps light a fire for growth. Running contests, opening forums, or simply providing a place to submit ideas is always a great way for lending their platform to others!
OutRight: What other projects lie ahead for you?
Christoff: There are so many scents that I'm still excited to replicate. I promised myself that I wouldn't release a fragrance unless I felt like it had extreme accuracy, so I'm currently frustrated by how difficult it is to simulate the scent of the ocean in a candle, and not just a typical bathroom scented "ocean breeze" smell. Aside from new scents, I'm looking forward to expanding into other formats of scent dispersal. Candles are just the start!
Published on May 29, 2018 | OutRight Action International an LGBT human rights organization