Stokes

All-Natural Firestarters

Clean Burn

Teenager Adam Liszewski is the brains behind these all-natural fire starters. They’ve grown from their original DIY Christmas gifts into a cottage industry—and beyond—in just a few years.

This enterprising teen began making Stokes after realizing the firestarters for his family’s wood burning stove didn’t light quickly enough.
After a few prototypes he landed on the perfect combination of ingredients: sawdust, paraffin wax, and recycled egg cartons. That’s all you need (plus a match) to light a charcoal grill, fireplace, or even a campfire.

Stokes leave out all the nasties commonly used in firestarters, like kerosene or accelerants. The response was so positive, Adam soon recruited his family to keep up with demand. They worked an assembly line in the basement. When they outgrew that space, he partnered with The Charles River Center, an organization that connects mentally and physically impaired adults with employment.

Adam’s invention lights fires while helping his local community and the environment . . . and he’s only a teenager. We can’t wait to see what sparks his interest next.
Read More Read Less
Do you know the 3 ingredients to start a fire?

Shop Stokes Products

Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Adam
    Adam

    Hi, I’m Adam, Founder of Stokes All-Natural Firestarters. What started out as holiday gifts a few years ago, has grown from family and friends using them, to over 350 stores in 8 states having them in stock. Now I get online orders from all over and have partnered with Grommet to make sure anyone, anywhere can have Stokes to use for their wood and charcoal fires. Stokes are made in Massachusetts, using recycled materials and NO chemicals. Just remember, no kindling needed. Thanks!

  • Mike
    Mike – Grommet Team
    7/8/2016 3:36 PM

    You probably get this a lot, but when interest started growing and it was apparent you had a business on your hands, how did you juggle going to school and everything that comes with being a teenager, with being an entrepreneur?

  • Adam
    Adam – Special Guest
    7/14/2016 12:54 PM

    I work on the weekends doing demos, and after school making sales calls, doing deliveries, etc. I have a great manager at the warehouse who oversees the day to day manufacturing when I am not there. My Dad helps with deliveries until I get my license and my Mom does the bookkeeping. So, so far, it is working well. I still manage to ski and play lacrosse and that is very important to me.

  • Mike
    Mike – Grommet Team
    7/8/2016 3:36 PM

    What’s been the most rewarding part of the business so far?

  • Adam
    Adam – Special Guest
    7/12/2016 7:13 PM

    @Mike

    I would have to say watching STOKES grow and become a real company. I get excited every day coming into the warehouse working with my team, and working on solutions to any problems that arise. I love meeting people and introducing them to STOKES and I guess I would have to say it is most rewarding to read the testimonials I get every day from happy users of STOKES.

  • Mike
    Mike – Grommet Team
    7/8/2016 3:36 PM

    For people cursing at matches or about to douse their grill/fireplace in chemicals, why should they use Stokes instead?

  • Adam
    Adam – Special Guest
    7/12/2016 7:18 PM

    @Mike

    Because STOKES work better!

    Just one STOKE nestled in the charcoal or wood, one match and One great fire! No paper, no kindling, no lighter fluid needed. And, by the way, STOKES are waterproof and they float. So if you leave them outside, they still work. And most importantly there are NO CHEMICALS. It's all natural and by buying STOKES you support mentally and physically disabled adults with employment and STOKES do not harm the environment. They work EVERY TIME!

  • Kathy
    Kathy
    7/14/2016 10:13 AM

    @Adam - Thanks for sharing your innovative idea and using it to contribute to your community. You are an awesome young man!

    I'm assuming these will work in my wood burning fireplace this winter?

  • Adam
    Adam – Special Guest
    7/14/2016 10:25 AM

    @Kathy

    Thank you for your message and thank you for your compliment Yes absolutely you can use in woodstove or fireplace. Just use 1 STOKE nestled in the wood and one match and that's all you need for a great fire.

    Adam

  • Susan
    Susan
    7/14/2016 10:45 AM

    These work very well...we made them with my Girl Scout troop 20 years ago and used them until we could no longer find the paper egg cartons. We used dryer lint instead of sawdust - what a way to recycle lint!

  • Adam
    Adam – Special Guest
    7/14/2016 10:57 AM

    @Susan

    Susan. That's so cool. I actually started STOKES using lint from the dryer when I was making for holiday gifts. Then STOKES evolved after I was introduced to Pompanoosuc Mills up in VT and I started using their sustainably harvested hard wood sawdust instead. It burns easier, longer and cleaner.

    Adam

  • Kaligar
    Kaligar
    7/14/2016 11:55 AM

    Awesome use of all natural resources. I hope this goes over like a viral video.

    I assume there are three starters currently per pack, if I am correct. Is there a plan in the future for larger packs?

  • Adam
    Adam – Special Guest
    7/14/2016 12:23 PM

    @Kaligar

    THANKS for that question. It is not clear. There are 12 STOKES per box or 12 fires! They burn for about 12-14 minutes each and are waterproof. Hope you can try them. You will love them.

    Adam

  • Roberta
    Roberta
    7/14/2016 12:03 PM

    Hello Adam, CONGRATULATIONS on the start of your company and for your Grommet Launch! My question is regarding the wax that you use. Does that end up on the bottom of the fireplace after it melts? I'd hate to have to scrape off wax every time I clean the fireplace! I think your product is a GREAT idea, I'm just asking a question regarding clean up. I wish you nothing but success in your business! (I have a feeling this isn't going to be your only one!!)

  • Adam
    Adam – Special Guest
    7/14/2016 12:13 PM

    @Roberta

    Great question. Unlike a pine based product that has resin that accumulates in the chimney there is no residual from STOKES as I only use hardwood sawdust. On my web site you can see a speeded up burn of a STOKE. There is no residual remaining, except for some ash. If using for charcoal grills there is no flavoring to food. Enjoy.

  • Bethany
    Bethany
    7/14/2016 6:45 PM

    @Roberta I use homemade ones just like these in my wood burning stove in the winter. The wax burns up. I have never had to scrape wax off the inside of the burner box or off of the bottom grate. These are awesome & I'm happy to see that someone is selling them.

  • tom
    tom
    7/14/2016 12:25 PM

    Adam -

    I am a beekeeper, and as you may know, beekeepers use hand-held smokers that puff out smoke to keep the bees at bay while we go into the hive. It's a real pain to get that smoker started and to maintain the burn without using chemicals, which would harm the bees. I use pine needles, paper, pine cones, leaves, etc., but it's still hard to keep it lit and keep the smoke coming out, especially when dealing with 30,000 upset bees. I think STOKES would be a great solution. Maybe you should advertise in beekeeping catalogs; the all-natural aspect would be very appealing to beekeepers. I'm gonna try STOKES to see how it goes. Tom in Ohio

  • Adam
    Adam – Special Guest
    7/14/2016 12:49 PM

    @tom

    This is the first time I even thought of that as a use. But sure, why not. All I can tell you is that one STOKE will stay lit for 12 plus minutes and it just needs one match to get any wood, charcoal or pile of debris burning. Let me know how you like them. Thanks for writing.

    Adam

  • Dr. James T.
    Dr. James T.
    7/14/2016 4:56 PM

    Hi Adam, What is the shelve life of the fire starters. I thinking of purchasing some for my survival kit which will be used should an emergency every happen.

    Jim

  • Adam
    Adam – Special Guest
    7/14/2016 5:53 PM

    @Dr. James T.

    You know I still have some down the basement (rejects) from my very first batches made with sawdust around 4 years ago and we use them. But that's as old as I can say. Really, the wax covers the sawdust extremely well and they are waterproof, so I think the life is very long. I like the idea of keeping in a survival kit. Makes a lot of sense.

    Adam

  • linda
    linda
    7/14/2016 7:39 PM

    I have been making thee for over 30 years and used them with the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts and in my home so this is NOT NEW.

  • Mike
    Mike – Grommet Team
    7/14/2016 8:31 PM

    We're not claiming it is, Linda. There are dozens of all-natural firestarters on the market. But it is an American-made product from an emerging business and a young, promising entrepreneur. That's why it is a Grommet.

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.