It all started with honey bees.
They're hardworking, family-oriented, and generally peaceful. But they are not going to stand for any guff. Now there's a philosophy I can live by!
Around the turn of the last century, I was a system administrator for a college, the only woman in my department. I kept the email flowing and stopped the spam, ran the web server, calendar, and mailing lists, and made sure the courseware did its thing for thousands of students.
I spent a lot of time staring at a screen in a windowless office.
Then I found a book called Keeping Bees by John Vivian. He described bees with so much love, and yet in such practical detail that I was immediately captivated. I bought enough equipment for two hives and ordered bees through the mail (yes, that's a thing!).
I loved everything about beekeeping from the start: assembling the woodenware and staining it was an adventure. Getting a 6 AM phone call from the tiny rural postoffice was also an experience:
"Hello! Your bees are here. Is it ok if we leave them outside under a tree in the shade?"
"Sure! When do you open?"
"For you, we're open right now."
That was the start of this adventure.
A few years later, I was invited to sell honey at a local fair, because the usual beekeeper couldn't make it. I jarred up my honey, poured some lip balms, made some candles, and almost as an afterthought, made some lotion bars.
As I recall now, they were made entirely from olive oil, beeswax, and lavender essential oil I bought in a ridiculously small quantity from the local health food store. I used a heart-shaped silicone mold I happened to have and put them in sandwich baggies. I slapped a label on them that, I'm now chagrinned to admit, did not have FDA-approved language.
The honey sold. The candles sold. The lotion bars sold out. In fact, they sold so well that someone wanted to buy the tester. The tester! And the orders kept coming as people contacted me for more.
That was the start. I understood that I could be a beekeeper and use my honey bees' products in a different way: everything honey bees make is good for our hair and skin.
That was 12 years ago. Fairs became wholesale accounts, wholesale accounts expanded and the online store took off (oof!) in 2020... And it's still going strong.
We now are three people working in a solar-powered workshop in Newfield, NY. We have 30 acres of wildflowers and forest and use the products of our hives and those of other local beekeepers in the wonderful things we make.
Over the years, we've developed a company culture that values employees:
- Living wage is our minimum wage, even during training
- Everyone has flexible hours. Hey, we have families and lives.
Likewise, we value Mother Nature and all she gives us.
- We use minimal packaging: you can ask for soap, shampoo, all-in-one bars, lotion bars, and more with no outer packaging.
- We minimize the use of plastic by using glass, tins, and paperboard whenever possible. We are always open to innovative ideas for packaging things like lotions, that often require at least some plastic pumps or caps.
- Our workshop is solar powered.
Lastly, we have high standards for the body care we make. We never do the minimum: every item has a special ingredient and every ingredient matters.
We want you to feel thrilled every time you open a fragrant box from us. That's why we write a note and give you a generously sized sample with every order. We couldn't do it without you!
Lesli, Kathi, and Joey