It all started with honey bees.
In 2010, I was a beekeeper who used her bees' honey, beeswax, and propolis in lip balms and lotion bars. Just as a hobby, to start with. Then there was the occasional fair. Then a wholesale account happened. And became a dozen.
A decade later, the hobby is a business and my honey bees are helping me make a lot more than lip balm.
In my spare time, I'm still keeping bees, of course. I like to travel with my family, bake bread from scratch, and I'm learning to play the mandolin.
In 2017, Kathi Menner joined the team. She's a graphic designer by profession, all around lover of crafts, a runner, and a dog and horse aficionado. She fits more into a day than most people do in a week. I count on her design ability for sprucing up labels, and her keen eye for color as we develop new soap swirls.
When we moved to our new workshop in Newfield, NY, Joey joined us. She lives on a mini farm with horses, dogs, goats, and bees.
Honey bees are at the heart of our business in more ways than one. Not only do we count on their honey, wax, and propolis as ingredients, but they're a pretty good example of values: they work together, and they work hard. They're family-oriented, generally peaceful, but they don't take any guff, either.
When I started this business, I understood pretty quickly that I was also creating a work culture. Every decision revealed priorities.
The first, easy decision was always to pay a living wage. Just like in a honey bee colony, all jobs are ultimately skilled jobs, and everyone deserves the dignity of a living wage.
Decisions around ingredients flow from our values, too. Would we use it on our bodies? Is it good for the honey bees and the world in general?
And how about packaging? We are so proud of the initiative we started in 2019, looking for ways to reduce plastic in our products. We were always more about tins and glass than plastic, but we realized the time had come to get rid of the ubiquitous lip balm tube. And so we did. We replaced them with paperboard tubes that are just as functional, hold more product, and don't have the impact of plastic.
We're looking at all of our packaging now, evaluating not just how sustainable it is, but whether we need it at all. So now when you buy from us directly, you have a choice of buying haircare and lotion bars wrapped only in biodegradable shrink. We're continuing that effort this year by giving you the option of reducing packaging everywhere it's possible to do so.
We hope you love our handmade skincare as much as we love making it. And we always want to hear from you.