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Burt’s Bees can trace its humble origins to Maine in the early 80s. Artist Roxanne Quimby was struggling to make ends meet with dead-end waitress jobs and amateur garage saling.  But the 80s were not this good to everyone.  Roxanne found her friend Burt in a parking lot selling honey off the tailgate of his pickup.  Despite this comfortable lifestyle, did Burt and Roxanne rest on their laurels? No. They had bigger dreams.

Burt had thirty bee hives up at his homestead, and Roxanne started helping out whenever she had a chance.  She found that he had a huge surplus of leftover beeswax, so upon Burt’s suggestion, Roxanne made some candles, which they sold at the local Junior-High Craft Fair.  Before long, their high quality candles and honey developed a reputation and started attracting attention.  By the end of their first year, they had made $20,000.  Not bad.

By 1989, they were filling orders from as far away as New York City.  To meet high demand, Burt’s Bees moved production into an abandoned bowling alley and hired 40 employees.  Roxanne began to study a 19th century book of home-made personal care recipes.  Two years later, they added natural soaps, perfumes, and lip balm to their list of products.

The story of Burt’s Bees goes on and on, with an eventual move to Durham, North Carolina, where they remain today. Roxanne bought out Burt in 1999, and in turn sold 80% of her shares in 2003 for $177,000,000.  When the company started 20 years prior, Roxanne Quimby and her kids were living in a tent.

Today, the list of products they offer is staggering. They’re best selling product is their lip balm, but that’s just the beginning. They also have lip gloss, facial scrubs, moisturizing cremes, hand cremes, shampoos, belly balms, just to scratch the surface. If you are feeling a little overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, the best value can be found in their kits. These kits are a bit like one-stop shopping for all your “problem areas”. If you’re like me, you might need the Head To Toe Kit.

And don’t forget about the gift sets. When our son was born, we received one of the baby gift sets. My daughter still insists on using their toothpaste every night.

In 2007, the success of the company culminated in its sale to Clorox for nearly a billion dollars.  But don’t fret.  Despite their new masters, the people at Burt’s Bees continue their green and socially conscious practices.  And they continue to grow.  Perhaps Clorox will learn something.

Burt’s Bees


That’s good ol’ Burt at 00:30.  I was a bit startled when I first saw it.  The resemblance is striking.  It was a little like my tub of lip balm had come to life.