This whole thing started on
account of all the beeswax.
Burt Shavitz and Roxanne Quimby created Burt’s Bees in the early 1980s. In their former lives, Burt worked as a photojournalist in Manhattan, and Roxanne was an artist living in San Francisco. Each left behind the harried pace of city life to seek—and eventually find—freedom in the remote, pristine wilderness of Maine.
Burt settled into a new life as the local “bee man” after finding a stray beehive and learning how to eke out a living selling honey. One day, Burt pulled over for a hitchhiking Roxanne in his schoolbus-yellow pickup truck, and the two hit it off.
Burt was a resourceful guy; he’d been stowing away the surplus beeswax from his honey business, knowing it might eventually come in handy. Burt taught Roxanne about his bees, and she found a book of recipes which they used to turn their waxy bounty into things like candles (in 1984) and lip balm (in 1991—that one turned out to be a keeper).
Burt and Roxanne valued the simple life, and knew the importance and personal worth of staying connected to nature. Their lifestyle was low-impact, and socially and environmentally conscious. As back-to-basics, D-I-Y types, they were ahead of their time—their approach is as compelling now as ever.
Roxanne used to say that since we take from nature, we must respect and preserve it. Today, we follow in her and Burt’s footsteps by using the best ingredients from nature, and in turn respecting nature so we can all live well.
BACK TO THE LAND
After selling her stake in Burt’s Bees, Roxanne began working to safeguard our wild spaces for generations to come. She started a philanthropic foundation, gave $90 million to charities, and bought over 87,000 acres of pristine Maine woodland that she then donated to the National Park Service.
Consider this her standing invitation to get out there and explore.
BURT'S SIMPLE LIFE
When Burt left New York City, being surrounded by nature (including his bees and beloved golden retrievers) and living with less was his goal. He realized it by converting this 300-square-foot turkey coop into a cozy cabin home. (Who needs heat or electricity with those views?) It was his favorite place to be; he spent his last years on that land.
After his passing, the cabin was moved from Maine to our Durham headquarters, so visitors can see just how freeing a downsized life can be.