Burt’s Bees co-founder Burt “The Bee Man” Shavitz passed away last Sunday while surrounded by family and friends in Bangor, Maine. According to Burt’s Bees, their well-loved boss died at the age of 80.
In a statement, Burt’s Bees said, “He lived a full life, the way he wanted to live it and his 80 years on this Earth were an uncommon blessing to us all. We remember him as a wild-bearded and free-spirited Maine man, a beekeeper, a wisecracker, a lover of golden retrievers, a reverent observer of nature, and the kind face that smiles back at us from our Hand Salve.”
Moreover, they added, “As an icon and namesake, he was and still is the inspiration for Burt’s Bees – our natural products that many around the world have grown to love, the sustainability practices we all champion, and the offbeat, cheerful personality that shines through that ‘school bus’ yellow he loved so much. He defines this brand in immeasurable small and deep ways that we continue to discover.”
Burt Shavitz has had a love affair with bees long before he co-founded Burt’s Bees. Long before the company started, Burt was reportedly already well-known for his roadside honey stand. It was this stand that made him famous in Maine, along with his signature beard. One day, during the summer of 1984, Maine artist and single mom Roxanne Quimby was trying to hitch a ride when none other than Burt stopped to give her a lift on his bright yellow Datsun pickup truck. From then on, there were basically inseparable.
Roxanne found a way to utilize unused wax from Burt’s beehives and turned them into candles. They made $200 during their first craft fair and $20,000 during their first year. From then on, Burt’s Bees just kept on growing. In fact in 1989, a boutique in New York started playing massive orders of their candles and they began shipping the product by the hundreds. And as the 90’s rolled in, Burt and Roxanne added more products including the Burt’s Bees ® Beeswax Lip Balm and Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream. Moreover, it did not take long for Burt’s Bees to expand its business globally, opening offices in various parts of the world including the UK, Ireland, Canada, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Nonetheless, wherever it went, Burt’s Bees continued to adhere strictly to its philosophy where what matters is not one, but three bottom lines: people, profit and planet. After all, the company believes in what they call the greater good. Because they believe that’s “how we’re going to help change the world.”
Today, Burt’s Bees continues to manufacture products that are either 99% or 100% natural. And they will continue doing so in honor of Burt. In fact, they had said, “As we mourn his loss in the days and weeks to come, we will be exploring how to honor and celebrate his remarkable life, to ensure that his legacy and timely ethos are tangible in each of us as individuals, in the brand we so passionately steward, and in our collective impact on our shared home and future generations.”
You can join Burt’s Bees in honoring Burt Shavitz by sending your stories, memories and condolences to email@example.com or use the hashtag #BurtLivesOn.