Join the Bee Lovely Team

Join the Bee Lovely Team

Hey there! So glad you stopped by, because I have what might be an AMAZING offer for you!

My family and I started Bee Lovely Botanicals after a swarm of wild bees inhabited a hollowed out tree trunk.  We were so amazed by these little creatures’ ingenuity, intelligence, and creativity that we started beekeeping the following year.  Never in my wildest dreams did I see this path for myself and my family, but there is a time for planning and a time for letting God do His thing.

The beginning of our business was completely letting go and letting God.  My husband got laid off, and we were very blessed that he found a new job within a week or two.  That was no small feat for our area or that time, but it was a significant pay cut. I clearly remember thinking “God, the next thing to go on the budget is toilet paper!  We don’t want to go there!!”  For about a year and a half I prayed that God would lead me to some way to boost our finances while still staying home with the boys.  I wasn’t quite hit with a lightening bolt, but it was a very clear vision of a display at the farmers market.

Our business slowly grew as our family grew.  The boys needed less of my complete attention, and they developed skills to help out.  We were slowly coming into the time to plan.

About 6 years into our business, Josh quit his full time job to work full time for our business.  Over the last two years, we’ve done huge craft shows, small farmers markets, and everything in between.  Our products were sold in tiny mom and pop shops and huge corporations with stores across the country.  We learned a couple things through our experiences.

1. We like working with people. Real people.  We don’t want to be in huge chain stores that try to haggle over every penny.  We love working with other small businesses.  Small business owners are really the back bone of our country! (Did you know that small businesses account for 13% of businesses, but 48% of employment?!)  We love, love, love working with honest, hard working family people!

2. Travelling is fun, for a while.  We worked at so many markets that we were beginning to burn ourselves out, and we felt it taking away from instead of empowering our family. We really did enjoy getting to interact with our customers, and we have made some life long friends out of neighbors at the farmers market, but I can’t be in two places at once, and our business was growing to the point where we needed to decide where our work would have the biggest impact and reward.

If you’ve read this far, thank you! You’re probably asking yourself, “What is this really all about?”  Bee Lovely Botanicals has always been about our passion for family (and I dare not forget my most industrious business partners, the bees!).  I want to share the blessing that God gave us with other families.  That is why we are launching a direct sales pilot program.  I’m hoping to offer families a fun, flexible way to boost their bottom line, while offering a community of Christian women that raise each other up.

Josh, the boys and I have been in direct to the customer sales for the last 8 years, and we are experts!  We want to offer that support to our Beauty Beeologists!

Our products are very high quality, and we know all there is to know about our products. We want our Beeologists to be well versed in each product, too.  We’ve invested hours upon hours into training videos that tell you everything you need to know to sell our products.

We can teach you the basics of making killer graphics, and selling through e-mail marketing and social media, and we can help you knock it out of the park with in-person selling! 

Although are products are really, truly fantastic, they don’t sell themselves.  If you think you might be interested in becoming a sales rep, know that you will have to put the work in.  For our pilot program, we are asking for a 6 month commitment.  Do you think you’re our next Beauty Beeologist?

Join our live facebook event August 23, 2018 at 6:30 to learn more.

Adopt a Hive

Hi Y’all,

We just got back from Nashville, can you tell? We were vendors at the Country Living Fair and we were so happy to get a little southern sun and warmth while there. We also were blessed to meet so many wonderful vendors and customers. We want to thank all of you that participated in our questionnaire from last month. It definitely was nice to get to know you a little more and gain some valuable information on how to serve you better. Congratulations to Danielle on winning the $50 gift certificate for participation.

I know we make what we do look easy (he he he), but it can surely take a toll on a person’s spirit to always need to be on the cutting edge. We were so very encouraged by our neighbor vendor who had been doing shows for awhile. She gave us to the great advice to follow God’s direction (if this is on our heart then continue, He will provide a way to make it happen).

We know we have a great product, we love beekeeping, and we love the opportunity to serve our customers. However problems always crop up that make doing those things challenging. Computer issues that make running an online store difficult, having all of our bees die over the winter (apparently the US has had a huge bee die off this past year), and finding time to wear all our many hats can be very trying.

This beautiful, sunny day, we are going to clean out our hives. This is probably the saddest beekeeping day of the year, but even more so when you have no surviving hives. We’ve already missed seeing them buzz around the yard when the temperature creeps up in early spring, and our budding dandelions look really bare this year.

While we were in Nashville, we spoke with a bee inspector from Ohio. He said that both Ohio and Tennessee experienced heavy losses this year. We’ve also heard that large commercial operations in Michigan had losses exceeding 75% and that no hives survived in one Michigan county.

It’s discouraging and expensive to have to replace your entire apiary. If a cattle farmer lost all of his cows, if a majority of beef farmers over 3 states lost even half of their herd, people would wonder what was going on. When a beekeeper loses bees, people say you should have put them inside, you should have used antibiotics, you shouldn’t treat at all, you should this and that all day long. The truth is, this is a problem much larger than any individual beekeeper’s methods. Traditional, natural, non-treatment beekeepers all sustained heavy losses.

Bee populations are sustained by beekeepers. We read a recent study that bee populations are rebounding, and CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) is not a problem any more. Looking at the surface of these statistics, the number of beehives in the US may be on the rise, but the true statistic you need to look at is survival rates. If you were to look at the population at the beginning of March this year, my guess is that it would have been very low. In another few weeks, beekeepers will be rebuilding their hives, and the numbers should look a little closer to normal. Should beekeepers stop rebuilding their hives, the true weight of the problem would be realized. Ross Conrad has an excellent 6 part series on the effects of pesticides (especially neonicatinamides) on bees. (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part V, Part VI ). In Part IV Ross explains that honeybees are actually faring better than some of their pollinating counterparts because of the intervention of beekeepers.

This is where our Adopt A Hive Program comes into play. It’s an excellent way to support honey bee populations, while also getting some awesome products and education. Each Adopt A Hive comes with an adoption certificate, hive updates, a Hive Awareness Manual, and products or honey.
It makes a great gift for Mother’s or Father’s Day. You could use the full share option and customize products for your mom, mother-in-law and grandmothers. 1. Finish shopping 2. Save the bees. Check!

Our Adopt a Hive program is also a great way to learn about bees in the classroom. Our full share option includes 4 video hive updates, the kids get to name the queen and we would ‘bee’ delighted to customize gift bags for the classroom. We’ll even bring the field trip to you by bringing the queen bee into the classroom in our observation hive (within reasonable distance).

We currently have 27 hives available for adoption, below you can see how the share program is broken down.

Full Share: Cost: $200. Includes:$200 worth of products (you can get all honey, all skincare products, or mix of both), 4 hive updates through the season, A Hive Awareness Manual, you get to name the queen, a personalized adoption certificate, and a fully customized honey tag if you choose to get honey.

Half Share: Cost:$100. $100 worth of products (honey or products), 3 hive updates throughout the season, A Hive Awareness Manual, adoption certificate, a customized honey label, and you are in a drawing with another half share to have the opportunity to name the queen.

Quarter Share: Cost is $50, with that you get $50 worth of products (honey or products), 2 hive updates throughout the season, Hive Awareness Manual, and an adoption certificate.

These options are already pre-populated with some of our best sellers, but just contact us if you would like to fully customize your box.

Let us know if you have any questions. We’d be happy to discuss custom options with you.

Thank you!

Jodie + Josh

Bee Lovely Botanicals

5 Reasons to Support Small Business

5 Reasons to Support Small Business

5 Reasons to Support Small Business

Small Business Satuday, sandwiched in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, was started by American Express in 2010.   It gained momentum so quickly that in 2011 the senate made it a national Holiday. It’s a great way to support local  businesses and make an impact in your local economy.  Here are a few reasons why:

1. You help create jobs.

Money spent in local businesses will result in local jobs, creating more employment opportunities in your neighborhood.  According to the Small Business association, small businesses account for 55% of all jobs, and 65% of new jobs since the 1970s.  By shopping small businesses, you’re literally creating job security for your neighbors.

2. Small businesses give back.

The people of small businesses love and care for their neighbor just as much as you do.  From donating to silent auctions to writing a check to 4H, small businesses are more likely to donate time, resources, and products to local causes and support local charities.  Your neighborhood is their home too. A study by the research group Civics Economics found that 48% of every dollar spent shopping small stays in the local economy, while on 14% of every dollar spent at chain stores stays local.

3. Shopping at one small business benefits another.

Local small businesses are connected.  By shopping one small business, you’re creating a ripple effect in the local economy.  By supporting one business, you’re supporting many of your friends and neighbors.

4. Small Businesses offer high quality, unique products.

Although the price may be higher when you shop local, sometimes you get what you pay for.  You know your product was made by a friend or neighbor earning a fair wage.  This connection creates pride in work, and a desire to provide a high quality product. Shopping small also affords a the opportunity to give the perfect personalized gift.  Small businesses are willing to go the extra mile and thrive on happy customers.  Lavender Essential Oil Beeswax Hand Cream

5. Small businesses are everywhere.

With the advent of e-commerce, it’s never been easier to connect with small businesses.  That means that your local small business is putting money into the local economy from all over the world.

Whether you head out with friends to the local coffer shop, or search the internet for the perfect handmade gift, shop small on Small Business Saturday and support hard working families across the United States.

You can shop small at Bee Lovely Botanicals™ and receive a mystery gift for yourself.  We’re also happy to save you some time and gift wrap your purchase for free.  Just leave a note stating what gets packaged together.

5 Reasons to Support Small Business

Colonial Craft Show: Mixing Business and Education

Colonial Craft Show: Mixing Business and Education

Colonial Craft Show

Our family honey bee and beeswax product business finds us at farmers’ markets most Saturdays from spring through early fall, and at some amazing craft shows after that. This past September we were juried into Penn’s Colony, in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania for the Colonial Craft Show. The really unique aspect of this craft show is that all the vendors dressed in colonial period costumes (1750s-1770s) and most performed a demonstration of their craft. The attraction for us was both financial and educational.

Learning from History

Leading up to the craft show, I sewed each member of our family a colonial costume, complete with a jabot and tricorn hat. I revamped our canopy to resemble an 18th century tent. We did unit studies on the years leading up to the Revolutionary War. This included creative writing assignments entailing life as an American spy, and reading about key political figures, such as George Washington. We also included historical fiction boos such as Johnny Tremain. My husband even threatened taxation without representation within our “family government” to help them understand the anger and frustration the colonist felt. The boys came away with a real interest and hunger to learn more about this time period.

While at the craft show, the boys witnessed glass blowing, weaving, spinning, woodworking, colonial artifacts, period music, historic entertainment, and battle re-enactments. Because we spent a total of four days as a vendor, the boys had plenty of time to soak it all in. In between selling on the weekend, we were able to do a little touring and visited places that George Washington had traveled through. This included a visit to Murdering Town, where Washington was shot at in an altercation leading up to the French and Indians War. The trip also afforded us the opportunity to learn about geography as we traveled, visited a few other historical sites, and learned about the geology and biology of that area of Pennsylvania. We even had time for swimming, canoeing, hiking, and a few games of tag.

The boys also interacted with our customers, telling them about our products, and using our observation hive to teach them about honey bees. They also did quick mental arithmetic to add up orders and make change. Most of these interactions ended with out customers being thoroughly impressed with the boys’ knowledge, manners, and communication skills.

More Memories to be Made

Working side by side next to our boys is profitable in so many ways. Bee Lovely Botanicals™ did well, but I think the lessons the boys learned and the opportunity to work, play, and learn together was the real treasure we found. We are excited to be able to have the opportunity to journey back to Saxonburg, Pennsylvania to make more amazing memories at this year’s Colonial Craft Show September 16-17 and 23-24.

 

So What is Cold Process Soap, Anyway?

So What is Cold Process Soap, Anyway?

So what is Cold Process Soap, anyway?

Cold process soap is made the old fashioned way with oils, water, and lye. It is a very exact science. Too much lye, and your soap is dangerous, too little, and you’ve got an ooey gooey mess.

All the heat of this reaction is intrinsic, meaning it comes from the reaction itself. Because no heat is added, it’s relatively slow, as in it takes at least 4 weeks for a batch of natural soap to cure! During the curing process, all of the lye is used up breaking down oils, and water is slowly evaporated, leaving a gentle, hard bar of soap. It takes patience to do cold process soap right!!

Activated charcoal propolis complexion soap

Activated Charcoal + Propolis Complexion Soap

Hydrolysis is oils being broken down by lye.

Fatty acids, such as coconut oil, palm oil, rice bran oil, and shea butter are being hydrolyzed, or broken down by the lye water. We always leave a little bit of the oils intact to help moisturize skin. It’s cool to be super fat when you’re a bar of soap! Glycerin is a natural byproduct of the saponification (soap making) reaction, and boosts lather and moisturizes skin.

These broken fatty acids end up with a water loving end (hydrophilic) and an oil loving end (hydrophobic). The way true soap works is the oil loving end grabs onto dirt and germs. The water loving end grabs a hold of the water as the soap is rinsed off, taking those bad boys for a wild ride down the drain.

Cold Process Soap with Calendula Petals

Calendula Bar Soap to help decrease the appearance of redness.

Cold Process Soap is Natural Soap.

Cold process soap differs from synthetic detergents in its ability to grab a hold of oils. Synthetic detergents, such as dish soap, and some liquid hand soaps and shampoos are very good at removing oils. A little too good, as they tend to strip skin of its natural oils and could leave your skin dry and itchy.

Cold Process Soap with oatmeal, honey, yogurt, and slippery elm

Oatmeal, Honey, Slippery Elm Bark, and Yogurt Powder make this bar great for sensitive skin.

Cold Process Soap is nothing like Melt and Pour Soap.

Just a little pet peeve here: glycerin melt and pour soap is not cold process soap! It is the left over glycerin from commercial soap manufacturing. To make it you just buy it, melt it (even zap it in the microwave), and pour it into whatever fancy little shape you want. After a few minutes it will harden up and your done. Even organic brands of melt and pour contain ingredients such as propylene glycol, sorbitan, and sorbitan oleate as well as undisclosed processing aids. It would be the same as comparing ice cream from the store that was scooped into a bowl to ice cream that was made from scratch, with tempered eggs, and slowly churned as it was freezing. Okay, I’ll get off my soap box, now!

 

Cold process soap is formulated with such a strong base, and it often has a high pH. Our soap is formulated to be very close to a neutral pH of 7. They clock in at around 7.5 to 8, which is great news for your skin!!

We add tussah silk fibers and honey to each batch, and some even contain pollen, and propolis! We also use many different natural actives, such as clay, activated charcoal, slippery elm bark, and oatmeal to name a just a few!

Check out all of our natural honey soap right here, and see which bar is right for you!

Alligator Skin (Dry skin Do’s and Don’ts)

Alligator Skin (Dry skin Do’s and Don’ts)

Dry skin is a fact of life for most of us at some point. Hormones, age, weather, daily habits, and diet can all affect the integrity of our skin, but there are some easy steps we can take to protect our largest organ.

 

  1. Avoid synthetic detergents like the plague!  Synthetic detergents or syn-dets are man made detergents meant to remove oil and dirt.  They are usually clear, liquid soaps.  Think of your dishwashing detergent.  It’s powerful grease removing ability is great for getting rid of oil and food particles from your dishes, but it’s also stripping your skin of its natural oils.  The same is true of clear liquid hand soaps.  Try using a gentle all natural bar soap to wash your hands, and minimize your exposure to harsh dish detergent by having everyone take turns washing dishes, and wearing gloves.
  2. Avoid alcohol based hand sanitizers. Alcohol can be very drying to skin.  Our skin is our first line of defense against germs, and we need to keep it soft and pliable.  If it’s dried out to the point of cracking and bleeding, there is a definite hole in our defense, and an open door to germs. If your hands sting and burn when you use sanitizer, there are chinks in your armor!
  3. Stay hydrated!  Our bodies are always losing water through transepidermal water loss, or water evaporating from our bodies into the air through our skin.  It is a major factor in dry skin.  The best way to make sure our bodies and skin don’t become dehydrated it to drink enough water.  A good place to start is 8 fluid ounces 8 times per day, or 4 16 oz water bottles per day.  A little more accurate way to figure it is to multiply your weight by 2/3.  The total is the number of ounces of water you should drink in a day.  Using a protective barrier cream on your skin, such as beeswax, lanolin, or cocoa butter and keeping the air in your home at 40-50% relative humidity will also help prevent trans-epidermal water loss.
  4. Exfoliate!  The outside layer of your skin, called the dry horny layer, is composed of several layers of dead skin cells.  By removing some of the outer layers of dead skin, you are keeping skin supple and preventing the skin from cracking.  Natural oatmeal soap is a simple and gentle way to exfoliate dead skin.
  5. Get a good cream, and use it! Dry skin needs to be protected from trans-epidermal water loss, and kept soft and moist with nourishing oils.  Key ingredients to look for in a good barrier cream are beeswax, lanolin, and cocoa butter.  These are dense oils that form a protective barrier on skin.  Also look for some lighter oils to sink in and nourish skin.  Extra virgin organic coconut oil is about the best skin softening oil there is.  Be careful to avoid questionable ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, and propylene glycol, and drying ingredients such as alcohol. All of Bee Lovely Botanicals’ products are free of those questionable ingredients. We make an all natural beeswax hand cream with organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic sunflower oil, beeswax from our own naturally treated hives, lanolin,cocoa butter, water, glycerin, and an organic preservative made from probiotics.  We also make a hand salve version of our hand cream with allantoin, the active ingredient in aloe and comfrey root.  Studies have shown that allantoin actually speeds up wound healing, and it also beefs up the barrier protection of the salve. You can learn more about our hand cream and hand salve by visiting our website.  For a limited time we are offering a free cuticle balm when you sign up for our e-mail newsletter.