About a beekeeper hand making 100% natural skincare products utilising local beeswax and honey.
There are numerous reasons why I love what I do; no two days are ever the same. One day I have my head in the bee hives, the next I am shut away in my workshop producing skincare products, the day after that I am on a stall selling my products or visiting the shops and salons that stock Beeutiful. I get to meet a variety of different people, have some amazing conversations and love the fact that people are fascinated by what I do. Bees are still a hot topic at the moment and people love telling me what they know and/or asking a myriad of questions. Everyone is fascinated by bees and I get genuinely excited by being able to enhance people’s knowledge and therefore help the bees just a little bit more.
I have lots of plans for this year, although the year seems to be flying by already! I always want to create and release one new product each year and I’ve actually managed that already for 2016 having just released my B-Rose Frankincense & Rose Body Balm. I’m very excited about this product its pure indulgence and amazingly hydrating for the skin with cell regenerating and toning properties. The second product in the B-Rose range I have plans to add more products to this collection and have had many requests for hand cream and a men’s range which I would like to work on.
It’s important for me to keep adding to the Beeutiful range to keep customers excited, interested and keen to explore what Beeutiful has to offer. I design each and every product myself by considering what I want the product to do, what ingredients hold the properties to achieve this and how well they will interact. I then play around with the ingredients to obtain the designed result. I product test for a week or so on myself before dishing samples out to friends who luckily enough are happy to be my guinea pigs!
I’m very proud to say Beeutiful is expanding year on year and to be honest I’m starting to struggle especially in the lead up to Christmas so I would like to train someone else in the making of Beeutiful products so it is not just me doing the making as well as the selling, the admin and manning stalls at events. The creation of new products takes time and concentration so I’m also hoping that by handing some of the production over to a colleague I will be able to focus more on product formulation to add more products to the range quicker than my previous new releases have taken.
Beeutiful craft fair stall
Adding to that plan is the intention that with another person contributing to the production of products I can focus more time on distributing Beeutiful into more gift shops and beauty salons. This really is the only way Beeutiful is going to expand. Manning stalls at events is great fun, I love the customer interaction, I love answering the questions and I get a genuine buzz out of helping and advising people. However, events are very time consuming as well as taking me away from my family, therefore I need other people to be selling. I need venues where customers can purchase Beeutiful all year round day in and day out, these are the foundations of my business. Therefore expanding into more gift shops, studios and salons has to be an aim for every year.
Conversely with honey bees still in decline and the public’s growing interest in how they can help I would actually like to attend more events where I can talk about bees. From pre-school children, mummy’s groups, teenagers, the Women’s Institute and Lions groups everyone can do something that impacts the plight of bees and experience tells me everyone is interested to know more so I would like to talk more! This probably is not going to be hard to achieve. The plight of bees is known to all and everyone is curious, entering schools, daytime and evening groups with an offer to talk freely about a current issue such as this is always welcomed. Of course it takes time to put together a talk, to gather the materials necessary and you wouldn’t deliver the same talk to pre-schoolers as you would a Lions group. However, the more you do these things the less prep is required and the easier the talk flows!
Already an active member of my local bee keeping association I intend to deliver some lectures that form the new beekeeper training course. I really enjoyed my course four years ago and attend the lectures now in an assisting and social capacity. Trainees like to be able to talk to fellow beekeepers about their experiences, run ideas and questions past them. I have been doing this for a few years but would now like to step that up to be able to deliver a lecture or two. I know the facts, I enjoy presenting, I feel it is time to give something back and hand my knowledge over in a more formal setting.
Related to this I also intend to mentor a group of new trainees, offering advice and assistance as and when required. Beekeeping is such a learning curve you never stop learning. You can never know it all as you are dealing with a wild insect affected by numerous factors beyond your control. The environment, the weather, the seasons, disease and the fact that bees are wild and will do what they want when they want irrelevant to your hard work and determination to make them do something else all make bee keeping a challenge! I called on mentors numerous times in my first few years when I had a problem I couldn’t work out the answer to or couldn’t understand why it had happened and how to put it right. A few years in I now feel confident enough to hold someone’s hand as someone did for me. To give something back to assist as I was assisted a few years ago.
I would also like to work on gaining some more official qualifications, both in the bee keeping world and the skin care market. Unfortunately though I’m not sure there is going to be time this year to fit that in too………..that may have to roll over to next year!
Turning my hobby craft into a business gives me freedom, flexibility and means I am able to work without the need for child care, however it is hard work. Late nights working and early morning starts, self-discipline and motivation are all required. However as I’ve hopefully shared above, the fun and feelings of achievement and self-fulfilment far out-weight the negatives. It is definitely hard but oh so rewarding.
Carly keeps her bees in Hampshire, selling her skincare products online at www.beeutiful.co.uk and at other outlets, a list of which can be found online.
A member of Fleet Beekeeping Association www.fleetbeekeepers.com
More information on bees and beekeeping can be found on the British Beekeeping Association website www.bbka.org.uk