Welcome to another edition of the Brand Spotlight series! Today I will be focusing on Burt's Bees, the company where I started my career. I was inspired to cover the brand after I saw they recently launched a new range of lip balm and lotion with hemp. I think it's really cool that they are part of the explosion of hemp and CBD products. To learn more about hemp and CBD, check out my prior post on Raw Material Trends. For the first post in the Brand Spotlight series, I covered Drunk Elephant.
Origin and Philosophy
Burt's Bees was founded in 1984 by Roxanne Quimby and Burt Shavitz. Burt was a beekeeper in Maine who sold honey. He met Roxanne and she started selling products made from his beeswax including candles and eventually personal care products. The company moved to North Carolina in the 1990s and was sold to Clorox in 2007 for $925 million. The brand formulates with minimally processed raw materials and prints the percentage of natural ingredients on all its products. The percentage is based on the company's standards which are closely related to the requirements of the Natural Products Association (NPA). To learn more about the NPA, check out Natural, Organic, Clean - What does it all mean?
In my experience, Burt's Bees is truly committed to sustainability and environmental conservation causes. For example, when I worked there the office sent zero waste to landfill and had monthly audits of the various recycling and garbage bins. The results of the audits were tied to the annual bonuses of employees. I personally find the Burt's Bees' brand to be a balanced combination of committing to natural products without fear-mongering about synthetic ingredients.
According the company website, the Burt's Bees brand focuses on ingredients from nature, no animal testing, responsible sourcing, recyclable packaging, and respecting nature. They have a large product offering including skin care, makeup, hair care, body care, baby and mama products, oral care, and lip care. Products are sold across all retail channels including mass retailers like Target and Walmart, drugstores like Walgreens and Rite Aid, discount stores like Nordstrom Rack, grocery stores like Whole Foods, and online at the Burt's Bees website. Prices for individual products range from about $3 for a lip balm to $20 for the most expensive skin care products. They also sell gift sets and bundles.
Burt's Bees has also licensed out its name for use on products in other segments including pet care products and baby clothes. These are outside the core offering but are also based on similar principles of natural ingredients and sustainability.
The most iconic product from Burt's Bees is their original beeswax lip balm. It has a tingle effect on the lips from the peppermint oil and claims to soften and nourish dry lips. The ingredient list is quite simple and includes beeswax, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, peppermint oil, lanolin, rosemary leaf extract, soybean oil, canola oil and limonene.
The product is a top seller but is also polarizing. Some people have reactions to peppermint oil or find it to be drying. I personally don't have any issues with peppermint oil but I prefer other lip balms from the company that I find to be more hydrating.
I've personally tried lots of Burt's Bees products. I received many for free during my time at the company. I used to come home for Christmas with a suitcase full of products for my family. The products I still use five years after leaving Burt's Bees include the Natural Acne Solutions Spot Treatment, BB Cream, Cleansing Oil, Garden Tomato Toner, Sensitive Facial Cleanser, lip crayons, tinted lip balms and flavored lip balms.
Have you tried Burt's Bees products beyond the iconic beeswax lip balm? Do you have a favorite product that you enjoyed using? Do you have a request for the next Brand Spotlight? Let me know in the comments below!