This week on Tuesday morning, we received some incredible news: our Lip Balm Kit has been selected as the 2016 Best Educational Activity Kit for Kids by The Creative Child Awards! To win this award, our kits were reviewed by a panel of moms and educators.
What a great way to start the day, right?
It felt like such an affirmation of all of the hard work that Robert and I have been doing to spread the word about our educational skin care kits. We know how awesome they are, but it's always great when you hear that other people feel the same way that you do about something you've worked really, really hard to cultivate.
When Robert and I started making and selling kits back in 2014, there was never any question that we would make them by hand. After all, we were only making them 10 at a time!
Even last year when we sold 1,000 kits to ThinkGeek, we filled every bottle, bag, and jar by hand and assembled each and every kit in our living room.
But when we decided to refocus Handcrafted HoneyBee to create the educational kits specifically designed for girls, we knew we wanted to transform this business into something that could make an impact on the market. We had to think about how Handcrafted HoneyBee might grow over the next few years–and some of the changes we might have to make to our manufacturing process in order to make it work.
While we still continue to fill, bag & assemble every element of our kits in our home-adjacent studio, I know this might not always be a realistic choice.
If we end up being carried by a large retailer who wants to order 50,000 kits, it might be very difficult to do that by hand (although I'm not opposed to considering it!). We may need to enlist the help of a USA-based manufacturer down the road to help us with filling the bottles and jars found in each one of our kits.
I know this is part of the path as a home-based business grows.
Other incredible home-based businesses have made this decision, too. I remember reading a newspaper article about the awesome art supply business Eco Kids. At the time, they had just about reached max capacity manufacturing from their basement in Maine. Now, they work with manufacturers all over the country and are doing an incredible job growing their family business!
The Choice to Be Different
There are values, however, that we hold very firmly. We are commited to knowing our ingredients. All of our ingredient suppliers are USA-based, and every single ingredient goes through rigorous quality testing.
Unlike most of the other lip balm (and other skin care) kits on the market, none of our ingredients contain parabens, phthalates or petroleum-based products. Our essential oils, fragrances & flavors are GMO-free and soy-free. And all of our kits are cruelty-free.
It's important to me that you know and understand every ingredient in every kit. You should know why it's in there, what it does for the skin & how it makes the product better.
That's why our kits have a shelf life–because we use plant-based oils and butters. To the best of my knowledge, we're the only children's kit on the major retail market committed to having no synthetic ingredients in our base recipes.
Quality is something that can never, ever be compromised. Especially when it comes to our kids.
The Commitment to Educate
When I left the classroom, I knew it wasn't the last day I would teach.
Even when I was staying at home with very very tiny babies, I had to teach something. I taught childbirth education. I taught infant sign language. I taught soap-making and lip balm making. I couldn't stop teaching. It was instilled deep inside of me.
When we decided to refocus our kits to be an activity for girls, I knew I wanted to take it a step beyond a craft project. While there is value in creating, I saw the potential for even more.
I saw lessons about density in our Groovy Lamp Lip Gloss Kit and adsorption in our Clay Masks Kit. I imagined girls learning about phase transition (from liquid to solid) with our Deodorant Kit and ratios while developing unique flavors and colors in our Lip Balm Kit.
But the teacher in me also knew that the best lessons are the ones that are learned as a result of true interest–so we made those extension activities completely optional on our "secret-access" HoneyBee Heroines site (an access code is included in each kit).
We update the HoneyBee Heroine site as often as possible with new activities. It's one of the ways I'm able to continually develop lessons, even though I'm no longer making lesson plans.
It's kind of amazing to believe that we only rebranded in March. It feels like so much has happened since then! This award is just one of many different affirmations we've been receiving lately that help to encourage us to work toward becoming even better versions tomorrow of the business that we are today.
I'm so excited for what lies ahead…and I'm so grateful for our incredible customers, retailers, mentors, HoneyBee Heroines, friends & family that have been encouraging and supporting us along the way.
Thank you for valuing our hard work. Thank you for valuing our products. Thank you for valuing our choice to be different.
It means more than I can say in words.
Are you interested in learning more about our award-winning educational skin care kits? Check them out at: handcraftedhoneybee.com/kits! You'll find full ingredient lists, a video to see just how fun it can be to make your own skin care, and more.