This is one of the hardest and one of the easiest blog posts I’ve ever written.
It’s a post about change, about transformation, and about growth. It’s a post about endings and beginnings. And it’s a post that is so close to my heart that I am literally trembling with the overflow of emotion as I write this. Big things are happening, and my business and my heart are so intertwined that sharing the content of this particular post makes me feel like a girl who is finally telling her crush that she’s had feelings for him for years. You know the feeling I’m talking about? Where your heart is pounding and your hands are shaking because this could be the moment that changes everything? That’s this post.
…But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Some of you know that we actually run two businesses–we have our first business, which is called Tehacha-Bee Farm, and this business (Handcrafted Honey Bee). Tehacha-Bee Farm has been in existence in some form since the fall of 2010, and offers high quality skin care products such as lip balms, lotion bars, deodorants, clay masks, salves, and sometimes even soap. Tehacha-Bee Farm was where I cut my teeth in the world of business–over the first three years I watched it grow from hobby to profitable business (more on that tomorrow) and learned that I really, really loved creating something that someone loved to use. That made their life a little easier, healthier, or more enjoyable. That made a difference. Even if it was tiny. I liked making a difference.
And even though Handcrafted Honey Bee has become our flagship business, Tehacha-Bee Farm has still continued to thrive–and we continue to fill orders on a daily basis from people all over the country. We value the relationships we’ve made with our customers over the years and recognize the importance of giving them options for healthy, natural, handmade skin care.
At the same time, Robert and I have also been clarifying our mission for Handcrafted Honey Bee over the last few months. Our process began with a forced sabbatical at the beginning of the year due to my knee surgery, and since that time we have continued to slowly refine our vision over the course of many, many discussions. We realized we didn’t want to be just another DIY company–we didn’t want our product to simply be a craft project.
I’ve seen it time and time again–when a woman realizes she has the ability to easily make her own skin care, customize it according to the scents she wishes or the ingredients that her family needs, and then creates a product that she is proud of, it is an empowering feeling. And when we feel empowered, we feel confident. And when we feel confident, we look at ourselves a little differently. We walk a little straighter. We hold our heads a little higher. And that critical voice that is so often present when we look in the mirror can suddenly become complimentary and appreciative.
I began to think about how our kits could unlock a feeling of empowerment that many women and young girls don’t often feel these days when they use products from the “beauty” industry. Instead of having experiences that tell us that we are strong and worthy and beautiful, we usually are told what we need to improve. What product we need to buy so something about us can be changed–our wrinkles need to be filled, our scars need to be covered, our skin needs to be flawless–so we can be beautiful. And this messes with our self-perception and confidence. I’ve written a little bit about my own struggle with my self-perception here and here. It’s something that is very personal to me.
So as Robert and I talked late into the nights, over many nights, about our vision for Handcrafted Honey Bee, I realized that I didn’t want to be another company that told women they needed to change from the outside in. I wanted to be a company that helped women feel beautiful from the inside out. I wanted to offer a product that helped them to recognize that they were capable and smart and creative. And I wanted it to have some sort of tangible reminder that each one of us is beautiful–not because we match what our culture tells us is externally beautiful, but because we are smart, imaginative, creative, brave, strong, and interesting.
And, as you might have seen, as soon as we realized that our mission was rooted in helping women to recognize that intrinsic worthiness, the direction of our kits began to change. We wanted to weave this message of recognizing authentic beauty throughout the entire experience. Recently, we started to offer affirmation cards in each kit. And then we started offering free labels in our lip balm kits to help spread this message as well.
We’ve finally clarified our mission: we want to offer products that encourage women to embrace and celebrate their authentic beauty. We believe that there is beauty in knowledge, creativity, empowerment, and embracing health…and we also believe that our kits can help to encourage and re-imagine this perception of authentic beauty (read our mission and vision in full here).
The response to our clarified direction has been fantastic. Women have been writing me publicly and privately, talking about how their self-perception is shifting. And I can’t be more excited and grateful to hear these things. I hold every email and every message close to my heart.
But people have also been writing to me with another message, too: “I would love to have a lip balm that reminds me every day that I am beautiful or strong or courageous. But I’m just not ready to try to DIY quite yet.” The reasons are varied–some women feel that they are too busy, others just don’t feel “crafty” enough. Some simply don’t feel interested in making something themselves, but really want to experience the end result.
And while I personally feel like we make it very easy, quick and fun to make something from scratch, I also believe that every woman should have the ability to enjoy healthy, natural skin care. And every woman should absolutely have access to the message that she is beautiful, strong, and capable.
What are we to do? Our core products at Handcrafted Honey Bee are DIY kits that are meant to empower, inspire, and affirm women. And I think that a woman making skin care from scratch, exactly how she want it, is an experience that is incredibly empowered and inspired. But what about the women who aren’t ready to DIY? How can we help empower, inspire, and affirm them as well? We took this question very, very seriously.
We went back to our mission. If our mission is truly going to center around helping women to recognize and appreciate their authentic beauty, then there needs to be opportunities to encourage women whether they feel ready to make their skin care from scratch or not. And the more we understood our vision, the more we understood that the opportunities to make that vision could be accomplished through several avenues–including both DIY kits and finished products. But how could we do this within one company?
Enter Tehacha-Bee Farm. Our other bath and body company already has formulations for high quality products that have been tested on the market. We love making and providing these natural products–but on a practical level, we have had a hard time splitting our time and attention between two companies with two different websites, social media pages, sets of labels, and customer bases. The choice seems clear.
It is time to bring a small collection of finished products to Handcrafted Honey Bee–a collection we will call the “Created Collection.” We will no longer sell Tehacha-Bee Farm products under that brand name, but will bring the same recipes and products into our Created Collection under the Handcrafted Honey Bee name. But the best part? The same products that people have loved for years under the Tehacha-Bee Farm brand will now be available through Handcrafted Honey Bee with our empowering messages (“Beautiful You,” “Brave You,” and “Strong You”) on the label. In fact, the new professional labels are currently being printed as I write this.
We plan to officially incorporate finished products to Handcrafted Honey Bee (and cease to offer Tehacha-Bee Farm label products) on May 15th, 2015. So our current stock of Tehacha-Bee Farm products will be available until then or until we run out–and then they’ll be available with the new name/label from May 15th on. If you want a sneak peek at some of the things we’ll be offering, we will also have limited prototype stock available at our upcoming Jackalope Art Fair (4/25-26) and UNIQUE LA (5/9-5/10) shows.
This is definitely not an arbitrary decision. We love and appreciate our Tehacha-Bee Farm customers, and we know that this is just making a great product even better–even if the name on the label looks different, the family and the story behind the product remains (just wait until tomorrow’s blog post!). And for our Handcrafted Honey Bee customers, we hope that offering more products and expanding the reach of our mission is just another step in getting our message out: in your strength, in your courage, in your knowledge, in your youth or your maturity, with your wrinkles and acne and scars…you are so, so beautiful. Because there is no one else that can shine your light in the world.
So let it shine. In fact, let’s shine together.