I’ve been making my own plant-based remedies since I was a teenager, and I experimented with cannabis then too, but I didn’t fully grasp just how healing the cannabis plant is until 2014 while doing research on plants that are good for our skin.
I started doing R&D and developing cannabis-based skincare formulas for myself in 2015 while still working full time as a chemist at an alternative-energy biotech firm.
The response from my friends about the effectiveness of my cannabis eye cream, cannabis lip balm and cannabis massage oil was so encouraging that I decided to go for it and start a side business.
I originally named my side project Little Green Bee because my nickname is B and I love bees, and to some people’s surprise, the word Green has more to do with my deep passion for the environment as well as plants in general (I studied botany in school) than it does with cannabis. But ‘Green’ for cannabis works too. 🙂
I created small hand-made batches of my formulations in my kitchen ‘lab’ under Medical Marijuana and Cottage laws, but once Prop 64 passed and that was no longer a legal option, I had to retool the business almost from scratch. I found manufacturing space in Berkeley, built a small team including my co-founder Kim Howard and our amazing designer and chief creative Lilli Keinaenen, and we re-launched in July 2019 as Green Bee Botanicals.
The ‘Botanicals’ part is self-evident, but for any of you who aren’t yet familiar with us, we make clean skincare with three primary ingredients:
- Organic essential oils (botanicals)
- Organic plants and flowers (botanicals)
- Clean, full-spectrum cannabis (more botanicals)
The western honey bee, Apis mellifera — and native bees too — are more than a mascot to me. Their work as pollinators is essential to our food supply and they have become poster children for the environmental movement, since they are so sensitive to toxins.
The communal structure of the bee hive, in which individuals work for the good of the whole is, although idealized, something that human beings could learn from. I want the name of my company to reflect my values and I want to build something that encourages others to act more with the “hive in mind.”
Let’s take better care of the environment and each other and let’s start with ourselves! The new year is a great time to start new things and make positive changes in our lives. Let’s do this!
A few things people can do now to help the bees, which benefit us all:
- Avoid the use of pesticides that bees are likely to ingest or come in contact with.
- Plant native, pollinator-friendly plants that are good sources of nectar and pollen, such as California poppy, bird’s eye gilia, and phacelia.
- Join us in supporting the Xerces Society
, a science-based conservation non-profit that protects bees, butterflies and other pollinators and their habitats.