Lovingly handmade by bees and their humans, Red Baron Bees create beautifully nourishing and delicately fragranced personal care products, ranging from lip lotion and insect repellent to sore muscle and sleep salves. Created with mother earth in mind, all of their products are packaged using sustainable, easily recyclable materials.
We sat down with husband and wife duo, Tom and Jess, to chat about how their obsession with anything and everything bee related started. We absolutely loved hearing about how they sustainably create their own hives using recycled timber, and how they work in harmony with their bees to create such natural and eco-friendly products. Keep on reading to learn more about Tom and Jess’ wonderful story!
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started Red Baron Bees?
We are a husband and wife team based in the Hawkesbury, NSW. Quite frankly, we are just a couple of tree hugging hippies who love bees and making personal care products from our bees wax and backyard botanicals.
Initially, Tom (the husband) came down with an acute case of bee fever (an overwhelming obsession with everything bee related). He started building hives from recycled timber which we continue to collect and use. Tom also captures swarms which we rehome to our hives. After five years of researching and honing his skills in bee keeping, Jess (the wife) started experimenting with creating beeswax based personal care products, always looking for ways to make these products completely natural and sustainable. After hearing very positive feedback from friends whom we shared our first products with, we decided to try and use our products as the basis for a business!
The first hive we ever built (they’ve come a long way since then!)
We love that your products are made locally and ethically by using your own beeswax. Can you tell us a bit more about the production process?
Our products are handmade by our little team of two humans and many bees, using only natural ingredients. We are palm oil free, nut oil free and the only animal product is of course our beeswax. We often infuse base oils for our products with botanicals from our garden. For example, our Slumber Salve features chamomile and lavender flowers from our garden. We carefully select suppliers who are transparent regarding all facets of products that we source from them, which include carrier oils, essential oils, butters etc. This way, we can easily trace the origin of each ingredient. We also use organic ingredients wherever possible.
We like to joke about our company titles; co-CEO, Head of Operations, etc, but ultimately our bees are the queens of this operation. We have resolved to only ever use the wax produced by our own bees, which means that we have to wait until they are ready for it to be collected. Sensibly taking wax from hives is an important part of caring for and managing bees. As the seasons progress, colonies create wax combs, fill those combs with honey and then consume that honey, leaving empty combs. Excess combs that are not being utilised can harbour pests and diseases that are harmful to bees. By removing these combs, we help colonies prepare for another year of work, and of course we are able to utilise the beautiful beeswax in our products.
Tom working with the hives.
Why was creating sustainable, eco-friendly products important to you?
Our approach is underpinned by our shared personal philosophy of caring for the environment in every way we possibly can. The rampant and destructive culture of wastefulness that exists within the world cannot continue. We hope that by providing products that have been made responsibly and sustainably, and helping others grow their own understanding of the importance of making environmentally aware consumer choices, we are playing a part in the essential transition to responsible consumerism.
The end of the process results in a blend of beeswax, essential oils and butters.
What do you believe has been Red Baron Bees’ biggest success so far?
Establishing our shop on Sustainable Marketplace has been a great milestone for us, especially so early on in the development of our business.
What does the future hold for Red Baron Bees?
Continually finding new positive, earth friendly changes right down to the teeny tiny details. For example, we just started using home compostable Hero mailer bags, which is exciting. We will keep making adjustments like this to minimise our footprint.
Expanding our hive numbers and bee keeping operation.
Gaining relevant certifications to help establish ourselves as a trusted provider of sustainable products.