The Story of Burt's Bees and Roxanne Quimby

How I Built This
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Show. How Roxanne Quimby took a roadside Honey stand in rural Maine and turned it into birds bees. One of the biggest natural personal care brands in America. Every Sunday at my local farmer's market. There are people who sell homemade hot sauce and handcrafted wallets. There's seemed a woman who sells mohair scarves using the mohair from her inquiry. Goats imagine going to your local farmers market in say main back in the mid nineteen eighties. And if you happen to be near Bangor, you might have come across Roxanne Quimby and Bert shabby. It's selling jars of Honey Honey from birds owned beehives charming, right? Maybe buy jar and move on. And Roxanne would keep undoing what they were doing. You. Do it. You were doing except Roxanne thought. Hey, could we make in sell candles from all the beeswax we have or could we use the beeswax to make other stuff? Okay. So you can kind of figure out where this is headed. Because that of course is what happened and even though Roxanne and Bert never intend. Added to build a billion dollar brand or even a million dollar brand. It just happened. Of course, a lot of that had to do with Roxanne's passion and drive, but the idea was never to build something massive. It was a farmer's market product today walk into any drugstore in the US or even overseas in you will find an impressive display of birds bees products lip balm lotions, soaps, shampoos all labeled with the face of a heavily bearded man named Burt. The likelihood that Roxanne Quimby would build a massive company or any company at all was so implausible back in the early nineteen eighty s when she was a single mom waiting tables at a diner and a decade before that she drove across the country from Massachusetts where she was from to San Francisco seeking out a simpler life a life without lots of material needs. It was adventure. To go all the way to the west coast from New England and New York, it was a great unknown. And I had always wanted to be an artist from the time I was five. So it seemed like a natural place to go to art school. I guess you got there and what like nineteen seventy around. Then get tummy what tell me what your impressions of San Francisco were like at the time. I think San Francisco kind of unlocked itself to me while I was there. It was a pretty little town. But the depth of experience that I had their took some time to assimilate and understand, you know, I I cross a great cultural bridge while I was out there. What do you mean by that? I learned to think differently and to probe more deeply everything needed to be reevaluated. And looked at again. So you start to sink like what you're all the way you thought of the world before was this wrong. Well, it was too limited. And I think that the material world was too important. And really it's not as important as I was taught that it was we were encouraged to make a good living. Both of my sisters had MBA's. Like, my dad did and earning power and ones that chievements were emphasized, and I took a turn to the extreme left when I went to art school and rejected the pursuit of material comforts who's really quite wonderful. Yeah. And and so you're in San Francisco, and you're kind of going through this. The transformation this personal transformation? Can of rejecting your go out and money kind of way, you were raised which was way, many many many people raised and what did you think? Did you think I don't need that life? I want a different life. What was what did you start to think about the life? You wanted to have. Well, I wanted meaning and I wanted to live deeply I was very influenced by throw who wrote about it quite beautifully. I was looking for transcendence. I just my world just got bigger, and I felt my relationship with it expanded. I I guess you had a boyfriend in San Francisco at the time and the two of you decided to like go off around the country to find a place to live. Yeah. This is George Saint Clair boyfriend at the time. And and and so we would you guys. Do you just

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