Turning a family passion into a business with a little help from Mother Nature
Natural beeswax has been used for thousands of years in health and beauty products. It carries antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties that fight chapped skin and bacterial problems. It forms a protective layer by sealing in moisture without smothering and clogging up the pores.
Julie Macken grew up on a farm in deepest Somerset and was a bit of a tomboy who lived in wellies and jeans and spent her days making dens in haybarns and damming streams. Then she read chemistry in Manchester and spent way too many years in the corporate world of pharmaceuticals. Today, she and daughter Neve are beekeepers who make pure natural skincare products, with a little help from their bees.
“Whilst house shopping in Oxfordshire we entered a house that had a stack of honey jars on display. Neve, then nine, asked the owner of the house, why he had these jars, to which he replied “… because I have bees, who make all the honey and wax and propolis and they pollinate our flowers and trees.” When we got home, Neve spoke to her grandfather who bought her a beehive for her birthday. We bought a small holding in Oxfordshire where we’ve cultivated five beehives – and where Neves Bees was born.”
With a background in chemistry, over the counter products, healthcare marketing and product development, Julie started developing her own products, using what she liked from some of the leading brands, and substituting what they didn’t for more natural alternatives.
“Neve and I started off making lip balms, giving them to friends and family as gifts. They liked them so much, we decided we’d start selling them. So, we took a stall at a local market and sold out! Fast forward to 2020 and we now have a family business making a range of beautiful products that we believe are good for us and kind to the environment.”
Since Lockdown, they’re focussing their efforts on their online shop and, now with most high street stores open, they’re seeing a lot of interest from indie shops looking to increase their range Neves Bees current range includes nine lusciously flavoured lip balms, aromatic hand salves, lemon and orange cuticle butter, mint foot butter, and for favourite family pets, dog paw balm and snout salve, plus lots of lovely gift packs with happy vibes cards.
“Neve’s Bees products are made using only local beeswax, natural oils and butters that are fragranced using pure essential oils. We use no artificial ingredients, fragrances, additives, colours, or preservatives.” They donate 5p for each product sold to BBOWT (their local Wildlife trust) to help save the natural wilderness for bees and other creatures.
• A hive of bees in the height of summer can contain up to 80,000 bees;
• All the worker bees are female;
• Only female bees can sting;
• The queen bee is the mother of all the bees in the hive and lays up to 2,000 eggs per day in the summer;
• The drones’ (male bees’) only purpose in life is to impregnant the queen bee. Once done, his genitals explode, and he dies.