A BIT OF HISTORY
Honeybee Gardens was created in 1995 by author and herbalist Melissa J. Hertzler. Years of herbal study prompted Ms. Hertzler to create natural personal care products for her and her family. What began as kitchen cosmetics soon turned into a profitable enterprise. You will find our products in health food stores, pharmacies, on-line stores, herb shops, specialty and gift stores worldwide.
HOW IT ALL STARTED…
I started my business, Honeybee Gardens, in August of 1995. I was 27 years old and working for an architectural firm. I was also back in college working on an MBA. And I wasn’t happy. It had finally sunken-in that I was not born wealthy, I would have to be working for at least the next 35 years of my life, so I’d better do something that gives me some joy.
As with many businesses, my company was created out of a simple need. My husband hated shaving. His face would become red and irritated with the first swipe of a razor. I used to buy him expensive aftershaves and shaving potions, but nothing seemed to work (some even aggravated the problem). I had been growing and studying herbs for years, and decided to test some of that knowledge in order to save my husband’s face. It took time. My husband, acting as guinea pig, sampled formulas on almost a daily basis. One was too gentle. One wasn’t as soothing. With each trial, the results were documented. More research ensued. Finally, one day, he proclaimed, “This is it!”, and our Herbal Aftershave was born.
But starting a business was not my intention. The aftershave was working so well, that I soon began making moisturizers, powders and other preparations. I just didn’t think this little hobby of mine could take the place of my good paycheck, benefits, etc. But corporate life left much to be desired. After working eight hours a day in sterile, artificially-lit environments, I routinely retreated to my herb gardens for solace. Nightly, I retired to my library to learn more about these glorious useful plants. It was so soothing to view the lovely pictures of heavenly gardens, while feeding my desire for knowledge. Having an herbal business would be the perfect marriage of my acquired business skills, desire for independence, and love of gardening. Financially though, it just didn’t seem like a possibility.
And then it happened. After a particularly exhausting day at work, I decided enough was enough. The next day I called my lawyer and had him start the paperwork. Honeybee Gardens was born.
The first mail order catalog was designed on my home computer, printed on an ink jet printer, and contained only six products. I placed word ads in herb magazines. And eventually requests for my catalogs started coming. After only one year in business, Honeybee Gardens began to receive attention and recognition from well-known authors and herbalists. (Let me note, that at this point, I still had my part time job with the architectural firm). The summer ’96 catalog introduced over 25 new products, and HBG was featured in the local newspaper. By 1997, things were starting to get serious. I knew that in order to take the next step, I had to make an investment. I hired graphic artists to create the Honeybee Gardens logo and implemented professional labeling of my products. A professional catalog, letterhead and business cards were introduced, and credit card acceptance began. I knew my time at my other job was limited. 1998 brought a web site, national distribution by two major natural product distributors, a design award for my logo, articles in trade publications and an herbal cookbook, expansion of contract manufacturing, private label services and finally full-time employment for me by my own company. By 1999 things were starting to go pretty well. We participated in our first international trade show and landed a huge private label contract with a well-known company. We were also picked up by another national distributor and began distribution in Canada. By the year 2000, we signed on our first group of sales reps, began distribution in natural grocery chains such as Whole Foods Markets and picked up more private label work. Perhaps most exciting was a contract at the end of the year with a major airline to do their in-flight amenities! And on July 1, 2001, Honeybee Gardens became a corporation. We are gaining market share in the natural body care business, and have a thriving private label practice called Distinctive Identities, Inc., doing large projects for well-known corporate clients. Our work has given the Honeybee Gardens brand world wide exposure.
It wasn’t easy…and it’s still not easy. But I’m creating my own destiny. It feels so good to finally have my products – which were originally formulated in my KITCHEN – right up there next to those well-known brands….to have people write letters to me thanking me for creating products which are 100% natural and don’t cause skin irritation or pollute the environment….to be able to give back to my community by donating monthly to no kill animal shelters. When I sit down and think about it, it’s really a dream come true.
NATURAL IS BETTER
Honeybee Gardens products are created entirely of natural materials. You can actually pronounce our ingredients! We reuse and recycle as much as possible and, perhaps most importantly, we DO NOT test ANY of our products on animals, and are PETA certified. All of our products have also been reviewed by the Environmental Working Group, and all have a score of 2 or lower. We are also Feingold certified.
Since 1995, Honeybee Gardens, Inc. has operated under one simple concept, “Create pure, all-natural bath and body care products made from only the finest organic ingredients, offer them at a reasonable price, and treat every customer like a friend.” We take great pride in providing our customers with the finest herbal products and customer service. We sincerely welcome comments and opinions, and are available to help with any questions you may have.