Burt's Bees

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Burt's Bees
Type Subsidiary
Founded Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, U.S. (1984 (1984))[1]
Headquarters Durham, North Carolina[3], U.S.
Area served
  • US
  • UK
  • Ireland
  • Canada
  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan[2]
Key people Nick Vlahos (Vice President, General Manager)[4]
Products Natural personal care products
Revenue US$250 million (2006)[2]
Employees 420 (2005)[5]
Parent The Clorox Company[2]
Website burtsbees.com

Burt's Bees is an American personal care products subsidiary of Clorox that describes itself as an "Earth friendly, Natural Personal Care Company"[6] making products for personal care, health, beauty, and personal hygiene. As of 2007, they manufactured over 197 products for facial and body skin care, lip care, hair care, baby care, men's grooming, and outdoor remedies[2] distributed in nearly 30,000 retail outlets including grocery stores and drug store chains across the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Hong Kong, and Taiwan from their headquarters in Durham, North Carolina.[2][7]

Burt's Bees manufactures their products with natural ingredients[8] using minimal processing such as distillation/condensation, extraction/steamed distillation/pressure cooking and hydrolysis to maintain the purity of those ingredients.[9] In addition, every product has a "natural bar" which gives a percentage of natural ingredients in that product, often with detailed ingredient descriptions.[10]

Originating in Maine in the 1980s, the business began when co-founder Roxanne Quimby started making candles from Burt Shavitz's leftover beeswax.[11] This eventually led to their bottling and selling of honey, a practice that slowly diminished as the company evolved as a corporation. Eventually, other products using honey and beeswax, including edible spreads and furniture polish, were sold, before moving into the personal care line.[citation needed]

In late 2007, Clorox purchased Burt's Bees for $925 million USD.[12]


Burt's Bees Hand Salve, Sep 2012


  • 1984: Burt's Bees originated in Maine as a candle making partnership between Roxanne Quimby and Burt Shavitz in 1984. Shavitz had a honey business which provided the excess beeswax needed for the candles and Quimby's focus on maintaining high quality helped to grow their business from an initial $200 at the Dover-Foxcroft Junior High School craft fair to $20,000 by the end of their first year. Their first headquarters was an abandoned one-room schoolhouse rented out from a friend for $150 a year.[13]
  • 1989: Burt's Bees increased production after a New York boutique, Zona, ordered hundreds of their beeswax candles. Forty additional employees were hired and an abandoned bowling alley became their new manufacturing location. During this time, Quimby found a 19th-century book of home-made personal care recipes and Burt's Bees entered into the personal care products industry.[13]
  • 1991: Burt's Bees became incorporated and had a product offering including candles, natural soaps, perfumes, and eventually lip balm, which became their best-selling product.[2]
  • 1993: Quimby bought out Shavitz's shares in the company. Increasing demand and product offerings necessitated a move from Maine headquarters to North Carolina where other personal care product manufacturers were also situated. Burt's Bees changed its focus to exclusively personal care products.[2]
  • 1994: The new manufacturing location was in an 18,000-square-foot (1,700 m2) former garment factory in Creedmoor, North Carolina. Automated machines, such as a former cafeteria mixer from Duke University, were introduced to increase production, although Burt's Bees continued to focus on the "home-made" product theme. Chapel Hill was the site of the first Burt's Bees retail store which offered 50 natural personal care products. Distribution and demand of products had also reached the Japanese market.[2]
  • 1998: Burt's Bees was offering over 100 natural personal care products in 4,000 locations with sales in excess of $8 million. Distribution had reached higher-end national retailers such as Whole Foods Market and Cracker Barrel. New product offerings branched into travel-sized skin care and hair care products.[2]


Burt's Bees Products, Sep 2012

With increasing demand and an increase product offering including sugar and milk-based body lotions and bath products, Burt's Bees relocated to Durham amongst many other high-tech companies and enterprises in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. An eCommerce website was launched allowing distribution in a much larger, nationwide scale.[2]


Burt's Bees launched its first toothpaste, first shampoo, and successful Baby Bee product line of infant personal care products. The founder, Roxanne Quimby, also used company-earned profits to preserve 185,000 acres (750 km2) of forest land in Maine, marking the beginning of a relationship with The Nature Conservancy, an international organization engaged in environmental protection and conservation.[2]


Private equity firm, AEA Investors, purchased 80% of Burt's Bees for $173,000,000 USD, with co-founder, Roxanne Quimby, retaining a 20% share and a seat on the board.[14]


Douglas Haensel, a former GE executive with CFO experience also at The Athlete's Foot Group and 21st Century Newspapers, Inc. joined Burt's Bees in May as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Michael Indursky, a former Garnier and Unilever executive joined Burt's Bees in July to head Burt's Bees marketing and public relations group.[15]


John Replogle, a former general manager of Unilever's skin care division, became the Chief Executive Officer and President, effective from January 19, 2006. Prior to joining Unilever, Replogle served as President of Guinness Bass Import Company, Managing Director of Guinness Great Britain and had several roles in Marketing, Sales and Strategy with Diageo.[16] Replogle left to become CEO and President of Seventh Generation Inc. in February 2011.[17]


In late 2007, the Clorox Company acquired Burt's Bees for a reported sum of $925,000,000 USD.[12] The company subsequently released a statement to their customers.[18]


Nick Vlahos, a 15-year veteran of The Clorox Company was named Vice President and General Manager of Burt's Bees, effective April 2011. Vlahos is an Indiana University graduate who joined Clorox in 1995 as a sales manager. He previously was vice president of the company's Laundry, Brita and Green Works brands.[4]


The practice of Beezin', the (mis)application of Burt's Bees lip balm to the eyelids to produce altered consciousness, was reported as a youth fad.


  1. ^ "Burt's Bees". Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Our History - Burt's Bees". Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  3. ^ "Company FAQs - Burt's Bees". Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  4. ^ a b "Clorox names Vlahos as Burt's Bees boss". 04-06-2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ Jones, Amanda (2005-02-10). "Burt's Bees leases more space, plans to add 50 jobs". Triangle Business Journal (American City Business Journals, Inc). Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  6. ^ "Our Mission and Vision - Burt's Bees". Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  7. ^ "Our Products". Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  8. ^ "Natural Ingredients vs. Non-Natural Ingredients". Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  9. ^ "Natural Processes vs. Non-Natural Processes". Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  10. ^ "Setting the Natural Standard - Burt's Bees". Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  11. ^ "Our History". Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  12. ^ a b Farrell, Andrew. Clorox To Buy Burt's Bees from Forbes website. (October 21, 2007)
  13. ^ a b "The Burt's Bees Story". Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  14. ^ Singer, Natasha (2007-05-16). "It's Not Just Honey". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  15. ^ "Mike Indursky - Chief Marketing and Strategic Officer". Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  16. ^ "Burt's Bees Names John Replogle as CEO and President". Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  17. ^ "Seventh Generation Names John Replogle to Serve as CEO and President". 02-09-2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  18. ^ A Letter to Our Loyal Customers[dead link] at the Burt's Bees official website, archived 17 December 2007 at archive.org.

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