When it comes to natural beauty products, Burt’s Bees was one of the first major brands on the scene and is probably still the biggest household name—and it all started with one passionate, bearded beekeeper, Burt Shavitz.
Shavitz, the company’s original founder, passed away this week on June 6, 2015, leaving behind a trail of good-for-you skin care and a humble enthusiasm for appreciating and harnessing the power of nature.
Business Insider took a deeper look into his life, depicted recently in the documentary Burt’s Buzz. And in his memory, we’ve summed up a few of the most interesting facts you probably didn’t know about the man behind the bees and your go-to moisturizer. —Emily Karr
1. Shavitz, born Ingram, unofficially changed his name to Burt after high school, moved from Long Island to Manhattan, and became a photographer for Time and Life.
2. In 1970, he moved up to a cabin in Maine to escape the city grind, where he learned the art of beekeeping.
3. Burt’s Bees got its name from Shavitz marking his hives with “Burt’s Bees” to keep his honey from being tampered with and stolen. He became known for selling gallons of honey out of his truck on the side of the road.
4. Shavitz and his partner Roxanne Quimby began making candles from a book of beeswax recipes and later expanded to other products, with the company officially incorporating in 1990 and Shavitz leaving soon after in 1994.
5. Shavitz lived in his Maine cabin without electricity or running water, with his three dogs, until his death.
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(Photo: Burt’s Bees)