There’s a good chance you have a tube of its ubiquitous lip balm in your purse or backpack right now. Burt’s Bees, the natural, environmentally-friendly maker of personal care products, is famous for its beeswax-infused skincare, makeup and products.
Before the company was an international, $50 million-per-year business, it was the handiwork of Beekeeper Burt Shavitz and Businesswoman Roxanne Quimby. Since founding Burt’s Bees, Quimby has been a driving force in Maine’s conservation efforts and was a driving force behind one of the nation’s newest national monuments.
This fall, Quimby joins Unity College’s award-winning faculty.
Quimby was born in Massachusetts and raised in Connecticut. She headed to the West Coast for college, earning a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in the late 60s and found inspiration in the simple, self-reliant lifestyle of the era’s back-to-the-land movement.
In 1975, she moved back east to Guilford, Maine, into a single-room cabin without running water or electricity. Later, as a single mother, she made ends meet with waitressing jobs before meeting Burt Shavitz at his roadside honey stand.
She fell in love with the possibilities of beekeeping and started selling beeswax candles, boot and furniture polish, and beeswax ornaments along with Shavitz at local fairs.
When Quimby introduced her line of personal care products—including the famous Burt’s Bees lip balm—she captured lightning in a bottle.
People loved the natural goods and almost immediately she couldn’t make enough to keep up with demand. Burt’s Bees flourished. Throughout the 90s Quimby grew the company, acquiring Shavitz’s shares and eventually selling the company, freeing her to return to her beloved Maine.
Quimby credits the success of Burt’s Bees, in part, to being a good steward of the environment. The company used recycled materials before it was common, and all of its products are made from at least 90 percent natural ingredients. By embracing her love of the environment and making healthy, natural products, Quimby launched a brand that people love.
Quimby’s love of nature is reflected in her commitment to leaving a lasting environmental legacy.
“Money is only what it does, and so I was trying to find the most meaningful thing to do with it that I can,” Quimby said in a 2008 article in Yankee magazine.
Her conservation efforts took flight when she began partnering with nonprofits to buy vast tracts of land, mostly from logging contractors, with the goal of establishing a new national park. To date, Quimby has spent millions and acquired hundreds of thousands of acres.
In 2016, the Obama administration announced the creation of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, which includes more than 87,000 acres of land donated by Quimby and her family.
As a member of Unity’s faculty, Quimby brings a strong dedication to sustainability and environmental protection. Her business acumen has created ways for nature and commerce to coexist. This combination of business skills and devotion the principles of sustainability are a perfect match for Unity–America’s environmental college.
Interested in studying alongside Roxanne Quimby and the rest of Unity’s esteemed faculty
Contact a member of our Distance Education Concierge team at: (207) 509-7155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.