How did I come to start Ginger Bee: Artfully Crafted Beeswax Products, you ask? Well, as you already probably know, one seldom arrives at an idea on their own. The bee story runs through my family like honey dripping from a full comb. Both of my Grandmothers are gone now, but their lives were bound up in the big, big world, with wide uninterrupted skies, lots of animals, critters, and little flying things all about. (Some of them were bees of course.) They were both hearty, strong feminine farm women. Although they didn’t keep bee hives on their farms, I can easily imagine them in that role because of the kind of people they were, and how they lived their lives. I'm pretty sure however, they would be proud to know that their families are also breathing in the big outdoors, working together with bees.
Do you remember your first bee sting? I confess I don’t, and it's probably because I was the proverbial bare foot child who spent the summers running through the grass, feeling the coolness between my toes, and yes, occasionally a bee as well. I do remember, however, when the bees and I became closer companions. I had just moved home from living in India when my California uncle passed away suddenly. I went out west for his funeral and as conversations flowed around family folklore and recent memories, my cousin suggested that I move out to California to stay with his mom, to keep her company, and then I could just work for his beekeeping business. Can you believe it? I did just that very thing! Soon I moved in with my aunt and when I wasn’t eating waffles, rummaging through garage sales, or playing Scrabble, I was hanging out with my cousin and his bees.
Candle Gift Baskets
“Last year before the holidays I asked Mandy to make me some gift baskets for client gifts. People are generally pretty thankful for a gift, but this time I had a number of people specifically tell me how much they loved their Ginger Bee candles. In fact, they went as far as to say, they were hoping that I would do that again! And I certainly will!” — Sandie B.
A few years back, I was out in the State of Wyoming working on my beekeeper cousin’s annual honey-harvest crew; we were driving back from a bee yard to the honey house (doesn’t that phrase just role off your tongue!), and we hatched the plan for Ginger Bee. I heard myself say, “Yes! I’m going to start a business using our beeswax!”
Almost six months went by before a ton of wax arrived in Ohio from Wyoming on a semi-truck. That’s not a hyperbolic ton either! I needed to get up to speed and fast. I scoured candle-making suppliers' websites comparing prices and characteristics. I watched endless YouTube videos. I checked out every beeswax-related book from the Cincinnati Library, some of which were published in the 1940s when the US government was subsidizing beekeepers to increase their wax production for the US Navy’s rope and deck maintenance. I learned about how others have learned about bees and their wax production, including the fact that bees exude wax from panels in their abdomen and have special combs on some of their legs to help draw it out and form it into honeycomb. Who knew!
Honey Hue and Honey Scent
"I love my Ginger Bee candles because of their simplicity—no coloring except the lovely honey hue and no fragrance except that delicious honey scent. Love to light them and just feel cozy." — My Mom
I still can hardly believe it! Now I get to spend a couple days each week immersed in the world of beeswax: smelling, melting, molding, refining, and of course playing as well. At first, my beeswax guinea pigs were those nearest and dearest to my heart: my family and neighbors. I went through what seemed like an un-ending process of finding the perfect wick size and style for each of the candles I produce. My peeps became comfortable with giving me both positive and negative criticism because they cared enough about me and Ginger Bee, to help me make everything better than that last candle they tried to burn.
Nowadays, people compliment Ginger Bee products, and I blush because frankly, I have to give all the credit to the bees. Before anything ever gets to me, the bees are busy working their magic. They are truly industrious and mysterious geniuses. If anyone ever tells you that they know most everything there is to know about bees, don’t you believe them; they are either deceiving you or themselves.