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In Memory of Burt ‘The Bee Man’ Shavitz of Burt’s Bees

July 7, 2015

Burt’s Bees namesake and co-founder, Burt Shavitz, passed away yesterday among family and friends in his home town in Maine.

He lived a full life, the way he wanted to live it—his 80 years on this earth were an uncommon blessing to us all. We remember him as a wild-bearded and free-spirited Maine man; a beekeeper, a wisecracker, a lover of golden retrievers, a reverent observer of nature, and the kind face that smiles back at us from Burt’s Bees Hand Salve.

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Above all, Burt was always Burt – an uncompromising individual of his own invention – shaped by the moment and his curiosities rather than his ambitions or someone else’s grand plan. Burt never set out to change the world, but he was a pioneer who found himself always on the precipice of progress.

As a photojournalist, he captured the essence of New York City in the 1960s – key figures in the civil rights movement, beat poets, artists, and images central to the burgeoning environmental movement. As a beekeeper, he connected intimately with the bees, whose profound relationship to humans, our food and our environment is only now being more fully understood.

As an icon and namesake, he was and still is the inspiration for Burt’s Bees – natural products that many around the world have grown to love, the sustainability practices we all champion, and the offbeat, cheerful personality that shines through that “school bus” yellow he loved so much. He defines this brand in immeasurable small and deep ways that we continue to discover.

As a beekeeper, he connected intimately with the bees, whose profound relationship to humans, our food and our environment is only now being more fully understood

Burt was a complex man who sought a simple life in pace with the seasons of nature on his land. If there is one thing we will remember from Burt’s life, in our fast-paced, hi-tech culture, it’s to never lose sight of our relationship with nature.

As we mourn his loss in the days and weeks to come, Burt’s Bees will be exploring how to honour and celebrate his remarkable life, to ensure his legacy and timely ethos are tangible in each of us as individuals, in the brand, and in our collective impact on our shared home and for future generations.

If you’d like to share your stories, memories or condolences, please send them to burtliveson@gmail.com

Thanks for everything, Burt. We’ll miss you.