Burt’s Bees Namesake, Burt Shavitz, Has Died at 80
If the name Burt Shavitz doesn’t ring a bell, his brand name certainly will. The Burt’s Bees cofounder and namesake has passed away at the age of 80.
“We remember him as a bearded, free-spirited Maine man, a beekeeper, a wisecracker, a lover of golden retrievers and his land,” reads a statement taken from the Burt’s Bees website. “Above all, he taught us to never lose sight of our relationship with nature.”
Burt Shavitz began his love affair with bees in the 1930s when an acquaintance gave him everything he needed to keep bees, except the hive. When Burt discovered a swarm of bees on a fencepost after a rainstorm, he proclaimed it an act of God and thus began his career as beekeeper.
What started as a small beeswax candle making venture with goods hocked at craft fairs, eventually turned into a multi-million dollar skincare and beauty company. Shavitz and co-candle creator, Roxanne Quimby, eventually began creating personal care products, which can be found on store shelves far and wide today.
Burt’s name may be on the label, but he missed out on much of the Burt’s Bees fortune. He traded his stake in the company to Quimby in 1999 for a house in Maine worth $130,000. But Shavitz was obviously not bothered by this avoidance of fortune, quoted as saying, “Money is nothing really worth squabbling about. This is what puts people six feet under.”
In his final years, Shavitz enjoyed living on his land and watching the native wildlife, including bees. To chime in with thoughts and condolences use #BurtLivesOn on social media.
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Image of Burt’s Bees by marie b. Flickr.com, cc
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