by Ham… follow on Twitter @yourboyham11
New York Times — Burt Shavitz, a rural beekeeper whose homespun marketing for natural personal care products transformed him from an unknown recluse into the familiar scruffy face of a line of balms that healed a million lips, died on Sunday in Bangor, Me. He was 80.
The cause was respiratory problems, said Christina Calbi, a spokeswoman for Burt’s Bees, the company Mr. Shavitz co-founded in 1984 and which was sold to Clorox in 2007 for about $925 million. The brand still bears his bearded visage, wistful eyes and signature striped locomotive engineer’s cap.
Even after the sale, Mr. Shavitz remained a paid spokesman for Burt’s Bees, though he had returned to his hermit’s existence in a 400-square-foot converted turkey coop in Parkman, Me., northwest of Bangor. The abode was equipped with a radio and refrigerator but not a television or running hot water.
“I realized I had it made,” he once said, “because you don’t have to destroy anything to get honey. You can just use the same things over and over again, put it in a quart canning jar, and you’ve got $12.”
In 1984, Mr. Shavitz picked up a 33-year-old hitchhiker, Roxanne Quimby, who became his business and romantic partner. Ms. Quimby, a former 1960s radical, first recycled his leftover beeswax into candles. Then, improving on a formula found in a 19th-century farmer’s journal, she combined the wax with sweet almond oil, and Burt’s Bees lip balm was born, in 1991.
Before long, what had been a $3,000-a-year subsistence business was transformed into a multimillion-dollar purveyor of eco-friendly lip balm, lotions and soaps packaged in school bus yellow containers.
This rural beekeeper’s roots were distinctly urban. Ingram Berg Shavitz was born in Manhattan on May 15, 1935. His father, Edward, was an actor. His mother, the former Nathalie Berg, was a sculptor and artist. He grew up in Flushing, Queens, and on Long Island, in Great Neck. He attended college in Delaware but was drafted before he finished and served in the Army in Germany. He also changed his name to Burt.
Is beezing still a thing? Of all the weird trends college kids have gone through, beezing might be the weirdest. Hey guys let’s rub lip balm on our eyes. It burns and then you get a tingling sensation and then you can’t see. It’s sweet. Like yeah obviously you have to try it. You have to try everything once. You can’t be a little puss. But beezing was overrated as fuck. Weakest buzz ever. Just a complete filler for when there’s nothing better available to you. Kind of like this blog about beezing. Anyways, R.I.P. to this dude Burt.
P.S. $925 MILLION for some honey wax and almond oil. What the fuck.