Burnaby-based Healing Bees Natural Skincare markets lotions and balms made with honey and wax from the corporate’s personal beehives.
Around 13 years in the past, Laszlo Kalmar took up beekeeping as a passion — as a manner to wind down from his day by day duties as a registered nurse.
Curiosity paved the way in which for his new passion, as did an issue with the fruit timber in his yard (which he shared along with his spouse, Agnes), which failed to yield as a result of their flowers hadn’t been pollinated.
This is how the Kalmars’ adventures began.
For years, Laszlo Kalmar tried and failed, till lastly, he mastered the artwork of beekeeping.
With this newfound talent, the couple produced extra honey than they may use in their small household, which prompted them to generously share all the honey-love with their neighbours and family members.
The candy generosity had everybody swarming again to the Kalmars for extra.
Realizing the helpful results of honey and beeswax on pores and skin, Agnes Kalmar, a dietitian by career, began experimenting with honey-based lotions and lotions. She believed that, simply as high-quality meals nourishes the physique, so may top-notch bee-based skincare nourish the pores and skin.
Growing up in Central Europe (in the realm previously generally known as Yugoslavia), on a farm, she spent her entire life believing the maxim “you’re what you eat,” so naturally residence cooking and healthful elements had been in the forefront of all her dietitian-related endeavours, and skincare was no completely different.
For Christmas 2016, she packaged these handmade lotions and lip balms into small items for her family members, which garnered quite a lot of love, and have become the start line of Healing Bees Natural Skincare.
A good friend who owned Gigi B on Granville Island inspired her to discover some cabinets for her merchandise in the shop.
While she was skeptical at first, having one too many issues on her plate, nearly six years later her merchandise have discovered love in quite a lot of shops and houses in Lower Mainland and overseas.
A household labour of affection
Healing Bees, now a household endeavour, is “actually as a labour of affection as opposed to an enormous revenue,” she stated.
Laszlo Kalmar is the beekeeper, and brings natural honey and beeswax to the desk, which is the standout ingredient in all of the corporate’s merchandise.
Their children assist with honey extraction, labelling and packaging. Her brother and sister-in-law are in cost of all the art work, design and images for his or her web site and labels. Her mom, a chemist, brings her experience to the desk and assist with new recipe experiments.
However, it isn’t all sunshine and roses for the family-owned model.
In the primary few years, Kalmar defined, it was quite a lot of work mixed with enormous upfront prices and unfavorable returns. As a facet ardour challenge for the couple, who every had full-time careers to maintain them busy, managing time and day by day expectations proved to be an uphill job.
While their merchandise had been broadly cherished, they largely remained unknown — partly owing to the problem of operating a small enterprise with no advertising and marketing workforce. Just as they had been lastly breaking even in the final couple of years, the pandemic shut the whole lot down, forcing them to begin from scratch.
“It is one thing that we are able to do as a household and one thing small that we are able to maintain going,” Kalmar stated, “and it actually provides one thing of fine high quality to these people who find themselves , however I do not see this changing into an enormous enterprise or large revenue maker.”
However, revenue just isn’t a deterrent for the Kalmars, as what they do is a labour of affection.
“It is like having a baby…. They convey you a lot pleasure however they’re additionally time-consuming and [detrimental] to your checking account,” she joked. “But you do not quit — particularly, when you have one thing that is coming from the center.”
They have a variety of best-selling merchandise like pores and skin lotions, tub bombs and honey — all of which will be discovered in present outlets throughout Vancouver (together with the Capilano Suspension Bridge store) and on their web site.
The creator’s decide is natural chocolate.
“Chocolate might be the one that’s actually a labour of affection as a result of it is not essentially bringing any cash in,” she stated. “But as a dietitian, I all the time search for high-quality meals. I discovered a woman who brings in single-origin natural cacao from Cameroon and he or she processes it right here. I purchase chocolate instantly from her.
“I all the time take a look at chocolate as one thing that might be higher if we did not use refined sugar to sweeten it. After many years of attempting and in search of info, I found out how to add honey to chocolate as opposed to sugar. It’s an enormous course of, and I can solely make 20 bars at a time, in very small batches. So it is actually a labor of affection as a result of on the finish if I take a look at what I cost for a bar of chocolate and the period of time I put into it and the elements, they barely break even. But that’s one thing I take pleasure in making.”
Aside from a loyal buyer base, Healing Bees has helped Agnes Kalmar reap many household recollections —whether or not of extracting honey, which is multi-day challenge for the entire household, or of spending high quality time at vacation markets.