BUZZING ABOUT SIMPLY BEE'S NATURAL BEESWAX PRODUCTS
The Insider SA learns more about responsible beekeeping from Simply Bee: pioneers in bee conservation, education, and natural beeswax products.
Spring is a busy time for the sleepy West Coast town of Hopefield. Visitors flock to witness the seasonal spectacle of the transformed landscape: a wonderland of colours, blossoms, and blooming flowers. The Insider SA takes a visit to a bustling South African small business that specialises in natural beeswax products.
Proud beekeepers and creators of Simply Bee, Helena and Pierre van der Westhuizen, explain the backstory of how their family became experts in all things honey. Helena’s parents are originally from Hopefield, but didn’t have a penny to their name once they got married. Helena’s grandfather joked that his new son-in-law was too poor to even put jam on his daughter’s table. So, he bought him a beehive and said, “Now you can at least put honey on my child’s table”.
Helena and Pierre’s mission is not only to cultivate awareness of the benefits of using natural beeswax products, but also to aid in bee conservation. At their Simply Bee flagship store, they also have an Observation Centre. There, you can safely watch a full colony of between 60 000 to 80 000 bees work away in their hive. The Cape Capensis Honey Bee is the proud bee of the Western Cape. Helena shares, “It’s the only bee in the world that can actually produce their own queen if a swarm is without one”.
Helena’s main motivation for creating a natural, beeswax cosmetic line was because of her own needs. “My entire life I’ve been allergic to parabens and alcohol in cosmetic products and I realised I have all of these beautiful ingredients right in front of me. So I started playing around with it and it was perfect. We have products made with beeswax, propolis, and honey mixed with essential oils”.
Simply Bee’s products are all natural, handmade, free from chemicals, synthetic fragrances and parabens, making it safe and environmentally friendly! Helena explains it’s benefits saying, “Natural ingredients nurture the skin with wholesome nutrients that are familiar to the body’s chemistry, thus working in harmony with the body”.
While you may be familiar with beeswax and honey, propolis is another secret ingredient these magical bees have to offer. “Propolis is a black paste that they make to protect their hive against viruses. It’s antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial”, explains Helena.
All the honey, beeswax and propolis from Simply Bee is harvested from lush fynbos plants – a sweet treat that you’ll be able to taste in the honey. Helena adds, “Many people wonder why honey is different in colour and it’s just because of the different blossoms that are flowering at the time”.
The main season for harvesting honey is in Summer, normally from September to February/March. Once the honey is harvested, the van der Westhuizens can begin working their raw honey and beeswax into a vast array of products such as massage oils, hair products, candlesticks, ointments and more.
Simply Bees goodness is now enjoyed all across South Africa and even has a great demand internationally. But while their business grows, Simply Bee honours their name in keeping things small and simple. Their flagship store in Hopefield resembles an apothecary, where antique furniture creates a cosy corner and the product’s batches are made small – no more than 18 litres at a time. That, Helena believes, is the secret to their success.
Helena shares, “The success of Simply Bee is all about passion. It’s passion through generations for the bees. It first started with my dad, and then Pierre and me with the products, and I believe that if you have a passion and you have the right ethics, you cannot go wrong with any business, and you will succeed”.