Burt Shavitz, who founded the Burt’s Bees beauty brand, has passed away at the age of 80 in Bangor, Maine. According to USA Today, he died of respiratory complications, surrounded by friends and family.
Shavitz gained recognition as his personal-care products, decorated with a likeness of his face, spread around the world. And you can see in the video below — a clip filmed in Taiwan from Burt’s Buzz, a documentary about Shavitz’s business and unconventional life — he even had a certain global rock-star quality to him.
But before his face was plastered on his namesake all-natural products, Shavitz was a small-scale honey salesman, peddling his goods on a roadside in Maine. That’s where he serendipitously met Roxanne Quimby — a hitchhiking single mother who eventually became his business partner, USA Today says.
The two started Burt’s Bees in 1984 after Quimby began fashioning Shavitz’s unused beeswax into candles. In the first year, the pair made around $20,000 from their products. Eventually, the company expanded into making lotions, lip balms, soaps and a range of bath products. Now, Burt’s Bees is owned by Clorox and sells products in over 40 countries.
The Burt’s Bees website says Shavitz will be remembered as “a bearded, free-spirited Maine man, a beekeeper, a wisecracker, a lover of golden retrievers and his land.”
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