Burt Shavitz began to turn his extra beeswax into candles and lip balm in the 1980s with the help of Roxanne Quimby, his then-lover and business partner. As the small business turned into a successful enterprise, the relationship between Shavitz and Quimby—both professional and romantic—went south. Shavitz was ultimately pushed out of the company, but as the face and the inspiration behind the billion-dollar Burt’s Bees brand, he is still a figure worth investigating.
Shavitz has an impressive resume as a 1960's news photographer, an environmentalist, and a beekeeper extraordinaire. He had little interest in becoming a “yuppie,” or in huge financial gain. “I’m less interested in the inside of whatever it is I own than on the outside of what it sits on,” Shavits explains, referring to his concern for nature and the simple life. Of course, Burt’s Bees cares very much about what’s “on the inside” of their personal-care products, which is why this movie caught my attention. In recent years the company was bought by Clorox which is interesting choice for company who's roots are so pure and simple. Check out the trailer to watch the curmudgeonly Shavitz hold handfuls of bees and tell his side of the story. We can expect Burt’s Buzz out in June.