When I started raising bees, I received a lot of questions from people who know me about WHEN the honey will be available for sale. I mean a LOT. I had no idea how many people want to buy local honey. My main problem has been I haven’t been able to produce as much honey as I need to make all of those people happy. I’m trying though!
After I extracted the first honey from my hives in the spring, I was left with a chunk of wax about the size of a large bar of soap. I could have probably made a candle out of it and then burned it, but instead I melted it down, added some oils and honey, poured it into tubes and made lip balm! I’ve been using it for the last few months (as have my neighbors and friends) and I have to say, this stuff is pretty great. There are no chemicals or preservatives that will dry your skin (to make you need to buy more lip balm) and I’ve found that I use this lip balm less often than I would use the store bought kinds. It just works better!
Besides the lip balm, I wanted to use some of the honey for something I’ve been wanting to try for a while…soap. I started reading about cold process soap making a few months ago and finally had all of the components I needed to make my first batch. I used honey from the hives and made some Milk & Honey and Oatmeal soap (again with all natural ingredients) and last night I made some Pumpkin Spice soap. There are about 50 bars of soap on a rack downstairs curing, but I’ve used a few small pieces and it is nice and sudsy and it smells great…my whole house smells like Milk & Honey & Oatmeal soap.
Being that Molly’s Bees is centered around Molly, a dog, I started thinking maybe I could use some of the products from the beehives to do something good for dogs. I follow a local shelter on Facebook called Tender Loving Care (TLC) animal shelter in Homer Glen, my hometown. They rescue animals from high kill shelters and bring them to Illinois to find homes, and every week they post the most adorable photos of dogs and cats (and sometimes rabbits and guinea pigs) and every week I want to go adopt one or two of them. I contacted the shelter through their facebook page a couple of weeks ago and asked if it would be ok with them if I began selling some of these soaps and lip balms and donating a percentage of the profits to the shelter, to which they replied “That’s a great idea!” Now all I have to do is start selling stuff! I’m getting some applications together for craft fairs and farmers markets for the next couple of months, and I’ll add the items to the Molly’s Bees Etsy shop as well. Besides the soaps and lotions and lip balms, I’ve decided to put together some other dog related items for dog lovers out there to help maximize the opportunity for the shelter to make some money off of me 🙂 I’ve been producing some leash holder/treat jar combos and am also thinking about producing the actual treats to go into the treat jars as well. I baked a batch of honey-peanut butter-pumpkin dog bones the other night and Molly couldn’t get enough of them.
If you’re interested at all in purchasing any of the items we’ll have available, stay tuned for another post here or on Facebook where I’ll let everyone know how/when and where to buy!