Wild-bearded and free spirited, Burt Shavitz was The Bee Man who contained multitudes. We fondly remember Burt as the man who taught us how to live simply and harmoniously with the natural world.
Burt lived a minimal lifestyle in a tiny home before it was cool. His greatest treasures weren't the things he owned—they were his golden retrievers, the sunsets, the snows and the woods right outside his door. Perhaps that's why he was able to live as simply as he did, in a 300-square-foot turkey coop turned cabin without electricity or running water.
Burt's lifestyle may be too minimal for most, but it sets a powerful example. In fact, Burt's cabin is such a remarkable example of simplicity that we've made it available to everyone through a 360° experience. It's our way of giving people the opportunity to see the world as Burt saw it, and may be even follow in his footsteps.
We've relocated Burt's cabin from Maine to our Durham, NC headquarters to serve as a reminder to all of us at Burt's Bees, and to all that visit our campus, about our roots. Although the time-lapse video of the cabin's reconstruction shows that the project was no easy task, it was worthwhile to keep a living reminder of Burt on campus.
After learning about beekeeping and having all of the supplies, Burt encountered a swarm of bees on a fence post. He said it was an act of God, a no brainer. The swarm became his first hive.
To celebrate Burt's connection to the bees, we've partnered with artist Matthew Willey to create a commemorative mural on the walls of our office. Matthew founded The Good of the Hive Initiative, through which he has committed to painting 50,000 honeybees in murals around the world to raise awareness about the plight of the honeybee.
The Observation Hive is an another way we channel Burt's fondness for bees at our headquarters. We use this working beehive as an educational tool to bring people face-to-face with the simple creatures who supported Burt's livelihood and allowed him to thrive. As bee populations decline, educating people about the roles bees play on our planet is the first step to protecting these little pollinators.
At Burt's Bees, We look to Burt as a model of how to live simply, naturally, and responsibly. Whether we're in the woods of Maine, in our Durham, NC headquarters, or spreading the Burt's Bees word all over the world, we instill Burt's philosophy of simplicity into everything we do.
"I'm less interested in the inside of whatever it is I own than the outside of what it sits on."
Check out more 'Burtisms' here.