Burt's Bees president to discuss women as entrepreneurs

Roxanne Quimby, co-founder and president of Burt’s Bees, will discuss the role of women as entrepreneurs in marketing natural consumer products at 7 p.m. Monday, January 28, in Chase Hall Lounge, 56 Campus Ave. The public is invited free of charge to the talk, part of the annual Bates Seminar Series in Entrepreneurship. An informal reception and refreshments will follow the presentation.

Quimby will also cover natural products’ social and environmental impacts and marketing strategies with a social consciousness.

Burt’s Bees is a $14-milliion manufacturer of lotions, creams and other personal care products sold in boutiques and health-food stores. The company was launched in 1984 when Quimby joined forces with rural Maine beekeeper Burt Shavitz to make and market candles from the abundance of beeswax in his honey house.

Customers swarmed to the product and soon the pair was selling the all-natural products at craft fairs throughout New England. The business grew and grew, eventually employing 40 women. By 1993, when the operation – by then selling to exclusive outlets such as Bloomingdale’s in New York – cleared $3 million, Quimby and Shavitz decided to relocate to Raleigh, N.C., to take advantage of the region’s lower taxes and skilled labor force. Quimby automated production, hired a professional management team, refocused the product line, and bought out her partner’s share in the business. Burt’s Bees sales have tripled in the last three years.

For more information, call the Bates College Office of Career Services at 207-786-6232.

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