As we shared with you just a couple of days ago, Bee Built is going through some big changes. We’re excited about what the future holds, and want to share with you a bit of the philosophy behind our decisions–from what kinds of products to source and sell, to how we go about trying to build community by growing in beekeeping wisdom and knowledge.
Our philosophy is informed, quite appropriately, by bees! Bees are skilled and tireless workers, but for a hive to truly thrive the bees must work together with selflessness and a strong sense of community good.
How does this impulse to work for the good of the community inform BeeBuilt? Well, for starters we recognize that when it comes to beekeeping supplies, you have a lot of choices. And, if you’re anything like us, budgetary constraints are often a big factor in deciding which products to buy.
With all the choices available to us sometimes we might forget to ask some important questions along with cost, such as: How was this product made? Is it made from sustainable materials? What about the people who made it–is this job good for them and for their community?
It’s a complex world, and these questions, while important, are not always easy to sort out.
To put it succinctly, Bee Built is striving to do business with workshops and studios throughout the world that are working for social impact. Businesses that prioritize social impact are effectively working to give workers back their agency.
This is typically accomplished through a couple of basic practices: 1) Paying employees a true living-wage. A paycheck that covers more than just their basic food needs, but allows them to thrive; and 2) Providing a work environment that is humane, and with a company that actively works to impart skills to workers that are valuable in their local communities and global commerce. Skills they can take with them after they leave to help them succeed.
We sure you know that many workers in developing countries have been exploited through unlivable wages and inhumane work environments. Unfortunately, many of these people are also dealing with the results of trauma in their lives, making it even more difficult to find and keep work that can support them and their families.
We know we’re not always going to get it perfect, but our goal is to be always striving to do business with people and places that are not only paying livable wages, but are helping to rehabilitate people that have undergone trauma and have not been truly free to make their own choices.
Many of these workers have overcome incredible hardships with resilience and courage. But that can’t be the main reason we platform their products–selling their story could be just another form of exploitation!
Rather, we want the goods we’re creating to be high-quality, beautiful, and useful. And we want the people making them to be very proud of what they create and, through reliable work, to have true freedom through skill acquisition and financial independence. And we want you to love these products.
Having a rehabilitative workplace can sometimes be less efficient than environments that look only at the bottom line. This can mean increased costs and slightly higher prices, but we think it’s worth it if it means the whole hive is thriving.
In the coming weeks we’ll be sharing with you some new beekeeping tools that we’re really excited about. Along the way we hope to share some stories of the workshops and communities that are building these beautiful products and while bettering their own lives.
Got questions about sustainability and creating healing workplaces? Or about beekeeping? Hit us up! We love geeking out on all things bees and we’re every bit as amped about helping to build empowering workplaces.
– James Dirksen, (the NEW) CEO