Our "Why" at BeeBuilt

Our values at BeeBuilt steer our work. At BeeBuilt we value supporting and improving the environment and building up people to make strong communities. We believe it is worth prioritizing—and even making sacrifices—to move towards those goals. In our experience, most beekeepers feel the same way. 

It can be tempting for customers to focus only on finding the cheapest products and for us to focus only on the bottom line. But we have found that our lives are enriched when we factor in more. That “more” is remembering that we are always working to care for our (sometimes delicate) world and at the same time working to enrich the communities where we source our products.

We work hard to build the highest quality products that will last and enrich your beekeeping experience, but because of those commitments, we also believe it is worth asking not just how much something costs, but how it was made. 

We ask hard questions of our suppliers to make sure the products are made sustainably, and (perhaps most importantly) who made that product and how are they being treated. Was the person making the product working freely and being paid fairly? Does their work situation build up their community, or was it a case of exploitation, hurting not only that individual but everyone around them by extension?

These are tough issues to navigate, and our strategy involves partnering with workshops and studios throughout the world that are working directly on social impact. We have an extensive questionnaire that we use to vet suppliers, and we also perform site visits for our ongoing vendors to keep them honest. 

Here’s how our best vendors meet our criteria:

1) They pay a true living wage—allowing a person to thrive

2) They provide a humane work environment without abuse or exploitation

3) They provide training in valuable and transferable skills that will allow those people to be able to bring those skills with them when they leave so they can continue to thrive

Our best suppliers are hiring people in areas of high unemployment and also getting them access to other services like medical care, mental health care, child care, and continuing education. Click to learn more about some of our partners.

While the practices above are the minimum requirement for partnership with BeeBuilt, we prefer to work with businesses who are also helping to support the healing of those who have survived complex trauma and have not been free to make their own choices in the past. Many of these workers have overcome incredible hardships with resilience and courage, and we want to be part of their healing journey. 

Part of supporting that healing is to make sure the products they are creating for us are high-quality, beautiful, and useful. This focus helps ensure they enjoy their work and are proud of what they create. They also tell us that it is incredibly satisfying to know that the work of their hands improves your lives as well, and they have told us they want to thank you for that. 

Having a “rehabilitative workplace” is almost always less efficient (and therefore more expensive) than producing products without such safeguards. That means BeeBuilt pays more for products produced this way. Sometimes we eat these costs and sometimes we pass some of those costs on to our customers. We hope you will join us in believing that these relatively small investments through your purchases support the vendors we work with, and that they really do make an outsized difference in the lives of their employees. 

Our attitude towards the environment is similar. We strive to create and source products that not only provide positive change for those who make them, but also to maintain a healthy ecological impact. 

We are proud to be B Corp status pending and to source wood that is responsibly grown and harvested. We were the first hive producer to be FSC® certified. Because of demand, we can’t always get FSC® certified wood these days, but even when we can’t, we work hard with our suppliers to make sure they use sustainable practices.

Thank you for joining us on this journey! We won’t always get it right, and we are always learning and improving. If you have questions about our values or practices regarding sustainability and labor, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to hear from you.

— James Dirksen