Harlan and I (Kali) met back in 2007 quite by chance, but I’ll get to that later 😉 I’ll start by sharing my story about an intertwining of four very different, yet interconnected paths – pohutukawas, honeybees, the sensuality of scents and natural skin care. These joined in Doubtless Bay in the Far North of New Zealand in 2011, with the luxurious handmade skin care range of Bee Sensual…
Every Christmas the pohutukawa trees splash the coastlines here with their startling deep red flowers and remind me of my first memorable summer in New Zealand. At the end of 1999 when I arrived, the ‘Christmas trees’ as everyone referred to them, lined the edge of the sand at Wenderholm Beach, Hibiscus Coast, starkly contrasting with the creamy white sand and aquamarine water.
Take a look at the pohutukawa symbolised on our skincare product labels.
Back in August 2007 my journey with bees began in a book called Honey and Dust: Travels in Search of Sweetness, by Piers Moore Ede. It took me on an adventure from Lebanon, with its terracotta bee jars, through varied cultures and countries, to honey hunters such as the Gurung tribespeople of Nepal who hunt wild honey from treacherous cliffs. My fascination with bees and how cultures around the world interacted and still interact with them was born. I wanted to pack my backpack and buy a plane ticket to explore and study this interesting and unknown world to me of bees.
However, plans changed when two weeks later I met a real live beekeeper who researched the Varroa mite and artificially inseminated queen bees. Wow! I picked his brain all evening, excitedly questioning to fill in scientific details missed in the book. That beekeeper, Harlan, is now my beloved partner from whom I learn new, fascinating facts everyday. My love of honey grew from a spoon about once a week to stopping myself at a third spoon for the morning. I’ve never used a more effective facemask and cleanser, and it is quite magical on wounds and burns!
For the next three years we travelled and worked in Australia, stopping for 3 months in Tasmania at The Tasmanian Honey Company in a tiny town called Perth, where we encountered the fragrant leatherwood honey of the ancient forests. From there we moved to the west of Adelaide on the Yorke Peninsula where the land is flat and roads are straighter than any New Zealander could ever imagine. Here Harlan bred queens and worked in pollination of almonds and apples, while I, among other things, increased my knowledge of the hive.
Now, here we are, in the magical Far North, where we have hundreds of our own Bee Sensual hives, producing beautiful, pure honey (including active manuka honey), beeswax and pollen.
I grew up with the smell of patchouli, geranium, lavender and a number of other essential oils in our 200 year old stone house in the Outeniqua Mountains of South Africa. We used them in oil burners, for inhalations, in the bath, on wounds, and to help with sleep or anxiety. My mother cringed, when as a teenager I brought home my first Eau de Toilette. She claimed the synthetic fragrance gave her a raging headache on our long drive home from school on a Friday afternoon. At the time I thought she was being quite pedantic; now, here I am a number of years later, with only a mixture of essential oils as my perfume.
My interest in aromatherapy was further sparked when I embarked on a one-year massage therapy course at Otago Polytech back in 2002. There I came to understand more about the power of essential oils for both the body and the mind. Like honeybees, aromatherapy, or the use of plants and plant oils, has been used for centuries by ancient cultures to treat mind and body.
Visit the Essential Oils on the Ingredients‘ page to see our range of sensual scents.
Natural skin care
As a teenager I used aloe vera gel on my face and the same body moisturiser as my mum – one that wasn’t petroleum-oil based – and that was about as far as my checking of the ingredients’ list went. Then in 2004 I came across a mostly natural, thick body butter at a market that made my skin feel amazing. I never looked back and it inspired me to create my own products with deeply nourishing, natural ingredients.
I became increasingly aware, on the back of cosmetic products, of the endless lists of chemicals that I couldn’t even pronounce, let alone understand. Our skin is the body’s largest organ and efficiently absorbs what it comes into contact with. My research increased, and my shock at just what most of us were putting onto our sensitive skin on a daily basis spurred me on in the development of Bee Sensual.
During the 3 months we spent at The Tasmanian Honey Company, I made my first creams using the healing properties of bee products, and failed. I made more batches, and felt disheartened, but slowly the successes outweighed the failures until in 2009 they were good enough for my family and I to use as our skin care range. We haven’t looked back!
My research is ongoing, and since then I have been perfecting the products to a place where my perfectionist nature now invites you, a wonderfully discerning customer, to also enjoy the skin care products’ luxurious sensuality. Enjoy!