Bee Sensual is now in the loving hands of Mana Kai, and this is the story about the founders, Kali and Harlan who met back in 2007 quite by chance. Bee Sensual’s story began from 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 reminded Kali of her first memorable summer in New Zealand. At the end of 1999 when she 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 her journey with bees began in a book called Honey and Dust: Travels in Search of Sweetness, by Piers Moore Ede. The pages took her 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. Her fascination with bees and how cultures around the world interacted and still interact with them was born. She wanted to pack her 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 she met a real live beekeeper who researched the Varroa mite and artificially inseminated queen bees. Wow! She picked his brain all evening, excitedly questioning to fill in scientific details missed in the book. That beekeeper, Harlan, is now her partner from whom she learns new, fascinating facts everyday.
For the next three years they travelled and worked in Australia, until 2011 when they returned to the Far North with hundreds of hives, producing beautiful, pure honey (including active manuka honey), beeswax and pollen.
Kali grew up with the smell of patchouli, geranium, lavender and a number of other essential oils in their 200 year old stone house in the Outeniqua Mountains of South Africa. They used them in oil burners, for inhalations, in the bath, on wounds, and to help with sleep or anxiety.
Her interest in aromatherapy was further sparked when she embarked on a one-year massage therapy course at Otago Polytech back in 2002. There she 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 Kali used aloe vera gel on her face and the same body moisturiser as her mum – one that wasn’t petroleum-oil based – and that was about as far as her checking of the ingredients’ list went. Then in 2004 she came across a mostly natural, thick body butter at a market that made her skin feel amazing. She never looked back and it inspired her to create her own products with deeply nourishing, natural ingredients.
She became increasingly aware, on the back of cosmetic products, of the endless lists of chemicals that you couldn’t even pronounce, let alone understand. Our skin is the body’s largest organ and efficiently absorbs what it comes into contact with. Her research increased, and her shock at just what most of us were putting onto our sensitive skin on a daily basis spurred her on in the development of Bee Sensual.
Her research has been ongoing, and since then she has been perfecting the products to a place where her perfectionist nature now invites you, a wonderfully discerning customer, to also enjoy the skin care products’ luxurious sensuality. Enjoy!