Tairua’s Ashlee Strange found herself with two new infants in 2016. Second son Zeb arrived just three months before Ashlee launched Beekeeper’s Daughter, her fledgling skincare business. Three years on and both are thriving, largely owing to Ashlee’s commitment and dedication to nurture both; growing them organically and with the kind of easy-going patience that comes from an entire life lived in The Coromandel.
Ashlee grew up in the family of one of the area’s biggest beekeeping establishments; Hayward’s Honey. A lifelong interest in creating natural health and skincare products inspired the birth of Beekeeper’s Daughter. It was also a way to utilise the honey, beeswax and bee pollen gathered during beekeeping. Beekeeper’s Daughter skincare products are all handmade by Ashlee and they all contain either honey, beeswax or bee pollen. Ashlee collects the bee pollen herself and says her facial oil containing bee pollen is her top selling product.
“Bee pollen is a superfood. It’s what the bees feed their babies and is equally good for your skin. It contains everything your body needs to thrive.”
What began as a small enterprise selling skincare through a Facebook page has expanded to an online website, a significant Instagram following and a coterie of hand-picked stockists all around the country and in specialist online boutiques. Ashlee has been mindful about where she has chosen to stock Beekeeper’s Daughter, keeping it carefully aligned with her homegrown Coromandel ethics.
“I’ve got more and more stockists in The Coromandel as I feel like it fits here. The honey I use in the products is collected from hives all around The Coromandel. Having grown up here, I see that people in the area share a philosophy of taking care of the earth, and what an important role bees play in that.”
Beekeeper’s Daughter’s earth-friendly ethics are supported by its stockists, including Re-Store in Thames, Mint in Whitianga, Grand Mercure Puka Park in Pauanui, and most recently, The Honey Shed in Tairua. Another branch of the Hayward Honey family business;The Honey Shed is a new cafe and retail destination owned by Ashlee’s cousin Molly Hayward.
The fact that both Beekeeper’s Daughter and The Honey Shed are women-owned enterprises is no accident. “All the boys could become beekeepers because they had the physical strength,” said Ashlee. “The girls have stepped up and found new ways to work in the family business.”
With a range of over 20 products that she continues to produce by hand, Beekeeper’s Daughter is a full-time job that fits with family life. Ashlee’s two sons Jack and Zeb are very much part of the beekeeping lifestyle, and her husband Glenn is a beekeeper along with her father.
“Dad always makes sure I’ve got a good stock of honey and beeswax,” says Ashlee.
The Beekeeper’s Daughter product range has developed in response to customer demand and a loyal following built up over the past three years. Popular products include the White Clay and Manuka Honey Mask, Manuka Honey and Kawakawa Balm and the Bee Pollen Infused Body Oil and Facial Toner.
As well as showcasing her products, Ashlee’s Facebook and Instagram pages celebrate her unique insight into the world of bees and beekeeping. From her quiet corner of Tairua, this Coromandel Beekeeper’s Daughter shares with the world a real time, real life documentary of images and educational snippets about the wonder of bees, and her unique beekeeping family lifestyle in The Coromandel.
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