From Rags to Riches: Burt's Bees We
Hardly Know Ye!
by Tony Isaacs
(The Best Years in Life)
Do we have any Burt's Bees fans here? Surely you know
the story of the quaint little company which started
operations in Maine in the 1980s when co-founder Roxanne
Quimby started making candles from Burt Shavitz's
leftover beeswax? When Quimby first meet Burt he was
living in a 400 square foot converted turkey coop. To
say that Burt's has come a long way since it started, is
quite the understatement.
Quimby bought out Burt for a relative pittance in 1993.
Soon thereafter Burt's Bees began going automated. By
1998 sales were $8 Million per year, but that was
nothing compared to the giant it would become. In 1999
the company relocated to Durham amongst many other
high-tech companies and enterprises in the Research
Triangle area of North Carolina. In 2004, Quimby sold
80% of Burt's Bees to the private equity firm AEA
Investments for $173,000,000. AEA was founded in 1968 to
make investments on behalf of S.G. Warburg & Co. as well
as the Rockefeller, Mellon, and Harriman families - not
exactly names one usually associates with being "earth
In late 2007, the Clorox Company acquired Burt's Bees
for the reported sum of $925,000,000 USD and in 2011
Nick Vlahos, a 15-year veteran of The Clorox Company was
named Vice President and General Manager of Burt's Bees.
So, it looks like Quimby and the Warburgs, Rockefellers,
et al, made quite the bundles from Burt's Bees.
Meanwhile, Burt Shavitz has returned to his turkey coop
in rural Maine.
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