Sweet Bee Sisters Making Their Mark on Denver
Three young girls asked themselves what to do with leftover beeswax from their parents’ beehives
A recent addition to the Denver lip balm market is Sweet Bee Sisters. With creative marketing and online sales, you’d never guess that the siblings behind this successful business are kids – the Warren sisters Lily, age 17, Chloe, age 16 and Sophie, age 13.
Sweet Bee Sisters started with a problem: What to do with leftover beeswax from their parents’ two beehives? Initially, the girls – who were all under the age 10 at the time – thought beekeeping could result in a lucrative honey business. But when they realized the hives produced only enough honey for their “hungry family and a handful of neighbors,” Lily, Chloe and Sophie used the beeswax to create their own lip balm business and Sweet Bee Sisters was born.
Nine years, 20 stores and more than 20,000 tubes later, the three girls are an inspiration to many. Their product line includes lip balm in more than eight flavors, plus other beeswax products like lotion bars, sugar scrubs and deodorant. They have worked to improve their packaging, for example using a custom, perforated, sealed label rather than shrink wrap, and to build their brand and marketing strategy.
“We have a story that people want to hear and support,” note the sisters. “People love to see young people who are motivated to run a business and provide a great product to their customers.”
Although their parents, John and Lisa Warren have been helpful and supportive over the years, the business truly belongs to Lily, Chloe, and Sophie. Their basement workroom includes all the equipment and raw materials for product-making organized into neatly-labeled bins.
“Before we had this space, the workroom was the kitchen countertop,” says Lisa Warren. “The girls would be up here at all hours when they were getting ready for a sale.”
Only occasionally can the girls convince one of their four younger siblings to help with labeling or packaging.
The success of Sweet Bee Sisters has been bolstered by two impressive awards in the last year. Ernst and Young honored Sweet Bee Sisters with a youth scholarship at their Entrepreneur of the Year awards gala in 2017. At the event, Lily, Chloe and Sophie connected with Snooze CEO David Birzon whom they’ve since partnered with for corporate gifts and most recently, a Mother’s Day promotion.
Additionally, Sweet Bee Sisters won the 2017 Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars business competition held by Young Americans Center for Financial Education. This accomplishment paired the Warren sisters with Traci Lounsbury, president of Workplace ELEMENTS, who has been instrumental in helping the business owners refine their marketing strategy.
For Lily, Chloe and Sophie, business is both educational and fun. Sweet Bee Sisters has taught these three so much about the professional world, including how to develop a great product, how to improve their brand, and how to build a network of loyal customers. At the same time, the success of their business has allowed them to buy a car, to travel and save for the future. For the Sweet Bee Sisters, this future looks very bright, indeed.