Bee-sting juice for the stars
A local company is shipping its coveted bee venom and bee products around the world, but it's their bee venom face mask that is causing the real buzz.
"We got interested in bee venom because it's worth 10 times more than gold," said Alex Fras, a local entrepreneur who currently owns a moving company in Parksville.
Fras and his partner Kelly Forest founded Bee U Organics Ltd in 2006 and recently released their first skin care product, the Bee Venom Face Mask. The mask has been very well received and the couple were contacted a couple weeks ago to have their mask featured at a Ladies Luncheon in the Hamptons, New York, held by former cast member from the Real Housewives of New York City turned successful entrepreneur, Jill Zarin. There the face masks were given to celebrities like Christy Brinkley and the reigning America's Perfect Woman, Laura Pucker, from the Perfect Pageant. Fras and Forrest were interviewed and featured in an article in The Wall Street Journal and in a news clip, and have been contacted by Sephora USA which is interested in showcasing their product.
Fras started beekeeping about six years ago because he was interested in bee pollen. He then partnered with Forrest, former owner of a couple Tim Hortons franchises in Nanaimo, and the two began to explore what bee-related products they could create. The two began travelling together and made connections in Europe and other places, and discovered a way to capture their bee venom with specialized equipment in order to produce what they say is the highest-grade bee venom powder in the world.
Shortly after, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, was asked her secret for keeping such young looking skin. Her response made headlines around the world: bee venom facials.
“That really was the start of it,” said Forrest.
A light went on for Fras and Forrest.
“We thought ‘Wow this is big, we have our own venom’,” said Fras.
The couple purchased one of the few products out there containing bee venom and they weren’t impressed. It was full of chemicals, Fras said, and they were interested in making something natural and organic. So they began the arduous process of finding a production lab that could capture their vision. Many briefcases full of samples later, they arrived at their goal.
The bee venom is located in the stinger of the bees, and it’s collected by stimulating the bees with an electric current, which Fras said is harmless. The bees react by wanting to sting, but since there’s nothing to sting they release a tiny amount of liquid. This evaporates and leaves a residue, which is carefully removed and made into powder. Other powders collected can be seen online and are a dull green or brown colour, compared to Fras and Forrest pure white powder.
“We are the only ones that have the world’s best venom,” said Fras. “Ours is snow white, it’s the highest grade.”
How much venom they put in the face mask cream is a trade secret, Fras said, but as Jill Zarin put it the mask is: “lifting, firming, tightening, fabulous.”
Fras explained that the venom, spread out in a small amount around the face, causes a flush of blood, which aids in the production of collagen and elastin, which are structural proteins known for anti-aging properties. Fras said people commonly say they feel “a healthy glow” after applying the cream.
People can find the products on the Bee U Organics website for $89, but PQB News readers are offered $20 off if they enter the coupon code PQBNEWS. Visit www.beeuorganics.com for more information.