Archive for May, 2013

I consider myself pretty bloody lucky to do what I love every day [sorry for swearing mum… and yes, it did add value to what I am trying to say].  But even so, it’s really lovely to be told you’re doing a good job or making a difference.  And it makes the job a thousand-fold more rewarding to know a little about the customers you serve or what occasions you’re lighting.

Of course, I get to know our customers at The Hive quite well, but with a thriving online business and retailers dotted across Australia, there are many thousands more whose lives we light, but know little about.  And, as anyone in business will tell you, the thrill is not so much in selling whatever it is that you make, the thrill is knowing that it serves a purpose and makes a difference.

For many years now we’ve been getting orders from a guy in Perth and we ship the candles for him to outback NSW.  I’ve often wondered what the story was… or wondered who the lucky person was getting showered with hundreds of dollars of candles every couple of months.  This week I found out.  I received an absolutely beautiful card (with photographs, glitter and other sparkly things and a long letter) from our customer.  I’ve read it about 20 times (18 of which were sharing it with our packaging angels and other friends) and thought it so lovely that it was worth sharing further afield (with her permission).

Hopefully it will inspire you to write a thank you note to someone… even if it is someone you’ve never met.  Rest assured it will most likely make their day… or week.

thank you note, gratitude

“Dear Bee-utiful ones,

This comes to you as a long overdue gesture of appreciation from a grateful regular recipient of your creations.  What does she do with all those candles?!  Serial dinner parties?  Well no, not nearly enough visitors for even one dinner party; and, anyway, as a Buddhist nun, refraining from food after midday is part of the training in renunciation.  But a lot of meditation explains the tealight consumption.  Your light-giving, though, spreads far beyond the illumination of a shrine table.

Environmental sensitivity – multiple chemical and electromagnetic – and resultant illness requires that I live in isolation, without electricity, phone, radio and all things most people accept as normal and necessary.  I cannot leave this property, and live alone far from family and friends who are all on the other side of Australia or overseas… I see loved one rarely and briefly.  Communication is via snail mail once a week.

I relate this not as a “poor me” exercise; self-pity is necessarily absent for survival in extreme situations, and mine are far from the worst.  I tell you so you might more fully appreciate just how much your work benefits others, far beyond what you might have imagined, and so that you may more fully know – feel – your own goodness.

You bring light to my life in so many ways:
with tealights, to my meditation space;
dinner sticks, to my living space;
bee-utiful notes of well-wishing and gifts, to my heart.

These are not small things.  Rejoice in your goodness!  I do 🙂

With gratitude and loving kindness


and enclosed, two absolutely gorgeous photographs of  bees keeping her company.  The photographs are below (including the captions written on the back of the photo):

bees on shrine

At Deva Vihara (Abode of Angels) the Protector of Bees is always on duty 🙂


bees in birdbath

Thirsty work! In Summer, birdbath becomes beebar…


I find it is interesting all the little ways I’ve changed since I started running my own business.  One of those changes is that I am now often take the time to say ‘thank you’ when someone does something fabulous.  I know that the feedback we receive carries me through the challenging times and assume it works that way for everyone.

for the goodness you bring to the world

And the best bit of all is that it is a win-win.  I know I feel great when I say thanks.  The same rosy glow reflects back knowing that the person on the receiving end of the card or email is going to get a little kick out of it.  Why not give someone a rosy glow this week by dropping them a note, or a card, or an email, or a call telling them how they, what they did, what they make, how they served you, how they treated you made your day.  Or feel free to give someone worthy a shout out by commenting below.

Sweetness & light and all things bright,

Cate xx



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It’s been an amazing few weeks for the girls.  Content just to forage, pollinate and collect nectar and pollen they’ve stepped up their game playing host to media keen to see inside their home and the inner workings of their urban hive… and all without stinging a single visitor!

Our girls have been hard at work making honey for TEDx Sydney and the amazing crowd-farmed food which fed the 2,200 attendees.  This incredible initiative was  put together by TEDxSydney Food Curator, Jill Dupleix, in collaboration with Jess Miller from Goody Two Shoes and Grow It Local, and the team at ARIA Catering. We were chuffed to be a part of it (and so delighted with how the girls rose to the occasion).

First up, a video put together by Tim Brunero showing the actual harvest of the TEDx Sydney honey.  What I particularly loved was that at the start Tim was fully suited and within 10 minutes he had his veil off and hand in the hive tasting the honey… not to mention having a go with the uncapping knife (& tasting more honey), spinning (tasting more honey) and offloading the honey (with a little more tasting).  In the final frames he is crouched in front of the hive like a pro – 120,000 bees in boxes beside him and he, happy as Larry, a foot away.  His childlike enthusiasm and delight seeing inside the hive, watching the bees and tasting their wares reminded me of how I felt the first time I saw in a beehive.  It truly is wonderous.


So enchanted was Tim with the whole experience that he invited me in to the ABC do an interview


You can see the TEDxSydney crowd-farmed food video below

Clearly my neighbours don’t read my blog or watch TEDxSydney videos because I haven’t had a knock on the door yet!  When/if they do, they’ll be rewarded with a jar of Neutral Bay’s finest honey (the taste is enough to silence any critics).

Lovely to be part of this community of urban growers… and proud of the hard work of the girls and their media savvy performance!

Cate xx

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To be honest, posts like this make me feel a little torn.  On the one hand I really dislike being seen to be flogging ‘stuff’ and think that a lot of the problems we’re experiencing in the world are because we have too much ‘stuff’, but on the other hand, I know that people are going to be buying gifts for their mum and if they’re going to buy something then it would be remiss of me as a business owner and Australian manufacturing activist to not remind people that we’re here and we make light and other goodies that are useful, beautiful and that actually has an employment and planetary benefit when bought.

If you’re anything like me, you’re still wondering what to get your mum for Mother’s Day this Sunday (and if your mum is like my mum, she is telling you that she doesn’t want/need anything).  Thankfully my mum loves beeswax candles and still manages to muster a smile when I give them to her (for the umpteenth time)… although I do try to give her variety!

Of course we all know that we should live every day as if it were Mother’s Day/Valentine’s Day/Father’s Day etc, but we get busy and so a day that reminds you to tell the important people in your life what they mean to  you and that you love them is never going to be a bad thing in my books.  [As an aside, I have a (relatively undemonstrative) sister who was living and working next to Ground Zero in New York on 9/11 and since that day every conversation ends with a ‘love you’.  My conversations with mum have always ended that way.  I am very demonstrative (!!) and love that].

Anyway, so this is just a gentle reminder that IF you are looking for something lovely for your mum for Mother’s Day then giving her Australian made, bee-created light would be a really lovely gift.  I reckon it’s pretty difficult to go wrong with the Jam Jar Tealights, our Bee Lights (the Mini-Marilyn, Australian made, holders are one of my favourite things we make) or any of the beautiful candle holders.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mum’s out there – we literally wouldn’t exist without you.

Wishing you sweetness & light and all things bright,

Cate xx (mum to thousands of beeswax candles, surrogate mother to tens of thousands of bees on my balcony and motherer to many friends… and lucky daughter of Joanie B).

The Queen Mother

The Queen’s Mother


Queen B beeswax candles are made with 100% pure Australian beeswax, a pure cotton wick and copious amounts of hand made love. We stock beautiful and stylish candle holderspersonalised candlesvotive candlestealight candles and pillar candles that light up lives, create jobs in Australia, support Aussie beekeepers and the regional communities in which they live and benefit our environment.

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It’s been an exciting week at the hive – a flurry of activity in the lead up to TEDxSydney  AND we’ve negotiated new international shipping rates which finally make shipping Queen B candles around the world affordable.

As I didn’t want to crash the site, my clever web guy loaded the rates in a week ago and we’ve been doing testing for the past week… and reweighing every product so we can ship them as cheaply as possible.  Interestingly, in the 5 days following the new rates being loaded we did as many international online sales as we did in the previous 12 months… just in case you were wondering whether we are genuinely impacted by shipping charges.  In order to get these rates I’ve had to commit to spending $5,000 on international shipping (which is a fraction of what we spend domestically).  So, it is a considered roll of the dice.  If you have friends or family living overseas who you think may be interested, please pass on to them that our shipping rates are now about 1/3 of what they were.

So, with no further ado, I declare Queen B open for business internationally… at far more appealing and competitive rates than we’ve ever been able to offer.  The rates embedded in the website are exactly what we get charged.  Best of all, in all those parcels already making their way across the world is a bulk box of our tealights to light up a wedding in Canada.  You’ve seriously got to love that.

Open for Business



Queen B beeswax candles are made with 100% pure Australian beeswax, a pure cotton wick and copious amounts of hand made love. We stock beautiful and stylish candle holderspersonalised candlesvotive candlestealight candles and pillar candles that nourish the human spirit and our environment.

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