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Monday, March 30, 2015

Creating a Buzz

Hummer and Son backs new honey-supported business


To her friends, Tracey Prator is a well-known beegan, a term that she first thought she invented because of her love for honey and a healthy lifestyle.

Though the term is mostly known on a national level, this local beegan is merging her two loves to whip up a new business backed by Hummer and Son called Bee Hippie.

Bee Hippie products will make its local debut at the Texas Avenue Makers Fair on April 11. Prator will offer lip and hand balm, whipped hand and foot cream and foaming hand and body wash. Scents range from lemongrass to lavender and cinnamon.

“I’ve always been interested in a natural healthy lifestyle and the past year or so, due to some health issues, I’ve really turned it around. I started reading about all of the benefits of honey and started taking honey every day,” she said.

Prator said she was friends with Hummer and Son owner Billy Hummer and started working for him as a parttime bookkeeper.

“While working for him, I really began to study the business and really just got interested in Googling everything that you could do with honey. And I started learning about the benefits of putting honey on our skin,” she said.

“Everything that we put on our skin is absorbed into our body. Sometimes 60 percent or more of what you put on ends up in.”

After doing her research, Prator approached Hummer about her business plan.

“He said he would do better than [just back me] and put Hummer and Son behind it,” Prator said. “One of the reasons he jumped on board was because he was tossing around the idea of adding a lip balm and hand cream himself. So when I presented this to him, he was really on board.”

Prator starting working full time on Bee Hippie in January and uses Hummer and Son’s honey and/or beeswax in the formula of the products.

“Taking [honey] internally helps with allergies, but on our skin it is antimicrobial. It helps with germs. I really think that it has a lot of skin repairing agents,” she said.

Since mastering the formula for her products, Prator passed out samples all over Shreveport- Bossier City to get early feedback on Bee Hippie products.

“I love that I’m sharing it with people,” she said.

“Everyone just really seems to love it. I have not gotten any negative feedback on it, even from people I didn’t know.”

Prator brought in a focus group made up of fans of the Hummer and Son Facebook page.

“They all agreed to meet and test [the products] and send the evaluation form back anonymously, and it was all positive,” Prator said.

She said she also shares it with male coworkers at the farm. She said even Hummer himself enjoys the unscented lip balm and hand balm.

“The hand balm is healing and repairing to me because I feel the effects of the skin-softening agents long after I wash off the products,” Prator said. “It’s not just masking the problem of dry skin, it’s actually helping it, and I’ve read about the healing effects of it.”

She said all the ingredients are products familiar to customers.

“Every product has less than six ingredients in it,” she said. “They are all things that you would recognize in them. Not that you would want to eat our products, but they would be safe to eat.”

Prator said both she and Hummer wanted to keep the price point affordable.

“[The price point] is the best part,” Prator said. Prices range from $3 to 20. “I’m a single mom and I live on a budget so I wanted this to be affordable to everyone.”

Prator said she is still working on scents and products and hopes to have Bee Hippie available to customers at local retailers – but couldn’t mention any specific locations.

Prator said Bee Hippie is work that she loves to do and is proud to be the hippie that she is known as to family and friends.

“I take [being called a hippie] as a compliment,” she said. “I lead a very natural, carefree lifestyle. I’m very relaxed and I’m all about helping people and animals. I love to help people.”


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