Young entrepreneur really knows her beesness
By Ken Childers
It’s not typical for an 11 year old to be a business owner, but Kayleigh Baker of Okemah is not your typical preteen girl. The enterprising 4-H student has already begun to leave her mark on the business world (in this case, the beesness world), and she already knows how she is going to invest her earnings.
“My goal is to save my money and buy my first car. I know having a car is expensive and I want to be able to pay for gas myself,” said Kayleigh Baker.
Kayleigh, the daughter of Gary and Tracy Baker, seems to be well on her way to reaching that goal of car ownership. Over the past few months, her line of beeswax products has generated over $3,000 in sales. And it all started because of her inquisitive nature.
“I started working with bees three years ago with my dad,” Kayleigh said. “I started helping him by feeding the bees, checking the frames, pulling the frames and extracting honey from the frames. It was fun, but really hard work. I had to wake up early in the morning, move heavy boxes, and wear a heavy suit in the heat. Not to mention the bees stung me a few times,” she recalled.
About a year ago, Kayleigh noticed there was a lot of beeswax left over after the honey had been extracted, and wondered what she could do with it.
“I asked my dad if I could start making chap stick with the beeswax,” she said. “My dad said ‘yes,’ but told me I had to go on YouTube and find a recipe all by myself. So I looked and finally found one I liked. We tried it, but it did not work the first time. So we tweaked the recipe until we found one we liked.”
According to Kayleigh, she had to melt the beeswax down to take out the impurities that the bees bring into the wax, and then buy the items needed for the chap stick. “But that is all I can say about that, because I cannot give out all of my secrets,” Kayleigh stated matter-of-factly.
“I made several batches of chap stick in flavors like cherry, mango, pina colada, and spearmint. We started selling the chap stick to friends, family, and neighbors at the Farmer’s Market, Facebook, and Woodyfest. I was surprised that I sold so much and people liked it the way they did,” she added.
Kayleigh entered her chap stick, known as KB’s Bee Balm, in the Okfuskee County Fair and captured first place. She then entered the Oklahoma State Fair, and walked away with second place.
Because the chap stick sold so well, she made product labels, t-shirts and a Facebook page. Her product line was later expanded to include hand balm and insect repellent.
“By adding these products I have had to work on two other recipes, which my dad helped me with. People are now seeing Baker Bee’s Products are more than just honey,” Kayleigh said. “I have sold a lot of my products locally and have them in three local businesses. I have been putting my profits in a savings account.”
Gary Baker said he is “very proud” of his daughter and her budding enterprise. “I’m all for pushing kids and helping them out,” he said. “If she ends up getting a scholarship out of this, that would be great.” Kaleigh’s business name is Baker Bee’s Products, which can be found on Facebook under the name Bakerbees Balm.