Windsor Premier: Windsor woman’s hobby turns into successful at-home business | MyWindsorNow.com
Trevor Reid
For Windsor Premier

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Windsor Premier: Windsor woman’s hobby turns into successful at-home business

As she was ordering all-natural soaps online one day, Janice Hubbs thought to herself, "I bet I can make my own."

With the help of some instructional books and positive feedback, it wasn't long before the retired Windsor resident started a new business: BeesBody.

"I've always had a lot of hobbies. I've painted; I've quilted; I've done a lot of stuff. I just dive in with two feet and go from there," Hubbs said.

Before her retirement, Hubbs worked as a bookkeeper, so she was familiar with the paperwork needed to keep a business running. She started making soaps and expanded to include skin creams, lotions, body butters, shampoo bars and even beeswax candles.

"I try anything," she said with a laugh.

Hubbs operates BeesBody entirely out of her Windsor home, selling products online. As her business expands, she's remodeling her house to consolidate the shelves of soaps, candles and gift boxes into one space. She has customers from across Colorado, Wyoming and even a regular from Nebraska.

"I sell a lot of soap online. I have people that this is the only soap they'll use," Hubbs said.

Hubbs creates her all-natural soaps using an old-fashioned lye method, which requires letting the soap settle for a month. Her son Darrell helped Hubbs speed up parts of her business by creating things like a soap cutter and a wick-holder for the candle molds.

"That's been helpful. He comes up with brilliant ideas," she said.

Hubbs also credited her daughter Brenda with a popular wooden gift crate that comes with a purchase of four bars of soap. The small, simple crates were an instant hit.

"I went to a show, and people were buying four soaps just to get the crate," Hubbs said.

BeesBody regularly adds new products as Hubbs experiments with different body care products. One product she recently learned how to create and package was a clay face mask.

"My face had a lot of face masks that day," Hubbs said.

As much as she loves to experiment, Hubbs plans on keeping her products all-natural. She said people want ingredients they're familiar with.

"They're tired of all the additives. They're not trusting when they buy stuff anymore," she said. "They're reading labels."

After her husband died of leukemia, Hubbs moved to Fort Collins from Lander, Wyo., looking for something new. As students in Fort Collins began to buy townhouses and the older population started moving out, Hubbs said she could tell the dynamic of Fort Collins was changing.

"I could just see the changes coming, so I ended up here," she said.

She's taken her products to gift shows and markets in Colorado and Wyoming. BeesBody has been picked up by smaller retailers before, Hubbs said, but most of them come and go.

"To really do wholesale successfully, you have to get it in some big shops," she said. "My fear is I would get it in a big shop, and they would say, 'we want 10,000 bars.'"

Even though it would probably be possible to manufacture at that scale, Hubbs explained, she prefers the control she has making smaller batches. She tries out her products personally, even testing hypoallergenic products on her "hyper-allergic" sister.

"If she doesn't break out, nobody's going to break out," Hubbs said.

One of the trickiest parts of the job — and one she didn't see coming — was naming her products. With the wrong name, people aren't enticed to pick up and smell something. Sometimes simplicity is key.

"Country Fresh — I thought it was very clever — but it didn't seem to sell. It had a frankincense and myrrh scent, so I just called it Frankincense and Myrrh, and it sells," she said.

Before her retirement, Hubbs said she never expected to be running a business, much less a business based around a new hobby.

"You just never know what's going to happen that gets you in a different path sometimes."

More on BeesBody

WEBSITE: http://www.BeesBody.com

PHONE: (970) 460-6751

Look for BeesBody at the Windsor Farmers Market from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursdays from June 29-Sept. 28 at Boardwalk Park, 115 5th St.