Celeste Faltyn knows a thing or two about beauty and bees. As the founder of Apiary Made, a natural beeswax and honey health and beauty brand, she is passionate about educating others on the power of bees and their contribution to our living world.
She is a firm believer in ethical beekeeping, and she’s also an advocate of sustainable skin care. Her Apiary Made skin care range is made from Jelly Bush Honey, an antioxidant-rich, healing, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial powerhouse ingredient.
How did you get involved in beauty and skincare?
I have always had sensitive skin, so growing up, I was constantly hunting for gentle products that were natural and effective. I had obtained significant scarring after a vehicle accident when I was younger and none of the products available at the time had helped with my scarring. When I found Jelly Bush Honey, I was amazed by its healing powers for wounds, and it was great to finally find a natural product that could help with scarring. I started thinking about using Jelly Bush Honey for a skincare range, and I was at a crossroads professionally, so it seemed a natural progression to start creating something myself and make the product I couldn’t find elsewhere.
Where does the name Apiary Made come from?
Ha… It came about after many, many hours, days and weeks throwing ideas around for a name that reflected the boutique and handmade nature of the products we were creating, and that reflected the contribution of the bees in our apiary. It really was a tough thing to find; a name that communicates what you do, who you are, and one that you’re not going to tire of. I suspect I wore some friends’ patience a little thin asking their thoughts on every possible combination of words relating to bees and making! It seemed obvious once I’d landed on it.
How important are bees?
I cannot in anyway overstate the importance and contribution of bees, not only to the ongoing health of Apiary Made as a business but the bigger picture. The health and prosperity of the human race relies on bees. It may sound like I’m aggrandising our bee friends, but they really are such an essential cog in the wheel of life. The pollinate up to two-thirds of our food crops and are the only insect to provide humans with a food source. As Einstein said, “If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man (humanity) would only have four years left to live.” Sadly, bee populations are under threat with climate change, the use of pesticides, monoculture farming and disease.
What has business been like since launching in 2015?
It's been one surprise after the other. Apiary Made is not my first business, but it is undoubtedly my first in this sector, so the learning curve has been steep and it still continues to be. I'm not a superstitious person, but there seems to have been lots of serendipitous happenings along the way that have made it work and made it fun. From learning about Jelly Bush Honey on a program that I wouldn't ordinarily have watched, to the right instrumental staff coming along, to meeting the right people by accident. We have come a long way in a short time and we've done more than we thought we would, so hopefully, now we can maintain that.
What does an average week in your shoes look like?
There is rarely an average week! Much of my time is spent at our factory overlooking the Yarra Valley, but on any given day I could be making, marketing, working on new products or working with the team. On other days, especially during spring and summer, I spend more time with the bees. I also spend quite a bit of time travelling to local markets and interstate to trade shows and maker’s markets.
Why are sustainable and natural ingredients so important to you?
I care so much about using natural and sustainable ingredients because I know, first hand, how much better for your health and the environment. I believe that we don’t need synthetic products to achieve the health outcomes we’re after, it just doesn’t make any sense to me. Synthetic chemicals seem counterproductive to health and wellbeing. In terms of what it means for the environment and the other things living on the planet, I don’t think I or we, as individuals, have a right to disrupt the future health and livability of the earth. I do what I can in my personal life and business to leave as little disturbance as possible.
You are dedicated to ethical beekeeping. Why do you feel so strongly about it and what should others know about bees?
There are two main reasons why I care so much about ethical beekeeping. First and foremost, the welfare of the bees is important. I have always been an animal person, and the care, happiness and health of my bees are paramount, not only to me but to the productivity of the apiaries. Secondly, bees are such a fundamental pillar of the food cycle, as they pollinate up to two-thirds of our food, so we must take care of them. We are lucky here in Australia, but the population of bees is diminishing worldwide due to a few factors, many of which are human created. Bees are very clever and diplomatic, working together in an incredible manner. We could learn a lot from how their society works.
What is the Honey of Hope Project?
The Honey of Hope Project was one of the first elements of the business that I designed. I try to stay aware of my privilege, which means I donate to good causes whenever I can. I am a business person, and the best way I know how to give is to create a successful business that in turn has some means to donate. The reason we chose Heifer International, is because they 'empower people to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity' by providing animals such as goats, chickens or honey bees as a source of food and a sustainable, and reliable income for people in need. These families then 'pass on the gift', giving the first female offspring of their animal to another family.
What are your goals for Apiary Made?
I would really like to see Apiary Made accomplish four main goals. The first is to help raise the awareness of bees and their plight because we are lost without them, and education is one of our business pillars. We also want to spread as much of our product around the world as we can, as it’s a sustainable way to reduce plastic waste while providing people with a luxurious and effective skincare range. If we can achieve that last goal well, it will also mean that we can continue to donate to Heifer International on a larger scale. We are also looking at environmental projects and studies that we can donate to via a new product range we are in the process of designing… watch this space. Lastly, I want to create a great business for our team to work in and to create more jobs if I can. I worry a little about the growing wealth divide and casualisation of work in Australia, so if I can create a sustainable and robust business, this would mean a lot.
Slow beauty is all about positive change. What are you trying to teach the modern woman?
Steady change is sustainable change, and slow beauty is about having an awakening and positive impact. But to change anything in our daily routine or lifestyle, we need to be able to see the benefits. Modern life is complicated, to say the least, and a woman’s products should support her, and be, at their most basic, healthy. Apiary Made helps the modern woman see there are positive alternatives to support her health, beauty and lifestyle; that to achieve her health outcomes there are more options than the existing products that can be harmful to herself or the environment. We simply want to educate modern women through the incredible boundless beauty of the beehive.
To learn more about the power of bees or shop the Apiary Made range of sustainable skin care, beeswax wraps and lifestyle products, head to apiarymade.com.au.
Interview by Rachael Bouley.
The Fashion Advocate x