Meet Lucy, founder of ethical, Fair Trade food company Lucy Bee, makers of our favourite coconut oil and our last Wow Women of 2017.
Lucy’s journey began upon a chance meeting with a family friend who introduced her to the wonderful benefits of coconut oil. Since this discovery, Lucy and her team have gone on to source coconut oil from around the world using fair trade suppliers, which means that the farmers and families get a fair price for their produce and the profits are used to fund sustainable products in their communities.
Lucy Bee insists on using recyclable packaging, glass jars and easy peel labels to make everything easy to reuse and recycle and all their products are free from additives and nasty chemicals so they are better for you and the environment.
We sat down with Lucy to ask her some questions on her products, wellness tips and why ethics are so important to her business.
What first got you interested into the benefits of healthy food?
I think being diagnosed as a coeliac at a young age is what made my parents look a lot more closely at ingredients. Naturally this meant that when I was old enough to read and understand what I was putting into my body I did too. I have always taken care of myself and watched out for ingredients I can’t pronounce and I find it really interesting researching into what certain ingredients do to the body as they can sometimes seem so harmless.
What was your dream job when you were younger? Did you ever think you would start your own business?
No, if you’d told me 10 years ago that I’d have a business I would have laughed at you. When I was younger I wanted to work with sea animals in some way – especially dolphins. So yes, you could say my life has taken a different path…
What was the moment you decided to take the leap and start your own business?
Lucy Bee is a family business. At the very beginning, my dad looked after the business side of things and I looked after social media. We knew how incredible coconut oil was and with limited coconut oils on the market we wanted to bring one out which was the best quality you could find – organic, raw, Fair Trade and extra virgin. We were very passionate about it and knew we had a great product that we wanted to share with everyone. At the very start I had my own beauty business (I worked from home doing treatments), and so I did Lucy Bee’s social media on the side. As things developed I had to cut down how much beauty I did and eventually stop altogether, so the leap wasn’t too big and I had the support from my dad and my family.
We are also coconuts for coconut but why was this the first product you launched?
As a family we were introduced to coconut oil by a friend from Hong Kong, there were only a few oils on the market so we wanted to bring out one that was competitive in price but also Fair Trade, Organic, Raw and Extra Virgin. We knew it had so many amazing properties from cooking to beauty and wanted to share them with everyone.
We love that you have such a strong focus on fair trade and charity but how do you ensure you always stay true to your core beliefs?
At Lucy Bee, it comes really naturally to us to support Fair Trade. For us it’s more of a question ‘Why wouldn’t you support Fair Trade?’.
The certification ensures that the farmers and producers are on contracts, receive fair wages and there is no animal or child cruelty plus many other important aspects.
In fact, the place we source our Lucuma and Maca from in Peru weren’t certified Fair Trade so we helped them go through the process of becoming certified which meant we could bring them out as a Lucy Bee product.
We really believe that everyone should be treated fairly and it’s great that we are able to help contribute to communities like in the Philippines we have been able to contribute two wells so the people in the village can have fresh water rather than walking 2-4 hours a day. It’s incredible what you do when you buy a Fair Trade product!
The only products we currently sell which are not Fair Trade are our salts – Dead Sea, Epsom and Himalayan, we have tried but it’s not possible to bring them out Fair Trade, so instead we donate 15p of every tub sold to a charity we work closely with in Malawi called LSU (Love, Support, Unite), this is making a huge difference.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love how much I can get involved with. I look after social media, I go to sales meetings, I meet our stockists, I recipe test with new products, I do demos in shops and meet our customers. Everyday is really different which helps to keep everything fresh.
How do you think technology and social media has changed the way we eat, drink and stay healthy? Do you think it is a help or a hinder?
I think there are many positives to social media. There is so much self empowerment and I love seeing all the content for fitness inspiration and food recipes.
The only negative I would say is to take everything you see with a pinch of salt, you only see a small glimpse of someone’s life, so never use social media to compare yourself to them. If you feel this way then remove the people who make you feel that way. Social media should be used purely for inspiration and positivity.
What would you say to young women who want to start their own business?
Be confident in what you are doing and 100% believe in whatever business you are starting. It’s so simple, but if you are passionate and believe in yourself, then nobody can tell you otherwise or change your opinion. Simply, when you’re passionate about something, you will naturally give it 100%.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Somebody once told me – Always be true to yourself and never do anything you do not feel comfortable doing. Also always talk to someone if you are uncertain with anything and need guidance.
What is your favourite new food discovery? food, product, research etc…
We have recently launched our Creamed Coconut and it’s easily my new favourite product. The lists are endless. Everything you need to know about it can be found here…
What is your go to recipe?
Something easy, nourishing and nutritious that I can cook in one pan with minimal washing up. I love seeing what’s in my fridge and getting creative with different ingredients.
If you could give us one health tip what would it be and why?
Balance is key. Be realistic, eat well, eat nourishing wholefoods but also enjoy yourself!
If you could give us one beauty tip from your book ‘Natural Beauty with Coconut Oil” what would it be and why?
Try the Honey and Coconut Oil Face Cleanser. I always use coconut oil to take my makeup off but this is a little more special and intense. It leaves your skin feeling amazing!
Everyone practices yoga/Pilates for different reasons. When did you start and why?
I started to do yoga properly when my friend and I decided to go on a yoga and Pilates retreat, we did quite a few classes with an amazing teacher but recently stopped. I prefer doing body balance as it’s a little more up-tempo.
Favourite yoga/pilates pose and why?
I’ll be honest and say yoga/pilates isn’t a passion of mine but in saying that, I think I will have to go with the child pose (haha), downward dog and I also enjoyed learning sun salutations.
What are your favourite London hotspots?
I haven’t got a favourite place as there are so many… I love healthy restaurants but I’m also a massive fan of bottomless brunches on the weekend, so I’m always trying out new places that do them!
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Since my childhood my family have travelled to a little island off Florida called Captiva. This is a very special place for me with lots of memories.
City life or country living?
I couldn’t choose one over the other… I’m very lucky that I live in the countryside but can easily commute to London within 20 minutes. This way I can enjoy the hustle and bustle of our capital and also step off the train back at home to fresh country air surrounded by greenery!
What are three things you can’t live without?
Family/friends/pets, sunshine, and coconut oil!
Who is your ‘Wow Woman’?
My mum, she literally doesn’t stop and is always there for all of us!
If you could only live in one item of Asquith clothing what would it be?
A bit of a boring choice but you can never go wrong with a good pair of fitted black leggings!