The buzz is building for a Peninsula business creating simple, practical and pretty alternatives to singe-use items and its founder is among the best young entrepreneurs in the province.
Katie Gamble founded Nature Bee, a beeswax wrap company, while finishing her degree at the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business in 2018.
Born and raised in the region, Gamble grew up in Saanich and started producing beeswax wraps using locally-sourced, eco-friendly materials in her parent’s basement.
“I always knew that wherever Nature Bee went, its key pillars of sustainability, impact, community and education would be central. I took this idea from pitching it in a classroom with my peers, got hands on making wraps and attending markets, and today our products are in over 300 retail stores,” Gamble said.
It has blossomed to full-scale production on Veyaness Road in Central Saanich.
Gamble is a finalist in the best youth entrepreneur category of the Small Business BC Awards for leading sustainability initiatives.
“It’s truly a pinch-me moment every day and I couldn’t have done it without the support of our customers, my team and my family,” she said.
Alongside the positive impact of the products on the environment, the company is building partnerships with sustainability in mind.
Nature Bee works with Mamas for Mamas, which helps families struggling with poverty-related issues, and eco-conscious groups such as Surfrider Vancouver Island to protect oceans and beaches through donations and beach clean-ups.
Last year, Nature Bee worked with organizations big and small to help them achieve their goals and donated more than $15,000.
“Our community is always looking for more sustainable swaps, which led to our product line growth to include items such as Swedish dishcloths and concentrated cleaning tablets. For us, product line growth directly translates into impact. The more items we can find sustainable alternatives for, the more positive impact we can have on our planet. In 2022 alone, using our concentrated cleaning tablets to refill has diverted 50,000-plus single-use bottles from landfills,” Gamble said.
The last year has been dedicated to building Nature Bee as a brand, earning recognition with the Business Impact Award from Small Business BC, Rising Star Award from BC Women of the Year, 10 to Watch with Douglas Magazine, and Ecopreneur of the Year with the Synergy Foundation.
“It gives you an opportunity to reflect on what you’ve accomplished as a business and what you want to accomplish in the future,” she said of the accolades.
This is the 20th Small Business BC Awards, with 613 nominations across 84 communities. To select the finalists in each category, more than 74,000 votes were cast, then a panel of business experts narrowed the nominees to 18.
Winners will be announced at an awards gala June 2 and winners of each category receive a $10,000 prize.
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