Burt’s Bees plans Asian retail roll-out

Quirky US skincare brand Burt’s Bees is set to open stores across Asia after testing new concept formats in Hong Kong.

The first stores are now trading at Queensway Plaza and Ocean Terminal.

Despite its relative youth, Burt’s Bees is something of an institution in the US. Formed in 1984 in Maine by Roxanne Quimby and Burt Shavitz, Burt’s Bees started out making candles using excess wax from the latter’s honey business, before expanding into soaps and other personal care products using recipes discovered in 19th-century beekeeping books.

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By 2007 they’d given up the candles and were producing some 197 lines including lip gloss, shampoos, baby care lines and outdoor remedies, which were sold in 30,000 retail outlets in the US, UK, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, Ireland and Taiwan among other countries. Late that year, industrial group Clorox reportedly paid US$925 million for the business.

Burt died in 2014 aged 80, but his image lives on, forming a strong backdrop in the Hong Kong stores, which were designed by Sydney-headquartered design house Landini Associates.

Landini has effectively reinvented the brand, repositioning it as a premium product, and paying tribute to the brand’s focus on sustainability and its philosophy “that everything should be for the Greater Good – good for you; good for us, good for all”.

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Two concepts have been created – a standalone store model and a store-in-store created for department stores.

In tandem with the interiors, Landini has redesigned the graphics and communication: signage, ticketing and information graphics often embossed with a playful, iconic bee.

“This is a big step for Burt’s Bees into the highly competitive Asian skincare market, explained a Landini spokesperson. “It will now roll out throughout Asia, South America and Europe.”

Landini is also working on new packaging, designs of which will be released shortly.

  • Photography: Ross Honeysett.

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