The Creatives: Robin Fontaine and Alison Landry of Bee Pure Apiary
ROBIN FONTAINE & ALISON LANDRY
As she sets a large hive frame down on the kitchen counter, it’s easy to the see the marks. Two stings, one on the arm and one on the neck where the bees struck through her protective suit while she pulled 10 pounds of raw honey this morning.
“I do all the sticky work, and it does come with some injuries,” says Robin Fontaine, the mother of the mother-and-daughter team behind Bee Pure Apiary. “But when you pull out a frame like this one and you see that golden glow, it’s all worth it.”
Fontaine’s marks prove that honey harvesting is tough work—the hive boxes can weigh 50 pounds, and the work in summer is a sweat fest—and that one can armor up all she wants in life, but still the unexpected can happen.
Each of the 10 hives managed by this full-time nurse at a home healthcare company and her daughter Alison Landry, a work-from-home mom, produces more than 200 pounds of honey every two weeks. Navigating what to do with all that product has given birth to their creative enterprise and a complete life change for both. Since 2017, they’ve been selling raw honey and natural skincare products like lip balm and night cream at local markets and festivals. Fontaine plans to retire in a year or so to devote more time to the business.
“We want to use everything the bees make, and make it better—
nothing goes to waste,” says Landry. “There’s so much plastic waste in the world, so we created reusable waxed food wraps to encourage sustainability.”
Landry takes the raw honey and wax her mother harvests and makes all of Bee Pure’s products in her home kitchen. Getting up at 4 a.m., she cranks out seven or eight food wraps by hand in an hour, then makes carpool runs and handles marketing and business calls for the company.
“About a year and a half into it, we had some challenges with workflow,” Fontaine says. “Even as a mother-daughter team, you have trust issues until you work through them. Because you have to separate your partnership from your relationship.”
While working on the build-out of an actual workshop, Landry remains in the kitchen and keeps a notebook handy with all of her recipes, product ideas and dreams for the future of Bee Pure. She says she can take on too much at times, but she’s learned from Fontaine how to remain thoughtful about growth without getting stretched too thin.
“I’ve had to overcome my fear of rejection and build confidence to get myself out there,” Landry says. “Mom is great at keeping me from underselling our stuff. Because if you believe in your company’s mission, work and products, you should not be afraid to show it to the world.”