Lucy Bee is a name most of us associate with one of the most popular coconut oils on the market but Lucy Bee is much more than just a coconut oil. At 25-years-old, she is co-founder of a rapidly growing business which has taken off as we’ve all started to swap our vegetable oil, hair products and face creams for the mighty coconut.
But it was her sensitivity to gluten, diagnosed when she was just 18-months-old, that gently started the ball rolling for her health food business: “I don’t like to say that I ‘suffer’ from coeliac disease,” Lucy says. “I think it’s positively affected my life because it’s made me passionate about nutrition and healthy eating.”
When she was growing up Lucy would get food envy when her friends had birthday parties because she couldn’t eat any of the cakes and biscuits. But her mum and dad, who she says are brilliant cooks, would always ensure they had a gluten-free recipe up their sleeves so she never felt left out.
“My parents had to completely change their way of eating as they always had to check labels, ingredients and research foods for me,” she explains. “This made them very aware of what we put in our bodies as they have always had to cook from scratch and buy organic where possible.”
Lucy’s dad, and now business partner, founded the brand when he was introduced to unrefined coconut oil while importing other foods for Lucy’s diet. He was amazed by the product’s versatility. Lucy recalls: “When my dad first asked me to handle the social media, I responded by saying, ‘Dad, nobody will be interested in following a coconut oil jar!’. How wrong was I? Parents always know best!” she laughs.
The young entrepreneur now understands just how powerful brands can be when they engage with their consumers. Lucy says: “For us, it’s so important that we’re always educating people and making sure they are getting the most out of their coconut oil.”
As part of this, her day-to-day beliefs in ethical and sustainable living are core to the brand and its message. The oil has Fair Trade status because she pays 10% more for her coconuts to support the communities she buys from. Already this has helped pay for clean water wells, school scholarships and solar power for homes in places such as the Philippines.
Lucy recently travelled to the Dominican Republic to find out for herself how Fair Trade support their workers. “I will always attempt to seek out a Fair Trade product over one that isn’t. When buying a Fair Trade product, you’re making a huge difference to somebody else’s life at no extra cost to you,” she says.
Despite the product’s success, Lucy is extremely modest, giving credit to her team and her parents: “We’ve grown to a team of eleven since our first day and I wouldn’t change it for the world, apart from maybe moving offices – we’re still all working in a room at my parent’s house!”
It’s not surprising that the business has needed to hire more people, the Lucy Bee range has extended its products to superfood powders to now include cacao, cinnamon, turmeric, maca, epsom salts, Himalayan salt and Dead Sea salts. Plus with a beauty book due to launch in July and a second cook book out in September, Lucy is going to be very busy indeed.
But it’s a challenge she’s excited to take on: “It never feels like work or a chore as we are all very passionate about the products we sell.”
With such a positive attitude and strong identity for what she stands for, Lucy has a promising career in front of her. Lucy Bee’s name may be synonymous with coconut oil now, but it’s likely to be a drop in the tropical ocean as to what her name could achieve in future.
Lucy’s coconut hacks:
- I use it as a makeup remover (it even takes off waterproof mascara)!
- As a spread instead of butter – this is also perfect for people who are gluten or dairy intolerant.
- I put a teaspoon of coconut oil in my coffee.
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