PODCAST EPISODE 66: Cate Burton, Founder and CEO of Queen B, Sydney, Australia
Anyone that knows me knows, even before I had a factory space to make all my bee-related products for Ben’s Bees, and even before I had the staff to help me make them, my home was overflowing with handmade bee products. In particular, the kitchen would transform into a candle-making workshop most nights of the week after dinner and candle making would happen late into the night. And although it was hard work, I love making beeswax candles. Making a bespoke candle with the incredible material of beeswax is a special process; knowing that it will be treasured by someone and bring literal light but also a kind of spiritual ambiance to their home space makes it all that much more worthwhile. And while I know that I make a good beeswax candle, I am in awe of the passion and craftsmanship that some candle makers have. Cate Burton from Queen B is one of those special people, and I am delighted to introduce her to my community for episode 66 of the BEES WITH BEN beekeeping podcast.
I met Cate three years ago now, when I popped into her shop in Sydney. And what a delight it was. Queen B makes and sells the most incredible range of 100% Australian beeswax candles and bee-related products; their deigns are unique and their products high-quality. A truly amazing person and an intensely hard worker, Cate came to beeswax candle making over 20 years ago as a form of relaxation to quell the anxieties of her then high-pressure corporate job. This hobby transformed into her incredible business, Queen B: she has now made well over 2,000,000 candles without deviated from her handmade process. In turn, this imperative to make her products by hand extends to beeswax wraps, and Cate was the first person to be making and selling handmade wraps for the Australian market. As she states: “Ultimately, we exist to make a difference by bringing realness & simplicity to your life, in turn helping the planet.”
Behind this seemingly simple, yet hugely profound, business mission lies a passion for beeswax — a material far superior to paraffin, a toxic petrochemical — and an incredible work ethic. Despite arriving at candle making to relax her, Cate’s natural drive means that she now works seven days a week on Queen B. But, as they say, find a job you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life: Cate still loves candle making and finds great joy in using her hands and working with such a special material. Also, she uses the most amazing, mind-blowing, romantic candle making machine that is over 110 years old, weights over two tons, and was made by Kurschner in Germany!
Tune in to hear Cate and I chat about career changes, her love of beeswax, the therapeutic aspect of making candles, Queen B, and her love–hate relationship with her fantastic (yet complex) candle making machine.