One of the oldest moisturizers in the world is honey, and since 2003, local company Sweet Beginnings has produced a collection of Beeline products
When the summer sun dries out our skin, we start to pay special attention to moisturizers. One of the oldest moisturizers in the world is honey, and since 2003, local company Sweet Beginnings has produced a collection of Beeline products—all created with raw honey. But the extra draw of the Beeline products is who makes them: the company offers full-time, transitional positions to ex-inmates. Brenda Palms Barber, Sweet Beginnings’ CEO, started the company to create jobs in a community where there weren’t many opportunities. “If we can’t get people to hire these folks, maybe we could become their employer,” Palms Barber says. She was drawn to beekeeping because it doesn’t require a degree to get started. Since Sweet Beginning’s founding, more than 253 formerly incarcerated men and women have been hired at the company, with less than four percent of employees having returned to prison. And the business is growing: It recently opened two more apiaries in addition to its two existing facilities. Standout products include the Polish & Glow Honey & Brown Sugar scrub ($23), made with natural brown sugar crystals to revitalize skin, and the Replenish & Soften Body Lotion ($21), featuring grape-seed oil, coconut oil and shea butter. You can find the complete line at sweetbeginningsllc.com/shop and various products at Chicago shops including Goddess and Grocer, Greenheart and Whole Foods.