Quote from Burt’s Bees by Burt Shavitz: “No one has ever accused me of being ambitious.”
Producers: Jean Du Toit, Phyllis Laing, Isabella Rossellini, and Jody Shapiro
Director: Jody Shapiro
Cast: Burt Shavitz
Running Time: 1 hour and 22 minutes
Burt’s Buzz takes a little while to get to buzzing speed, but when it does it’s a feel good (in a roundabout kind of way) documentary from start to finish. It’s the life story of Burt Shavitz who was the co-founder of Burt’s Bees with Roxanne Quimby. What began as a humble business in the 1980s turned into a highly profitable business by the 1990s, and was sold for 925 million dollars in 2007. There was a weird dynamic between them as the company grew. I had mixed feelings about Roxanne, but I couldn’t fault her for her vision of expansion. I had even more mixed feelings for Burt because I didn’t identify with some of his personality traits and life views. Let’s just say I’m not sure if I would’ve handled his loss as he did. Let’s also say Roxanne didn’t need to be so greedy. The documentary divides itself between Burt’s past and present, but always driving the point of gain and loss whether it be his love, family, money, bees, dogs, safety, and trust. He may not have recaptured his youthful past or found the love of his life in the end, but there’s no mistaking every life decision he made was authentic. He could’ve had the money, fame, and all that comes with it long before he created Burt’s Bees. He parted way with it once, and maybe this is why it wasn’t as hard to imagine it not being his when it was gone the second time. Being the face of Burt’s Bees, he continues on. He was 80 years old when he died in 2015. Let’s just say when I put on my hand salve, as shown below, it’s not Quimby I give the credit to for this brand. The passion belonged to Burt and Burt alone.