story by Dennis Hollier
photo by Gerlinde Gorla
When Anthony and Gwen Maxfield moved into their Pupukea home eighteen years ago, there were already bees on the property and it seemed perfectly natural for Anthony to step into the role of beekeeper. Thus began an apiary relationship that culminated last year when the Maxfields and their friend, Christina Sirlin, formed a new company: Honey Girl Organics.
It was eight years ago that Gwen first noticed an unexpected advantage to working with bees. “I had cut the cappings off the combs to harvest the honey,” says Anthony, “and I was wringing them out to get as much honey as possible.” Afterward, Gwen remarked on how soft his hands felt, and asked him to make her a cream for the same effect.
Today Honey Girl offers a full line of moisturizers and lotions, with most of the ingredients coming from the twenty hives behind Gwen’s and Anthony’s house. Beeswax is a natural moisturizer and emollient. Honey soothes and softens the skin. Bee pollen is rich in nutrients. Propolis, a waxy product that bees make from the sap of evergreens like ironwood and ‘ohia, is a natural antiseptic. And royal jelly, the enzyme-rich food of the queen bee, is thought to have age-reversing qualities.
For the Maxfields, the “naturalness” of their ingredients is the whole point. “Pick up a jar of skin cream at the drugstore,” Anthony says. “It’s packed with glycerin, mineral oils and other processed chemicals.” Everything in Honey Girl products is edible, he stresses, and, “it’s as close to nature as you can get.”
“Anything you put onto your skin gets absorbed into your bloodstream,” says Christina. “This is how birth control and Nicorette patches work.” And it’s why Honey Girl only uses nutritious, organic ingredients.
But Honey Girl is more than a business—it’s also a love story. “This was an opportunity to spend more time with my wife, to do something together,” says Anthony. “She liked my soft hands.” At which Gwen smiles sweetly and adds, “I think the best part of the story is that he made it for me.”
Honey Girl Organics