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Yello Interviews: Terri Henry, Founder of Dominican Skincare Brand ‘Bee Natural’

by Karen Rollins Nov 7, 2022

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Terri Henry, founder of Bee Natural

Dominican entrepreneur Terri Henry has always been enamoured by nature.

She grew up in England but fell in love with Dominica while visiting her grandparents. She eventually moved to the island to focus on her passion for holistic living and set up a business to help people connect to Dominica’s unique natural environment. 

After Hurricane Maria caused widespread devastation on the island, Terri needed a new source of income but wanted to continue sharing her love of health and wellness. She researched and experimented and came up with her own natural skincare brand which incorporates beeswax into various products. 

Terri launched her business ‘Bee Natural’ in 2018, and interest in her natural lip balms, deodorants, body balms and lotions has grown exponentially. 

Yello asked Terri to tell us more about herself and her thriving small enterprise.

Describe yourself in one sentence.

I’d describe myself as enthusiastic, optimistic, caring and determined, as well as being nature-centred, wellness focused, and I smile a lot :-)!

Please tell us a bit about your background.

I was born and raised in the UK countryside – in fact I was born in Salisbury, England and now I live in Salisbury, Dominica! 

I lived with my mum and enjoyed a simple and fun childhood. I remember how my friends and I had freedom to roam and explore outside. I also spent a lot of time with my grandparents, who had migrated from Dominica to England, until their retirement when they moved back home. 

I actually really enjoyed school and that helped me develop a habit of life-long learning.

What were your interests as a child?

I loved to read. I would sit and read all day if I could. I also enjoyed being creative through writing and making a variety of crafts from all types of materials. I also always enjoyed being in nature.

Terri Henry, founder of Bee Natural

What were your initial career plans and how did your career develop?

I always wanted to help people and found myself drawn to health and wellness. As a very young child, I thought I’d be a nurse, but when I was 10, I was given a book on acupuncture, and so alternative therapies became interesting to me. 

When I was in college studying ‘A’ levels, I had a part-time job in a health store, where I loved reading all the manuals and became interested in practicing aromatherapy.

At university, I studied for a bachelor’s degree in sociology and media but worked part-time at the Body Shop, which sold a wide array of natural skincare products, and ran Fair Trade campaigns.

After I obtained my degree, and taught in Dominica for a few months, I followed my heart and went to massage school to become a qualified massage therapist and continued studying the healing arts and permaculture. Then I started a master’s degree in eco-psychology and led forest bathing and nature connection experiences and created a deck of nature affirmation cards. 

I’ve consistently worked to blend natural holistic living into my career paths and that continued to evolve when I started Bee Natural!

When / why did you launch your skincare brand ‘Bee Natural’?

Bee Natural was launched in 2018 after hurricane Maria threw our lives into disarray. Even after the initial recovery we had no internet, no forests, no tourism. I had no business! 

I decided to pivot from the services industry and create a range of natural products. At that time, I also became really interested in bees and beekeeping, but it was not possible for me to start that as a business because it required a large upfront investment, and it would take a long time to reap the economic benefits. With two young children to provide for, I had to start something immediately. 

So, I began creating aromatherapy oil blends which I’d been doing for myself for many years. I then got my hands on some beeswax which gave me a connection to bees, and after months of making lip balms and body balms, Bee Natural was born. 

It’s all evolved very organically since then as I research and develop new products.

Dominican skincare brand Bee Natural

What was the biggest challenge you faced starting the business? How did you overcome it?

We were in a post-hurricane mess when I started this part of my business so that was a real challenge. I continued to offer massage therapy, forest bathing, and freelance writing, alongside the product development, so it took a while before I could put all my energy into Bee Natural. 

There were so many challenges in that phase, but I think it’s something every entrepreneur must face – a test of faith to determine how much you really want it. 

I overcame so many of the challenges simply because I didn’t have an option. I also have a positive vision which inspires me to keep going and I believe divine grace is at work every step along the way.

What products do you currently offer?

I make natural lip balms, natural deodorants, body balms, cannabis balms, body butters, lotions, and candles. 

All Bee Natural products are proudly made with local beeswax which is the featured ingredient in all our products. The beeswax is blended with a wide range of natural oils, plant butters, waxes, herbs and pure essential oils to create the variety of products in the Bee Natural range.

Dominican skincare brand Bee Natural

How is your brand different from other natural skincare products?

Bee Natural is unique in that we create all our products using beeswax from the Nature Island of Dominica. Our wax is pure, chemical-free, and filled with the healing properties of our surrounding nature, and it retains the delicious scent of honey. 

Beeswax is high in vitamin A which helps the skin stay smooth and healthy. It provides a barrier and protects the skin without blocking the pores, so it is ideal for helping to heal cuts, wounds, and scrapes. It is also hypoallergenic and can be used by anyone with sensitive skin and eczema. 

Everything we use in the products is 100% natural and safe for all ages. In fact, our range is practically edible!

The Bee Natural deodorant is a gamechanger for people who want to move away from artificial anti-perspirants with a product that is gentle on their skin but still tough on odour. We provide a solution that works in harmony with your body and keeps you smelling pleasant throughout the day.

All Bee Natural products are inspired by nature, then researched, and vigorously tested. The aim is to have unique and effective products that people are happy to use.

Bee Natural is also more than just a product range. We have a mission to live in greater harmony with nature and we are creating a pollinator garden with beehives and a wide range of flowers, herbs and trees to support our often overlooked, but essential, insect population. We plan to have this space opened as a visitor and training centre in the future.

You are also a nature-wellness mentor, please tell us more about that.

I’m fascinated by the healing power of the natural world and how we can remedy many of our stress-related problems by simply slowing down and taking time in nature. 

As a forest bathing guide, I help people to slow down, look more deeply into nature, and enjoy these meditative moments throughout the day. 

Yes, we do hug trees. When we feel at home in nature, life is very rewarding, and the simple things in life offer great joy.

How will you expand your business over the next 12-18 months?

Bee Natural is definitely expanding. At present we are working to keep up with demand in Dominica and making our way into more Caribbean islands. The plan is to be regularly available in five to 10 other islands within the next year.

We now have two small beehives on the property and plan to have another four to six by next year. We are also expanding the production facility and will be able to offer employment to more people in multiple roles.

What I’m most excited about is our transition to be plastic free with our packaging. We already have a lot of eco-options and in 2023 we will be launching a new type of lifetime container for our deodorants with refill options.

What advice would you give aspiring Caribbean entrepreneurs?

The Caribbean is an amazing place to be an entrepreneur. There are many additional hurdles when living on a small island but there is also a great deal of freedom and an open market to explore.

My advice is to just start! Most of the learning comes when you encounter challenges and must figure out how to navigate and creatively solve them. 

It’s great to have a basic plan but don’t spend years trying to figure out every detail in theory because the progress comes through action. Failure is a necessary part of success.

Be aware from the start that the entrepreneurial field isn’t for everyone. You will be required to have a lot of determination, dedication, and willingness to work hard to succeed. But bringing your vision to life is a worthy endeavour and offers a great feeling of accomplishment.

Dominican skincare brand Bee Natural

What do you love about Dominica?

Dominica has been my true love from the moment we met in 1999. I came to visit my grandparents, and as soon as I took my first breath of the warm Caribbean air, my soul felt at home. 

I love our natural environment with hundreds of shades of green, the quiet beaches, rivers, forests, and the magical hot springs. I love the deep friendships and bonds I have here and the support from my community.

What do you do / where do you go to relax on your days off?

Almost always into nature! My favourite places are the hot springs, beach, river, rainforest, and waterfalls.

What is your motto / philosophy in life?

Be the best version of yourself that you can be in this lifetime. 

Stay strong, healthy, positive and do what good you can for others and this beautiful planet we live on. 

Have faith and enjoy the miracle of life!

You can see the full range of Bee Natural products and order online via – 

Website: www.beenaturalproducts.store

Facebook: www.facebook.com/beenaturalbalm

Instagram: www.instagram.com/beenaturalbalm

TikTok: www.tiktok.com/@beenaturalbalm