When inspiration hits, we often don’t know what the idea will become. Is it a fleeting thought? A new hobby? Or a future business? For Michael and Christina Zink, what started as a simple hobby quickly turned into a business that neither of them can see how they ever lived without.
In 2012 life hit the Zink family in a way that many Americans are all too familiar with as Michael was injured on the job and had to retire from his full-time job. While reading through Our State Magazine, he came across an article about a successful N.C. beekeeper and decided he would like to give it a try. “At first I was totally against the idea of getting bees,” said wife Christina, “and I laugh about it now because I honestly have no idea where we would be without them.” Both Michael and Christina quickly fell in love with the bees and their journey as N.C. bee farmers and local product makers began.
Sleepy Bee Worx, located in Franklinville, was established in 2019 with a mission to provide high-quality products made out of beeswax to consumers. “We originally started out by just selling honey and I experimented with soap making, teaching myself how to do it within a year,” Christina said, “thankfully bees wax is very versatile and very forgiving, allowing you to mold it in many shapes and sizes to perfect the overall look & feel.” Today, the company offers a variety of products, including soaps, candles, bath bombs, lip balm, dog shampoo and more. “The bath bombs are the most recent addition to our product offerings and they are without a doubt the hardest to make,” said Christina, “the weather not only plays a big role in how and when they are made, but I also had to experiment for a while to get the perfect recipe that would allow them to stick together.” Although all their products are valued and loved by customers, their best sellers are the candles and honey.
A typical day at Sleepy Bee Worx starts with Christina walking through the hives to check on the bees and make sure they are taken care of. “They know you,” she said, “they are very aware of who is taking care of them and making sure they are fed.” Beyond that, no two days are the same. Depending on product orders, Christina will fill her days with wax melting, soap making, checking store inventory, collecting orders and shipping them to consumers. Her soap-making process starts in the evening by setting up batches and preparing the ingredients for her recipe. “Soap is made with a mixture of oils, butters and lye,” she said, “then I add the beeswax, separate it to add color and put it into the molds.” Inspiration for new soap varieties and color patterns often comes to her through the changing colors of the world around her and other soap makers. “I love experimenting with the soaps and just making them in general because they are my personal favorite product that we sell,” she said, “they were the first real product that we ever made, so they will always hold a special place in my heart.”
Although pest control can prove very difficult for a bee keeper because many things can destroy a hive, Michael wouldn’t trade his hardest day for the joy he experiences by watching the bees interact and communicate with each other. “They truly are amazing animals to watch because they are incredibly hard workers,” he said, “I am constantly learning new things about them and this industry.”
Products from Sleepy Bee Worx can be found online at their website or in a variety of stores across the state, including Triad Bee Supply, Asheboro Animal Hospital, Blue Horseshoe Antiques and Collectibles, S & L Natural Foods and Dejavu Salon. If you are looking for a holiday gift for a family member or loved one, Christina also offers custom-made boxes for any occasion, including the holidays. Choose from your favorite scents, color patterns and product offerings to customize the perfect box for that special someone. Michael and Christina can also be found at the N.C. Zoo educating the public on the life and importance of bees to our state’s agriculture industry.
In the future, Michael and Christina are looking for ways to expand their farm in a way that allows them to interact with and educate the community more on bee keeping. “We have a lot of acreage here on our farm,” Christina said, “so we would love to one day operate in a way that not only allows customers to come and visit us here on the farm, but also interact with the bees, learn how to care for them, make their own soaps and truly live a day in the life of a bee keeper.”
You can find products like these and more from our Got To Be N.C. members on our website at www.gottobenc.com and don’t forget to shop local for all your needs this holiday season!