Third-grader Susannah Poese spends some of her free time melting bee’s wax with a combination of other natural ingredients to make lip balm.
Susannah was only 6 when she began raising bees at her parents’ State College home and using their wax to make the product.
Two years later, the Easterly Parkway Elementary schooler is running a successful business out of her home, called Ivy League Lip Balm.
The slogan, her mother Kelly Poese said, is “avoiding college loans one tube at a time.”
“This is her project, where she makes the lip balm, markets and sells it and it goes into her college bank account,” Kelly Poese said.
“College is expensive so I’m starting to save,” Susannah said, as she joked that although she lives in Lion Country, she wants to go to an Ivy League school.
And selling about 50,000 tubes could pay off four years at Harvard, father Matt Poese said.
About two years ago, Matt Poese, a research scientist at Penn State, began raising bees in his backyard with his daughter. From there, the two thought it would be “cool to do something with,” the bee’s wax, he said.
After researching different recipes and testing batches for the perfect lip balm combination, Susannah came up with nearly two dozen different lip balm flavors that she sells online, at arts and craft fairs around the State College area, and to tailgaters before Penn State football games.
Flavors are named after personal experiences and include bubblegum, watermelon, fizzy pop, orange and spearmint.
One flavor is called Charlie’s Cinnamon Rolls — named after a guy at Camp Fitch in North Springfield, who she said makes “awesome cinnamon rolls.”
“When he found out a flavor was named for him, he told Susannah, ‘how much would $100 buy me?’ and wanted to buy them all,” Kelly Poese said.
In addition, the labels are also handcrafted by Susannah, who sometimes gets help from her 5-year-old sister, Maddy Poese.
Susannah uses a press to separate the honey from the wax before melting the wax in a pot with coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, Stevia natural flavor, vitamin E and flavor oil.
The process takes about an hour-and-a-half. Each batch makes about 50 tubes of lip balm.
“I think it took five times to perfect,” Susannah said. “But I really got it down now.”
However wax is only produced a few times a year with peak seasons in the spring in fall.
Susannah said if she could recommend flavors, they would be watermelon and bubblegum.
“Those are the best and most popular,” she said.
For more information, visit www.etsy.com/shop/IvyLeagueLipBalm.
— Britney Milazzo