Fond Farewells Flood Twitter After Death of Burt’s Bees Co-founder

Burt Shavitz, 80, was an artisanal marketing pioneer

Burt's Bees cofounder Burt Shavitz has passed away at the age of 80, and fans of his quirky brand are flooding social media with remembrances.

Shavitz was the namesake and face of the brand he launched 31 years ago in Maine with Roxanne Quimby, who teamed with the bearded beekeeper to develop personal care products—most notably tubes of lip balm and tins of hand salve.

His weather-worn face, thick beard and train conductor's cap were core to the company's logo as well as emblematic of its place in American business history as a pioneering artisanal marketing player. Burt's Bees later moved to Durham, N.C., and eventually sold for $925 million to Clorox in 2007. 

The brand has sometimes been perceived as "hippie niche," yet its cultural impact had often been underestimated: #BurtsBees trended nationally on Twitter this morning as news of Shavitz's death spread. His products clearly had countless, loyal fans.

Lastly, Twitter being Twitter, there were many folks who—instead of tweeting something solemn—authored corny, pun-fueled jokes. But you never know. The famously enigmatic Shavitz may have found a few of them amusing, and the diverse nature of the reactions to his passing seem to point to the footprint he left in the marketplace more than anything else.