Beatrice Feliu-Espada is making a dynamic mark in the health and beauty industry as the founder of the first plant-based feminine care line, Honey Pot. After healing herself of her own vaginal issues, Beatrice sought out to create a company with women’s well-being at the forefront. The Honey Pot company provides an alternative to feminine care with products that are free of chemicals, parabens, carcinogens, and sulfates. Last month, I sat down with Beatrice in the Honey Pot office to talk about her journey and the importance of vaginal health. The more we know, the better we can be in taking care of our health and personal hygiene. I am grateful for women like Beatrice who actually care about our healing and take their role on this earth seriously. With education and awareness, we have the power to take control of our bodies.
For the people that are hearing about you for the first time, what inspired you to create the Honey Pot Co.? Where were you in life at that time?
When I started Honey Pot, I was in a very spiritual point in my life. I was making a lot of changes personally and spiritually. I had just made a huge change in my profession; came out of healthcare and kind of was going more into the nutraceutical world. I had just started working at Whole Foods and began learning more about herbs. The reason why I started Honey Pot is that I suffered from almost a yearlong bacterial vaginosis infection. Nothing would work for me that I would try. I went to sleep one night and had a dream with one of my ancestors. She gave me a list of ingredients and told me when I woke up to try it. She knew that I was able to put it together because I had a lot of past pharmacy experience with compounding and stuff. I woke up, wrote down the list of ingredients and basically within that week I tried it. If it was a Monday when I made it, by Friday I didn’t have bacterial vaginosis. That inspired me to make this into a company because I personally knew many women going through it. When you look at the statistics, it says that about 20-30 million women at any given time are suffering from BV or yeast infections that are recurring. I felt like it would almost be disrespectful not to help other women.
What are your top three beauty and body products that you can’t live without?
Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Peppermint soap
Le Labo Santal 33, which is the best perfume in the world.
Honey Pot Feminine Wash. That is actually my number one. I have to make sure my coochie is always on point!
Nowadays, there is a lot more conversation around diet, hormones, and ingredients in products playing a major role in maintaining the proper pH balance for our vaginas. What do you feel are common misconceptions being marketed to women when it comes to vaginal health? Why do you think it’s important to start stepping away from using commercialized products on our vaginas and bodies?
I am going to answer the back part of that first. I think that it’s important to not use commercialized products on our bodies because of just that reason. That word, “commercialized,” implies that it’s more about the bottom line than it is about you. Whether you are using Honey Pot or one of my competitors, all that matters to me is that you are using something that works even if its, not Honey Pot. For some women, they use a bar of dial soap. For other women, they need something natural. One thing that you have to understand is that your skin is an organ. The skin on your vagina is an organ. It opens and closes; it works just like the stuff on the inside of your body. If you are using commercial skincare products on that organ it can make you more susceptible to infections, to irritations, to sensitivities, to diseases, to cancers and things like that. Even though you are using these things and washing them off because its an organ and has pores when they open these products go into your body. It’s about making sure you are using the right skincare so when it does go into your body, it’s not making your body toxic. Instead is is actually doing the opposite, which is non-toxic and adding value to your health. What we use on our skin affects our health as well.
Misconceptions behind that and one in my business are vaginas are self-cleaning ovens. The vagina is a self-cleaning oven; only the vagina is inside your body. The vulva is not self-cleaning. The vulva is topical and external. That would be like saying your underarms are self-cleaning ovens. Well let’s go five days without cleaning them and you are going to smell like a goat. I think that’s a huge misconception. Also, using products on your vagina that was made for your vagina. You wouldn’t take a bar of soap and clean your teeth, right? You would use toothpaste. You wouldn’t take a bar of soap and use it on your face. You use facial wash because the skin on your face has a different PH than the skin everywhere else. It’s the same thing when you are dealing with your vaginal health.
You have to know that when you are talking about vaginal care, the products that you use should have a certain PH to them. They should have certain ingredients in them. It should be able to speak to the immune system that your vagina has. Honey Pot is one of those products that do that because we actually use hydrogen peroxide in our washes. The reason for that is that our vaginas make hydrogen peroxide. That hydrogen that your vagina makes is actually what makes the lactobacillus, the good bacteria that have to live within that yin/yang of bad bacteria. Your vagina is acidic in its nature. I do believe you should eat well and I also believe that just as much as you spend time on eating well, you should make sure that your skin eats well too. And whether that is your vulva skin, the skin on your body or face, it’s very important to make sure to know the types of food that your skin needs to eat. We actually include the PH balance on our feminine washes, which is between 3.5-4.5, that matches what a healthy PH of any vagina should be.
Yes to all of this. I definitely learned a few facts that I wasn’t fully aware of. I feel that as women we need to educate ourselves more when it comes to our bodies in general. What are your thoughts?
Absolutely, I mean the information is out there. At Honey Pot, we are developing a new website right now and we’ll be creating a lot more educational things as we grow and scale. It’s about understanding. Like did you know that the chemical in your vagina was hydrogen peroxide? Most women did not know that. Did you know that your vagina is supposed to have bad bacteria? It’s important to have that balance so that it can keep functioning the way that it functions. The vagina is a mucous membrane. The same thing with our mouths, there is good and bad bacteria in there. Understanding the mechanics behind it and why we have to do the things that we do. Understanding that you need to shower every day and not just wash up in the sink. Understanding that you should not clean your vagina with a washcloth because they are too rough. What also happens are washcloths hold a ton of bacteria. All you need to use are your hands for the front and the back. Make sure when you are cleaning you are getting that space between your vagina and your butt. It is important to know these things. Understanding that you shouldn’t keep your pads, tampons or Q-tips in the bathroom because it is a moist place. Cotton breeds bacteria. These are things that are misconceptions in the world of vaginal health that we have been conditioned to think are normal.
What advice would you give someone that wants to improve his or her personal hygiene yet does not know where to start?
Start by bathing at least once a day. You’d be surprised how many people don’t. Bathing as far as taking a shower and cleaning yourself. Make sure you are taking a full-on shower every day. I honestly recommend twice a day. I believe people should take a shower when they wake up in the morning and then take a shower before going to bed at night. When you have slept, you also sweat, you’ve moved around. Some people wear panties and some people don’t. Even if you didn’t wear panties, you should still clean yourself. At night its important because you have been out all day. You’ve walked around and maybe even had sex. Whatever the case may be, making sure you are at least bathing once a day. If you are taking baths, I would not be doing them every day. Taking a bath would probably be best maybe once a week. Make sure you are adding things like apple cider vinegar to your bath water, or a little bit of baking soda. Don’t be in there trying to add something that can mess you up. Keep your bath simple. If you want it to smell a certain way, add essential oils. Just don’t go too far left.
I just started using Epsom salt in my baths. I don’t know what I’ve been doing my whole life. I should’ve been using it.
Exactly, another thing that’s really gorgeous is pink salt. It’s just expensive. You can go to a farmer’s market and get a nice size container for maybe $2 or $3 dollar. Taking showers and keeping your bath to a certain time. Also if you are taking baths, take a shower beforehand so that you are not marinating in god knows what you have done throughout the day. Another one is carrying wipes or baby wipes with you. If you have your own office, keep some in the bathroom. The reason for that is if you go number two and don’t clean that area properly, like with a wipe or washing yourself up in the sink, you are going to be very susceptible to infection because the residue that is left over lives in the same area. Making sure you have the proper tools to be able to keep yourself clean throughout the day are so imperative.
Ok, it’s probably a good idea to keep a little kit in your bag.
Keeping a little kit is good. If you are a person that sweats a lot or has a lot of discharge, your kit may need to include an extra pair of panties because you do not want to be sitting in wet panties all day or you may need to include pantie liners. If you are going to keep pantie liners, make sure that they are clean cotton. All of these things really matter especially as it relates to our vaginal health.
This is a bit off topic when it comes to discharging. If you have more or less is that a bad or good thing?
It’s not bad or good. It comes from your body. Some women have discharge and others don’t. I don’t discharge a lot at all; maybe I did when I was much younger. Think about it, it’s a mucous membrane. It is just like your mouth. Imagine your mouth being dry. As you age, it gets drier. Just like your eyes, as you get older, your eyes get drier. The vagina is the same way. That goes back to two ingredients that we use in Honey Pot, which are Shadow and Marshmallow root. Both of those are mucous membrane enhancers. Are they making you moister? No. But they are helping your body to make itself moist. Now does the discharge have a color, does it have an odor and is it fishy? That’s when you need to get checked because that’s not normal.
What are you most excited about for the future of The Honey Pot Company?
I’m most excited about the level of scale and accessibility to the women that buy our products. Right now, you can only buy our products at one major retailer, which is Target. If you live in the Southeast, you can go to Whole Foods. Right now you can’t buy at Whole Foods because we just made a change with our EPC codes and we have to wait for them to update that in their system.
We can barely keep our hands on the pulse with inventory. It’s a good problem to have. One of my investors just told me, “ You never want to be able to keep up with your inventory.” If you are keeping up with inventory then there’s a fuckin problem. You are not scaling. Either you have a lot of money or you’re not selling the way you need to sell. You don’t necessarily want to keep up with it, but you don’t want to be too far behind it. It’s almost like a rabbit chasing a carrot. I am really excited about the new products that we have. Our goal is really to go into every place within that feminine care aisle. I am excited about creating accessibility for our end user cause that is the most important thing. If she can’t buy it then none of this matters. I just want to make really dope products that work for women.