Beatrice Dixon founded The Honey Pot, a plant-based feminine hygiene line created to provide women with healthy alternatives to feminine care in 2014. A radical brand on a radical mission, it also has a radical origin story. It all began with a dream—a dream in which Dixon, who was suffering from bacterial vaginosis in real life, was visited by her grandmother. Her grandmother gave her a list of ingredients and told her what to do them. In a matter of days, the infection was gone, and a business was born.
Today The Honey Pot Company, the world’s first plant-based feminine line, sells feminine care products nationwide at Target, Walmart, Whole Foods, Walgreens and retailers across the U.S., including of course, Vitacost.
Vitacost spoke with Beatrice Dixon to find out what makes her tick, why vaginal health is so important, competition and how making feminine products from organic cotton is a way to come full circle with “blood” cotton—the cotton grown and harvested by black people during the centuries of slavery that formed economic underpinnings of this country.
Vitacost: How did you navigate the challenges of scaling up?
BD: Anytime you decide you want to make something out of nothing, it’s going to be hard. Going from the kitchen to working with contract manufacturers to mass market retail to having to raise money, it’s hard. But you just have to do what you have to do. And it’s funny, because you don’t know how you are going to do it—you just know that somehow you are going to get there. We’ve gone through a lot of stuff to get us to where we are today and we will go through more to get to where we want to get to in the next ten years. If you can’t weather the storms, you have to ask yourself if it is a business to begin with.
Vitacost: What was the biggest surprise of your rise to success?
BD: There’s been so much intention, focus, diligence, and grit that I’m really not surprised by our growth. We have earned it. I don’t say any of this with ego, just that we have assembled a team that really works hard.
BD: The biggest dream that I have is for Honeypot to be a household name in vaginal wellness. I want Honey Pot to be the brand in feminine wellness that’s prominent on the shelf. I want “better for you” to be new conventional. I want Tampax and Kotex and Always to use clean cotton [doesn’t have to be organic]. Because if they all did it, then everybody would have to do it. I want the market to shift to products that are better for people and that actually help them in their daily life.
My biggest dream is that all the conventional players in the world shift their cotton to clean cotton. And shift their cleaning solutions [for their cotton] to also being clean. [Note: Cotton is one of the most chemically intensive crops in the world. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 84 million pounds of pesticides were applied to the nation’s 14.4 million acres of cotton in the year 2000, and more than two billion pounds of fertilizers were spread on those same fields.
The National Wildlife Federation states that “Seven of the 15 pesticides commonly used on cotton in the United States are listed as possible, likely, probable or known human carcinogens by the Environmental Protection Agency. And cotton defoliants are viewed as the most toxic farm chemicals currently on the market.”] I hope that I will see this in my lifetime.
Vitacost: Why is conventional cotton problematic for the body?
BD: A lot of times companies don’t even use just cotton, they use a blend that includes plastics. When all the chemicals that are used to process cotton come into contact with the vagina, which is a permeable mucous membrane, combined with the heat and moisture, you have a perfect storm of conditions. [Any chemicals in a tampon can make it to the bloodstream.] The vagina is a mouth. Anything we put into the vagina will be absorbed into the body.
Vitacost: How is the mission of clean cotton for all a way to reclaim the brutal legacy of black slaves’ forced labor in the cotton fields?
BD: I did a guided mushroom ceremony in Mexico in July of 2022. One of the visions that I had—when I was inside the medicine—may have been one of my previous lives. It was of a woman named Bessie, very strong and stout. She was a slave who worked in the cotton fields. In the vision, she was taking the cotton and planting the cotton back into the ground. She wasn’t putting the cotton back in the ground so it would grow, however, she was putting the cotton back because she knew that the earth was God. Her replanting the cotton was a prayer to say all of this couldn’t have been for nothing. Slavery was a million times worse than we can imagine: The savagery of treating another human being that way … Putting the cotton back in the earth was all she had, all she could do. I understood from her that whatever is going to come from this, whatever we have to do to make it better, shall come to pass. The medicine was helping me understand who I am and who I have always been.
There must be a reason we are having this conversation now. It speaks to a force, much bigger than me and you, that transcends time. I think there is a deep correlation between the work I do and my ancestral lineage. Cotton has blood on its hands, not the cotton itself, but the people who produced it. And cotton is such an important textile, it’s the clothes we wear, it protects our skin, collects moisture and blood, keeps us dry, and helps us to be healthy.
There has to be a way to clean it up. There has to be a way to honor those humans whose blood sweat and tears created the industry that you and I are sitting here talking about today.
Natural feminine care 101
A tipping point has happened in the world of feminine hygeine. The industry now favors sustainable solutions, be it period underwear, menstrual cups, tampons and pads made from clean or organic cotton, and plant-based ingredients over carcinogenic ones. The Honeypot has an extensive range of plant-based products, including washes, wipes, pads, and tampons, all designed to support empowered, toxin-free, vaginal and vulva wellness.
Here are a few tips for getting to a healthy, happy and well-regulated vagina:
Keep your vagina clean
Cotton is queen when it comes to underpants, since it wicks away moisture and keeps your lady parts dry, reducing the risk of bacterial infections.
Choose pH-balanced feminine washes
Your vagina has a different pH than the rest of your skin. Your skin typically has a pH of 5.5, whereas a healthy vaginal pH level ranges from 3.8 to 4.5. A wash designed specifically for your vagina can minimize irritation.
Opt for clean cotton
Toxins discovered in tampons include toluene, xylene, and methylene chloride, as well as pesticide residue, parabens, phthalates, triclosan, and chloroform. Carbon disulfide, a known reproductive toxin, has been found in non-organic tampons using rayon. These amounts are negligible, but they can be bio-accumulative, meaning they build up in your body over time (think 40 years of tampon use) to create what’s called a body burden of toxicity.