Z +Bee co. was founded in 2014 by Nick and Brittany Zwart with a passion for honeybees. Over the last 7 years, we've grown from small hobbyist beekeepers, to creative entrepreneurs using our beeswax as a natural alternative to chemical finishers in leatherwork and bag-making.
We believe that bee health is foundational to the cycle of life, and caring for creation is beneficial for all of us. We also believe that using Canadian sourced leather and hardware is an important step in supporting our economy and other passionate creators and small businesses.
There's a lot of conversation around leather vs "vegan" leather in today's culture. We've chosen to work with animal leather for one very simple reason: it is not plastic. Leather is made from the skins or "hide" of different animals - from cows and goats to snakes and buffalo. We use cowhide leather.
There is a myth that, somehow, synthetic materials like spandex, PVC leathers or "vegan" leathers, polyester, et al are somehow more environmentally friendly materials in the fashion industry. The truth is that, at their base, these fibres are made up of plastics - which do NOT biodegrade.
And while the leather industry is not perfect, by any means, we do recognize that leather craftsmanship is a form of art. Leather products are built to last. They stand the test of time in a way that synthetics cannot.
BEHIND - THE - SCENES
In 2017, our son was born 7.5 weeks premature. Two weeks later, he was diagnoses with Trisomy 13, a rare genetic disorder that means he has three chromosome 13s instead of the normal two. He wasn't expected to live beyond the first month. After 125 days spent in the NICU and Paediatrics units, Joseph was finally able to come home. He is the inspiration and motivation behind our dreams and drive to succeed.
Interested in learning more? Please contact us! We would love to hear from you.
Nick grew up on an orchard in St. Thomas, Ontario. His passion for growing fruits and vegetables, and taking care of his bees and chickens is integral to his lifestyle. His favourite things include his wife + son, two dogs, and LEGO Batman.
Maker + Mama Bear
Brittany loves to create - she has always loved working with words and textiles. When not sewing, or being a mom, she can be found in the gardens cutting flowers and photographing bees. She loves plants, cooking, and pretty fabric.
Trisomy 13 Superhero
Joseph is our one-of-a-kind, odds defying, super-kid. He has a genetic disorder called Trisomy 13, which makes him pretty rare and pretty amazing. He's the happiest kid, who loves being outside farming with Mom + Dad.