is an American businesswomen notable for founding the Burt's Bees
personal care products company with beekeeper Burt Shavitz
Quimby was originally from Lexington, Massachusetts
a daughter of an engineer and salesman father. Although her family was business oriented, she initially took a different path, going to art school in San Francisco
, where she was influenced by the "back to the land" ideas of Helen and Scott Nearing
In 1975 she and her boyfriend George St. Clair moved to Maine
, bought a tract of land near Guilford
, built a cabin and outhouse, and lived a rustic lifestyle.
In 1978, the couple had twins; a little later, St Clair left the family.
Eventually, she met Burt Shavitz and in 1984 began selling candles made of his beeswax at local fairs. After achieving a $20,000 profit the first year,
the business grew steadily; in 1991 it introduced its best received product, a lip balm. In 1993, Quimby bought Shavitz's stake in the company; in 2003 she partially and in 2007 fully divested herself, leaving with an estimated total of $350 million.
After turning Burt's Bees over to outside investors, Quimby used her new fortune to deepen her long running conservation advocacy. The most visible action was the purchase of over 120,000 acres of Maine forest, which she then placed off limits to hunters, loggers, and other users. She has since proposed a donation of 70,000 acres of her land towards a new Maine Woods National Park
, which will put thousands out of jobs. An additional donation of 30,000 acres would be managed like a state park and would allow activities such as hunting and snowmobiling.
As of 2011, she is a resident of Portland, Maine
, where she leads a number of philanthropic organizations in the area.