Burt’s Bees-HVR collab: Testing a big idea in small batches

Technical Services team members Veronica Villalovos, Sean Gooby, Lorinda Price, Rosa Councell and Toni Lynch show their pride (and relief?!) after making more than 8,000 of the Burt’s Bees-Hidden Valley Ranch lip balm tubes by hand.  

In a relatively nondescript building 30 miles from Oakland, California, a concept was coming together that was two years in the making. Our new Burt’s Bees-Hidden Valley Ranch Dippers — a basket of wings in balm form — were getting ready for their own Big Game: launch day. 

Inspired by an April Fools’ Day social media post, the collaboration had fan support but still required proof of concept — and a cost-effective way to get that. Our manufacturing facility in North Carolina could not produce efficiently at such a small scale, so a different approach was required.  

The solution? A pilot plant at our R&D facility, where we conduct tests that inform the development and commercialization of products. While we already had pilot plants for other brands in our portfolio, including Hidden Valley and Kingsford, we didn’t yet have one dedicated to the unique manufacturing needs of cosmetics. So we decided to build one. 

Enter Christine Krehely, Mario Garcia and Toni Lynch, three of the key players on the Technical Services team that was tasked with this project. Their team acquired equipment, including robotics. They completed necessary paperwork. They conducted training. And they produced and packed thousands of tubes of lip balm. 

Selling out the same day it launched in January, the Burt’s Bees-Hidden Valley Ranch Dippers innovation was the business equivalent of a touchdown. “There was so much demand we couldn’t make it in-house anymore,” says Christine. 

Often playing a behind-the-scenes role, Technical Services was thrilled to play a big part in such a high-visibility project. “The team was super proud,” says Toni. “Some of the TikTok and influencers’ responses were hilarious. But we expected that.” 

And what’s next for our winning team? “It’s really up to the imagination of what people want,” says Mario. “We have the capability now, and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon.”