Our Story

Organic, Fair Trade Beekeeper Vincent Chianda sharing ideas on the honey harvest

Partnership not Patronage:

The best body care ingredients begin with those who cultivate them

In a simple way, this image captures one of our passions here at Zambeezi. Vincent, one of the beekeepers, and André, one of our founders, are discussing their ideas on different forms of hives and ways we can cultivate a greater yield. You see it’s a partnership, not a patronage. We both bring value to the table and out of that mutual investment, an incredible vision is brought into fruition. It isn’t just about the lip balm. No, it’s so much more than that. It’s about people thriving!

So often, in the West, we have a very monetarily driven value of success and worth. From that false ideal, we have often created broken systems of support and aid. Our desires are often very good, but yet they still fall short. Because we define worth in monetary terms, we often look at those who fiscally have less than us as those whom we need to help. So, we concoct plans that revolve around monetary values, but miss the people, the community and the culture in the process.

André, a Lebanese-American organic farmer from Boulder, speaking with a group of organic, fair trade Zambian beekeepers

How does a Lebanese-American farmer from Boulder, Colorado end up in Zambia laughing, talking and planning with a group of beekeepers? That’s a great question! I have asked the same thing. Well, it began with a not-so-coincidental meeting of two men at a conference in South Africa. Not just any two men, but two leaders in their respective communities who have a passion for seeing the people they impact thriving. One was André’s father; the other was Pastor Barry Illunga (read our interview with Barry). And so an adventure began, spawned into a relationship and resulted in the lip nourishing balm you have come to love so much. 

Fair Trade, Organic Beeswax lip balm crafted from the best ethically sourced ingredients.

In 2008, André, Barry and a number of others launched a harebrained idea and today Zambeezi sits in the pockets, purses, desks and counters of all kinds of people and businesses. As they sat with a dozen or so community leaders, they discovered the root of the need in these communities wasn’t simply monetary, it was much grander and yet more basic. The solution was something that speaks to the very heart of Zambian culture: community or put in business terms partnership.

“We exist to enable communities to thrive by identifying and developing unrealized human potential to free people to pursue their vision of a better world.”


The potential in these communities is limitless. Creativity, ingenuity, entrepreneurial spirit, perseverance and passion ooze out of every conversation. The problem is the connection. In a land-locked country with limited transportation and access to other vehicles of trade, transforming this potential into thriving is an uphill battle (and it’s a steep hill). This is where a partnership was formed. 

Organic, Fair Trade beekeeping village in Zambia

We are the connectors, bringing the incredible strengths and products of Zambian entrepreneurs, beekeepers and farmers to the North American market. We leverage our access and to be truthful, privileged access to a broader market, technology and transportation to connect our partners to you, our customers.

Every time you pick up your favorite tube of organic, fair trade lip balm and handcrafted soap, consider the partnership that connects you to this greater community. As your olfactory senses are transported to an open field on a farm in Zambia, remember our partners, not in pity, but in gratitude. 

Partner with us, by using our lip balm, carrying it in your store, or connecting us with local retailers in your area. Together we’re creating a future.


Organic, Fair Trade beekeepers ready to harvest honey 

Organic, Fair Trade Lip Balm and Handmade Soap Crafted from Zambian Beeswax and Honey