Black History Month Highlight: Beatrice Dixon, Founder of The Honey Pot

By Niema Jordan

During Black History Month last year, Target ran a 30-second TV commercial promoting the Black-owned company The Honey Pot. In the commercial, Beatrice Dixon, founder of the plant-based feminine care line, noted the importance of her success.

"The reason why it’s so important for The Honey Pot to do well is so the next Black girl that comes up with a great idea could have a better opportunity. That means a lot to me," said Dixon.

Those words became a hot topic. Some viewers rushed to call the ad racist because she singled out Black girls, but even more people galvanized to support Dixon’s message and brand by rushing to buy her products. The natural pads, tampons, wipes and washes flew off the shelves at Target, Whole Foods, Bed Bath and Beyond and other retailers across the country.

“They had a goal to take us down,” Dixon says of the naysayers and trolls. “But that didn't work. And here we are.”

The Honey Pot, based in Atlanta, literally started with a dream. Dixon’s grandmother, whom she’d only seen in pictures, came to her one

night. In the dream, her grandmother said she knew what Dixon had been dealing with — referring to her ongoing issues with bacterial vaginosis — and that she knew how to fix it.

“She hands me this piece of paper, and it has a list of ingredients on it and it’s simple stuff like coconut oil and vinegar and rose. I immediately went and got all the things that she told me to use to make the stuff. Then I put my pharmacy technician formulation hat on,” says Dixon.

She’d always had an inclination towards helping people heal. As a kid growing up in the Washington, D.C., area and then Phoenix, Dixon dreamed of being a doctor. But she decided that the traditional path to an M.D. wasn’t a good fit. Instead, she got certified and spent 10 years working as a licensed health care professional in pharmacy. Once she figured out a combination of ingredients that worked for her, Dixon shared it with others.

“I would make product, and then when I would go to work,” Dixon says. At the time, she was working at Whole Foods. Any time a customer came in with a vaginal issue, coworkers sent them her way. “They would buy stuff, and then I'd be like, ‘I'm going to walk you out to your car.’ And then when we would go outside, I would be like, ‘Hey, I have this product. I'm just testing it out. It worked for me. If you want to try it, let me know.’”

Parking lot sales turned into email orders, and then in 2014, The Honey Pot made its official debut at a Bronner Brothers Hair Show in Atlanta. Dixon sold out of 600 bottles of feminine wash in a matter of days. From there, she landed in a couple of Whole Foods and a few local stores in the Atlanta area. By the fall of 2017, The Honey Pot hit Target stores nationwide. The deal, which took a year to execute, was something that Dixon spoke into existence.

“I said that Target was the retailer that I wanted. And then about a month later, the buyer sent an email. Buyers don't just reach out to brands. Eight times out of 10, it's the other way around,” explains Dixon, who had been running the company and working full-time for five years when the retailer approached her.

To officially get on shelves, The Honey Pot had to make some changes, including upgrading the packaging and going from a small batch, in-home operation to large scale with a manufacturer. The changes required more funding. As of 2018, only only 34 Black women had raised $1 million dollars or more in venture capital. Despite the odds, Dixon’s team was able to secure the money they needed. These odds are the type of obstacles Dixon doesn’t want young Black girls to face in the future.

With the Black History Month commercial, The Honey Pot was launched into the spotlight unexpectedly. The popular plant-based company, specializing in items “made by humans with vaginas, for humans with vaginas,” is adding new products, gaining visibility and dealing with the uncertainty of the times.

“When you go viral, and then a pandemic happens, it's really hard to be prepared. It's hard to be prepared for any one of those things, but it's really hard when those things happen back-to-back, because now there's so much involved that's out of our control,” explains Dixon. “There'll be a light at the end of the tunnel. We're just in the tunnel right now.”

Throughout this journey — from her childhood aspirations, to the jobs she’s held, to the negative outcry that made headlines and grew her customer base — everything has worked together and positioned Beatrice Dixon to make The Honey Pot a legacy company.

“That’s how it always happens, right?” she asks rhetorically. “Good or bad, all of your moments equal up to right now. Everything you’ve experienced gets you to this very moment.”