The Honey Pot Company was a hot topic of discussion last week on social media. Rumors that founder Beatrice Dixon sold the brand sparked a rigorous debate online after fans expressed their disappointment with the company’s rebranding. The vitriol caused some to stand up for Dixon, saying Black-owned brands are often not given the grace, especially during their growth phase.
Dixon also felt compelled to respond after a handful proposed the company was no longer Black-owned, labeling Dixon a “sellout”.
Since it was established in 2014, The Honey Pot Company has landed on shelves at Whole Foods, Target, Walmart and other major department stores. Forbes reported Dixon as one of the first 40 women of color to raise $1 million in venture capital. This was a milestone, considering startups led by Black women receive less than one percent of venture capital funding, which contributes to racial funding gaps, according to the media outlet.
In a video posted on Instagram, Dixon introduced herself and explained her role as CEO, chief innovation officer, and founder of The Honey Pot Company. She said she is “spiritually and professionally committed” to the feminine care brand that sells affordable natural washes, wipes, tampons, panty sprays, pads, lubricants and other herbal products.
The video was shared on the 40-year-old’s personal Instagram account and the company’s IG page, during which she read a letter explaining that the new formula was still safe and effective.
“I assure you the washes are still pH balanced, they’re dermatologist tested now, they’re hypoallergenic now, they’re safe for skin, they also do not have any added parabens, dioxide or sulfates, and this has always been the case,” she said.
The new formula still uses organic apple cider vinegar and purified water in the company’s standard manufacturing process. Many are particularly upset about the use of phenoxyethyl, which Dixon describes as “the alternative to parabens and is widely used within clean skincare products. A product has to be safe for years of use, and I assure you this is the root of the changes.”
In response to the backlash, other consumers offered an alternative take.
“I’ve reserved my comments, but after watching the HoneyPot debacle unfold over the past few days, I stand by my earlier statements that Black businesses very rarely get the same grace that’s afforded to other businesses,” read one tweet that included a flood of responses.
Another helped put the formula changes into perspective with a detailed thread.
“I wanted to weigh in on The Honey Co. change in formulation. First let me state that I am a cosmetic chemist. I have been a chemist for over 10 years and I am a licensed esthetician. Here are my thoughts.”
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