We started Malibu Honey with one hive in our backyard 10 years ago because we love bees and honey. Today we are still getting our honey from bees that forage in the Mountains around Malibu and Los Angeles. It’s pure local and raw.
Chief Photographer, content creator and visionary. Also professional photojournalist, photographer and potter
Daughter, Daughter, head of engagement and partnerships. Also is a ceramic artist and works in communications.
Chief Executive and Beekeeper. Also a record producer and music executive.
Son, head of Web design and graphic design and does this all day long.
Friend. Creative director, designer. Also an advertising executive and avid cyclist.
Friend. Head of marketing. Also a marketing executive.
Our Malibu Honey origin story
by founder Bruce Lampcov
I grew up and lived in cities my whole life (Detroit, New York, London ) until I relocated to Malibu California with my wife Mette and our two children. When we moved to Malibu I wanted to do something that took advantage of the space and nature that surrounded us. We had some lavender in our backyard and soon noticed there were always a ton of bees in the lavender plants.
"I wanted to do something that took advantage of the space and nature that surrounded us.".
We went for it. I researched beekeeping and bought “Beekeeping for Dummies” at the local store (still my favorite Beekeeping book!). I bought a “package” of bees online from an apiary in Texas, bought some equipment and started my first hive. At the same time we purchased 600 lavender plants and planted them in our backyard.
The first year was a bit of a disaster; beekeeping is not easy.It all started beautifully, II created a hive in the springtime, carefully introduced the queen, fed them until the hive was strong and watched the hive grow from about 10,000 bees to approximately 200,000 in a matter of a couple of months. We learned a lot from the first hive but within a few months all of the bees were either dead or gone. Someone along the way told me never to start with one hive, always have two so I decided to try it again when next spring came around. The bees did love the lavender though and the lavender continued to grow.
The next spring I started the two new hives and I also connected with as many beekeepers as possible to get advice. The bees loved the lavender but mostly traveled to the nearby Santa Monica mountains to forage on Sumac, Sage, Buckwheat and other California native wildflowers.
By the summer the bees were thriving and there was 200 pounds of honey in the hives!
When we realized that we had so much honey we decided to jar them and give it to friends and sell it at local shops in Malibu. Mette is an artist and photographer and she got stuck in working on designing a jar and a label and within a couple of weeks we had a honey product ready to go. A few stores agreed to take the honey on consignment so we decided to create the company Malibu Honey LLC.
That was the summer of 2011. We did every event we could to get the word out in Malibu including farm to table dinners, store tastings, fundraisers and slowly but surely Malibu Honey started to find customers. We sold out the original 250 jars within a few months so we decided to expand our apiary and bought enough woodwork for 12 hives.
"There is a beekeeping saying “people get into beekeeping for the bees and get out of it because of the honey”".
The next year I decided to move the hives to other locations. I built more hives and I placed some on a small farm in Malibu and high in the mountains in Ventura county.
It took a while to meet locals who would be willing to have hives on their land but I slowly made connections. There were a few real characters. My favorite was an octogenarian called Pepe Lopez who came to Malibu on horseback with his father in the 1950s. Back then he was a ranch hand for wealthy Hollywood stars who had houses up in the Malibu Mountains. Eventually he built up his own construction business and as of today owns a big portion of the land up in the Malibu Mountains.
All of this worked with varying degrees of success. This is agriculture, a lot depends on the weather and there are many challenging diseases and pests that constantly attack bee hives. The climate crisis is also putting stress on bee populations. All in all though we made it through the year with even more honey and every month brought more knowledge and understanding of how to raise bees.
More stores started reaching out to us to carry the honey as well. On the last day of 2014 I got an email from the “local forager” at Whole Foods that they were interested in testing my honey in a couple of stores. That email was a game changer for Malibu Honey.
Today we are sold in more than 150 stores in the South West and growing every day!