BY Mildred Europa Taylor, 4:15pm March 01, 2024,

This is how Kobe Harris started his all-natural handmade lip balm brand from his college dorm

Photo: Instagram

While a college student at Loyola Chicago, Kobe Harris saw how his surroundings were heavily polluted. There was trash “literally everywhere”, he says.

“Living in a big city definitely has its perks, but one of the downsides I constantly saw was the amount of trash that was everywhere. Even a relatively clean looking building, street or park would always have some sort of trash hiding,” he says on his website.

Seeing how polluted his city was inspired him to start a personal care brand that uses simple ingredients and plastic-free or compostable packaging.

“I started this brand out of my dorm room in college back in Chicago Illinois,” he tells Bulk Apothecary. “I wanted to create a better-for-you product without you having to guess what types of ingredients are in your products and why they benefit you. Combined with my love for bees and the outdoors, Kobees was off to the races.”

His brand KOBEE’S is now known for its lip balms, lip scrubs, and cuticle butters. Being an outdoor person who loves hiking, nature and bees, finding the perfect name for his company wasn’t that tedious.

“I was doing research on packaging and bees at my university around the time of the inception of the company. I had a buddy say the name at random one night when we were all hanging out ‘Why not Kobees?’ And it just stuck, started designing labels and products the next day.”

Essentially, his products are all-natural and handmade, and his beeswax lip balm, which is everyone’s favorite, uses only four ingredients — beeswax, sunflower seed oil, mango butter, and coconut oil.

“KOBEE’S Lip Balm contains all-natural ingredients, is cruelty-free, hand-made, and most importantly, is completely compostable. We want whoever is supporting KOBEE’S to understand that they are making a difference for the environment,” the brand says on its website.

Indeed, with KOBEE’S, Harris aims to help clean the environment including the lakes and oceans, plant trees and reduce deforestation, and provide cleaner air for future generations. And he is doing this by giving a percentage of KOBEE’S sales to organizations that support his ideals.

“We know that basically everything on earth is made out of plastic, so it can be hard to know where to start on your sustainable journey. With one small switch to Kobee’s balm you are already making a difference. One balm is all it takes,” Harris says.

Harris is among a few black-owned companies making a difference in the environmental space, solving many environmental problems through better use of sustainable products and resources. 

According to a 2022 report produced by First Insight and the Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, consumers are increasingly demanding sustainable products.

It found that consumers across all generations (from Baby Boomers to Gen Z) would now like to spend more on sustainable products. Two years prior, only 58 percent of consumers across all generations were willing to spend more for sustainable options. 

“Every purchase you make supports not only your initiative to start living more sustainable but it gives back as well,” Harris said of his products. “When you purchase a Kobee’s product a small percentage of the profit is allocated to Ocean cleanup, Tree restoration and Air pollution cleanup. By supporting Kobee’s you are also supporting these three great causes.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: March 1, 2024

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