written and photographed by me.
Natural soap line Queen Bee Naturals’ biggest fan is Shannon Kraucyk. Kraucyk met the creator of Queen Bee in high school, where the two became friends and have kept in touch ever since. When she learned her friend was starting a soap line, she was one of the first to try the soaps and she loved them.
“I’m personally in love with her bath bombs,” Kraucyk said. “It hasn’t affected my eczema, unlike those with harsh fragrance.”
VIolet Crane, 23, started making soap and a plethora of other body products in 2016.
Crane uses natural materials and fragrances, but her line is known for its CBD oil. Cannabidiol, according to Project CBD, “is a cannabis compound that has significant medical benefits […] and can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC.” Crane heard and read of its many benefits and healing abilities, and wanted to try it in her products.
Starting with soap, Crane’s products expanded to bath bombs, shower gel, bubble bars, massage oil, lip balm and other fun products like shower frosting (a fluffy moisturizing shower soap) and “sugar daddy,” which is a body scrub.
“I think that’s it,” Crane said, speculating the vast varied line of products she has made over the past two years.
Crane then remembered her face and hair masks, nearly all products made with CBD oil from Humble Roots Medicinal.
Currently, she sells Queen Bee Naturals at Zen in Arcata, Blue Ox Boutique and Otto + Olive in Eureka. She also has a Facebook page with over 1,100 fans and a group with 1,750 members, where she can directly sell her products, as well as share sneak peaks of her upcoming products. In addition, her fans can post their hauls of her items and bathtub pictures of her bubbly colorful products.
Having a lot of fans takes dedication and help. Crane not only has a successful small business, she also has two children. Her partner, Danny Corrales, helps her balance her work and family life.
“I make everything,” Crane said. “He delivers everything and helps with the kids.”
Their 3-year-old daughter, Ariel, is used to sitting in the car on their weekly ride from Ruth Lake to Humboldt for product delivery. Crane recently had her son, Benjamin, two months ago, and quickly went back to making new products.
This included a collaboration with Lost Coast Roast, a local coffee roasting business known for their cold brew coffee that she loves. She contacted them, and after talking, she started making soap with their coffee grounds.
One of the obstacles Crane faced when making her products was copycats. She brought her items into a former friend’s shop to sell. Later, that person started making nearly identical items with CBD oil and using the name Crane put on her items, “CBDQUEEN,” as the name of her product line.
Crane was then accused of not using legal CBD oil in her products by that person. To prove to that person and her customers, Crane took the CBD oil she uses to the Leaf Detective, a Eureka business that tests cannabis potency. She learned that it contained less than 3 percent THC, and a second test proved to be nearly 0 percent THC.
“I was hurt at first,” Crane said, “but I’m focusing on bigger things for myself.”
Crane wants Queen Bee Naturals to grow, not just in Humboldt, but possibly beyond Northern California.
She wants to have a warehouse with employees to make her products so she could spend more time with her family.
With the legalization and acceptance of cannabis in California, Crane would like to expand her line to legally put THC in her products and put them in her future dispensary. Queen Bee Naturals is only growing from here.