Imagine if you won a sweepstakes to go onstage while your favorite band is playing. That’s Cleo Wade’s comparison for being invited to collaborate on a limited-edition holiday collection with Burt’s Bees. The author, artist and activist is a rock star herself these days, racking up legions of fans with her wise words, from her first book that hit shelves in 2018, Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life, and first children’s book that came out last year, What the Road Said. But despite that fame and following, she is a dedicated fan of Burt’s Bees and Target, where the sets will be sold. “I’m at a place in my life where two kids later and more books on the way, I really can only do things if I am obsessed,” Wade says. “It was especially cool since this is the first of its kind collaboration, with the combination of Burt’s Bees and Target. Who’s not a fan of Target?”
Burt’s Bees x Cleo Wade was a natural fit, since both are beacons of self-care. “There’s a level of thoughtfulness about the things that we make that we have in common,” Wade says. “Burt’s Bees has always been so thoughtful about making products that are really great quality and accessible. For me, it was something I thought was so nice that I could afford when I was 15. I could buy a lip balm and it felt special. When you don’t grow up with a lot of money, brands that really take the time to create products that are designed to make you feel special—even if it’s in the quality, but not the price tag of something that’s really fancy—is an incredible gesture. And we’re both very thoughtful about the world we live in and what our impact is to mother nature, and this idea that we are all trying to grow and make better things and do things in better ways.”
The collaboration consists of kits like the Bit of Burt’s Gift Shortbread Cookie Lip Balm, Bit of Burt’s Gift Beeswax Lip Balm, Burt’s Bees Beeswax Bounty Fruit Gift Lip Balm and Cleo Inspired Lip Balm, to name a few. Each comes in gift-ready packaging. The concept behind the packaging was that each set can be easily shared. “So much of the designs of the packaging—whether it’s the gold beautiful flowers that had been drawn all over them or where my words would appear or what words would appear—was about being easy to spread a message,” she adds. “Maybe it’s the words you struggle to say to them, or maybe it’s exactly what you want the young people in your life to feel at this exact moment in time. I started thinking what makes it special to give to yourself, and what would make it special to give to your best friends, or the people that you love or mentor. I wanted it to feel like the spirit of the holiday season, but in a way that was a bigger, longer message for the times that we’re living in.”
Each box has a QR code inside that can be scanned to register to receive 30 days of unique affirmations from Wade via email, adding to the themes of self-care and empowerment, which are especially important around the holidays. “Affirmations are really prompts for reflection,” Wade says. “They’re these anchors to keep you where you want to be. There’s so many things that hijack us from where we want to be, day in and day out. If someone says something, and you feel a little inflamed or triggered by it, these affirmations keep you in the home you want to be in it—you could use them pretty effectively.”
For those who are new to affirmations, Wade suggests putting them on your mirror so you’ll see them first thing in the morning. Or, each week you can put a different affirmation as the homescreen of your phone. “When look at your phone 100 times a day, you would always look at that and by changing it regularly, you’re able to consciously consider it,” she says.
That’s how the collection provides self-care in different ways. Wade’s favorite item in the collection is the tinted lip balm. “I don’t really wear makeup in my day-to-day life at all,” she says. “If I have to run in somewhere or see someone all of a sudden, it’s always nice to pop something on your face. So, I’ll take that and then I’ll dab a little bit my cheeks to brighten up my face. That’s the one I use the most.”
As for what’s on her Christmas list this year, Wade is all about practical gifts that make her feel cozy at home, like sheet masks. But for her, it’s truly better to give than receive. “I get more excited about things I’m getting other people—I can never think of the things I want,” she says. “Gift giving is my love language.”