Finding what we’re meant to do with our lives and careers requires a certain level of experimentation, courage, humility, and a touch of what Samuel Taylor Coleridge called that “willing suspension of disbelief.” We must be honest with ourselves, first of all, to evaluate what we are capable of, what we have available to us. We must also be willing to try, to fail, and to start over if necessary. But finally, and perhaps most challenging, we must be able to envision what does not yet exist in our world. It takes but a spark of imagination fueled by a well-considered sort of madness that gets us past the excuses. We must first believe in what we can do, what is possible, and then – it is.
It’s at this crossroads of creativity and challenge that Ballard Bee Company begins. In 2008, Corky Luster was a sculptural artist doing fine-finish construction work in Seattle. With a colorful career already under his belt including designing men’s fashion design, fine art, and professional windsurfing, his days as an entrepreneur were about to change once again. After a fitful year of losing work in the economic downturn across the nation, Corky – like many others that year – saw an opportunity to create for himself a career he could only dream about when business was good.
The idea for his own company first struck in an unlikely time, but in an ideal place: a camping trip to eastern Washington with his faithful Flat-Coated Retriever, Boon. The two were ambling through spring fields of endless yellow canola when Corky noticed another visitor; a man, out alone, tending a wild hive of bees in the distance. With a modest amount of experience in beekeeping, he was intrigued, and carried the image of the man back to his campfire that evening.