[This weekend marks the 21st annual Art-A-Whirl, a three-day celebration where hundreds of artists working in northeast Minneapolis open up their studios for gallery shows, artist's talks, special sales, demonstrations, and more. In preparation for the huge festival, we'll be taking a moment to meet a handful of the talented artists, businesses, and creative project managers who make Northeast the artsy hub it is.]
Your name: Worker B (Michael Sedlacek)
Where we can find you this weekend:
At the Worker B Studio:
1500 Jackson St. NE
# 272 Northrup King Building
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(we also have regular hours here from Wednesday to Saturday)
Years spent in your current space, and working in MN:
We have been in the Northrup King Building for almost four years now, and Worker B is about to have its sixth birthday this summer. We have been in the bee/honey/agriculture industries for (yikes!) nearly 11 years.
Briefly, tell us about what you do and why:
Worker B was started for two main reasons: function and necessity.
Function: We needed a product that would stay with us through the day and provided real relief to hardworking skin and hands without the need to re-apply frequently through the workday. Products suitable to and effective in a variety of conditions.
Necessity: With extremely sensitive and reactive skin we needed an effective product that would not trigger skin conditions. After trying loads of existing products, making our own formulas was a necessity.
Name three things that influence your work right now:
The always the get-it-done attitude of the worker bees and the springtime beehive.
My home pollinator garden: new sprouts and growth, early season flowers, and being able to get my hands back in the soil.
Spring and fresh air in general: This year is prompting a whole studio renovation, which should be done just in time for Art-A-Whirl.
Name two things that inspired and/or motivated you as a budding creative type/entrepreneur:
The desire to solve a problem and make things better — even in a small way. This is where the Worker B skincare line found its roots.
Honeybees! They're a constant influence. The honeycomb structure, waggle dances, the connection to flowers and nature; they're a never ending source.
What was your last big project?
We launched a new website a few weeks ago: new design, new look, and a total overhaul. Major project complete!
Are you doing anything special for Art-A-Whirl you'd like our readers to know about?
We're just putting the finishing touches on a new raw honey tasting bar. We are featuring nearly 30 distinct varietal honeys from beekeeper friends from all over the world. Think of it as a wine tasting but way more fun.
We will also have our skincare, beeswax candle, and apparel collections on hand and ready for action.
Do you have anything coming up in the near future that should be on our radar?
We have some new products on the horizon. We have spent a good deal of time in the lab this spring and are finalizing some new formulations. We have our fingers crossed for a release at the end of the summer.
How has the Minnesota scene changed since you began working here?
Minnesota has exploded with makers, growers, and producers of all kinds of the past several years. Similarly, the venues to display and shop these goods has also blown up. New neighborhood farmers markets (first with Mill City), weekly craft markets (like Minneapolis Craft Market), and the plethora of local breweries/distilleries/coffee roasters all showcase the craft culture here in Minnesota. A lot of this comes from our strong Midwestern work ethic and a true appreciation of craft production by the population here. There's a true sense of community from all sides of the table.
If we stop by to try some of your products what do you recommend?
For the spring and early summer season I like a lighter, more floral/herbal honey. I would check out our Basswood honey (from our hives here in Minnesota) or a citrus toned honey from our pal in California.
Also worth a look is our Worker B Cream and Lotion Bar. Both are excellent for repair and nourishment for hardworking gardening hands.