Most people will not go near a swarm of bees but Ms Hiromi Mizutani is not one of them.
The 52-year-old beauty brand founder says serenely in Japanese during a phone interview with Urban: "They have a scary image but they won't attack, not unless they're stepped on or provoked."
The married mother of two boys is understandably respectful of these black and yellow insects as she is the head of Hacci, a skincare brand she founded in 2003 that is based on honey. The name comes from the Japanese word for bee.
Ms Mizutani, who lives in Tokyo, says honey has perfect properties for skincare, including brightening, moisturising and anti-bacterial elements. In fact, honey is one of the few products without an expiration date because of its strong anti-bacterial properties, she says.
Hacci offers honey-infused products such as facial soaps and cleansers, shampoos, conditioners, body creams and lip gloss. Prices range from 3,000 yen (S$37) for a cleanser to 10,000 yen for a set of sheet masks, and the products are available at department stores in Japan as well as the duty-free areas at the Narita and Haneda airports.
Looking back, it seems inevitable that Ms Mizutani would end up in the honey business, although she says it was not something she had originally envisioned.
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Her grandfather set up a bee farm in the Mie prefecture in 1913, which grew to a network of more than 30 farms. While Ms Mizutani did not live at a farm, bees were a continual presence at the periphery of her life.
She recalls crying from a bee sting as a child as well, though that experience did not leave a lasting negative impression.
"My mother always said honey was good for beauty, and told me to mix a little bit in my cleanser or shampoo," she says.