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When we first started BeeKeeper. We were called something else. 

We knew that our dream wasn’t about bags or backpacks, so it really didn’t have to have the word bags or backpacks in it. 

It was something else completely.

We named ourselves Boy & Bee. It was about a 10 year old boy who saw things with rose coloured glasses (me), who wanted to change the world. But every time he tried he failed! And failed!! Aaaaaaand failed!! 

Until, he worked with his best-friend the bee (Sophia). Our message was going to be that in you, is the ability to change the world. If you have belief, friendship and teamwork, then making a difference is absolutely possible. And don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t. Because you can.


But before we could lift Boy & Bee off the ground. Give it wings. We were hit with something we never expected. Sophia was diagnosed with Cervical cancer. Let me tell you that she fought courageously, bravely, desperately. With everything. I will never forget the way she stood her ground. But every time we won a battle, it seemed that cancer would morph into something greater and kept coming back. An unrelenting obsidian coloured shadow monster, that seemed to suck light from everything around it. A monster with claws and jaws. Scratching and biting at our heels as we ran.

Everyone who loved her fought for her. Held onto to her. But this shadow monster was too much for us. Slipping through our fingers and when it cleared, it took Sophia with it. Claimed her at the age of 29. Taking with it a special brand of magic and light. Leaving behind family and friends grasping at memories. 


For me, the shadow monster never left. I somehow let it in. Letting it seep into me, and it sat in my heart. Eating away at me like an uncatchable insect, making me desperate to get rid of it. Becoming my secret demon that I fought alone, every single second I was awake. And often in my nightmares. I couldn’t explain it to anyone. And like the battle it had with Sophia, it was a fight I was losing. Affecting my mental state and health. And I spiralled into an inert and invisible state of depression. Taking 3 years of my life.

* Sophia's 18th

My saving grace. As it turned out. Was Sophia. I really did feel…that she reached through the cosmos and the stars…through the veil where the world of life and death collide…and saved my life. By preventing my suicide. Sending a sliver of light that cut through the dark shroud around me. At first, like the moon beaming. And when I saw it I stopped fighting, I surrendered to whatever it was that I was going through. And followed this beaming sliver of moonlight instead. Leading me out. To a place where I could finally feel safe. 


It was here, that I decided to stay. Sophia left me her car in her will. With instructions to sell it, and use the money, to make Boy & Bee, come true. Tying me to this world, until at the very least, I kept this promise. 

Sophia's car. I still have it.

* Sophia's car. I never sold it.


And I realised that in making this dream come true. I would have to begin with me getting out of bed everyday. I then did it for seven days straight! I started eating again. I started having showers. I googled grieving to understand a bit more about what I was going through. I saw a psychiatrist to talk to someone. And to understand life better, I started researching death. What happens to our body when it is dying. What happens to us, when we go. This was me gluing myself back together again. 

Somewhere in this journey, I noticed something new in me. Like I was a better person. More me. I had this will-power in me, that felt so sharp I could cut through diamonds. I used this new found will-power to write a draft of my first novel (I wasn’t sure how long it would last!). And I used it to pick myself up. Find the courage to turn my focus back on Boy & Bee and begin finishing what Sophia and I had started. 

* Obsessed with bees. 

And I quickly realised in my attempt to give Boy & Bee wings. That that boy no longer existed. Crushed by the weight of the world.. But not quite dead. Reformed? Reforged? Transformed? Upcycled :)? Whatever you call it, I was not the boy in the story anymore. 

The new me, became stronger, kinder, better. 


I also became my sister’s Keeper. In the last months of her life In hospital helping take care of her everyday. The only thing I had to give was my time. And I gave her all of mine. I would give more if I could. And now I am Keeper of her diaries, photos and memories too.

I decided that since she was the Bee in the original story, and I had become her Keeper. We should put the two together.

And that is how we got the name BeeKeeper.

* Sophia and my older brother, Paul. 

Thank you for reading. If you liked it please let us know by commenting or sharing our story. That would mean the world to us! Xxx

This post was written in memory of Sophia Saly. Forever half my story. And to finally explain to people how we got our name. I admit, I almost didn't. Especially the part about my depression and mental health. 


Melbourne Central Birthday Party INVITATION.

Next Saturday July 13th our Melbourne Central Shop turns 1! It is also Sophia's Birthday.

We invite you to come. We will be buying birthday cakes and cupcakes (all vegan) and would love for you to come in and eat with us :)

Between 12pm-7pm.

As a mark of respect to Sophia, from 1pm-2pm and from 5-6pm we will be turning our shop lights off. But...our shop tree actually illuminates into a spectacular Light Show. Come and be entertained by a miraculous and amazing tree. There will be a Visitor's Diary, a door prize and a way for everyone to earn a little reward. Much love from the Beekeeper Hive. 

 All the details and to get you FREE TICKET click here.


The Novel: It has no title yet. The first manuscript is twice the length of the first Harry Potter book. It is about a boy who runs away from home with his little sister, to find a cure to save her life. I am planning a 6 month sabbatical to complete the final draft. 

The story of why we added Parade is another story itself! One day we will share it.

Cancer Melbourne Mental Health Social Business Social Enterprise

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  • I bought a backpack from you today, 26th, and my family just loves it! Your products are great and the shop is really inspiring – your foundation story is bitter-sweet and leaves me with wonder.
    Thank you!

    Elsie Edenhall on

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