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Logan – Jocie Garlick was a vivacious, intelligent and loving 15-year-old when she died in a skiing accident in 2008, and her family suffered the kind of grief that can only come from losing a child. Six years later, they still think about Jocie every day, and they pay tribute to her in way they never would have expected.
As one way to deal with his grief, Jocie’s father, Dean Garlick, became involved with beekeeping. He installed a few hives in the back yard of the family home in Logan and soon found that that caring for the bees was therapeutic. “For Dean, the bees saved him,” said Jocie’s mother, Lisa Garlick. “The bees were really something that helped him put back into perspective the value of life and living.”
In addition to honey, bees also produce beeswax. Many beekeepers discard the wax their bees produce, but Dean Garlick had an idea: lip balm. He told his wife, who thought it sounded like a hair-brained scheme but was supportive. The family set to work learning how to purify and modify the wax to create a lip balm that met the high standards of Lisa Garlick, a self-described “lip balm fanatic.”
The first batch was “a disaster,” Lisa said, but after lots of trial and error (and the involvement of a chemist) they had a product that was smooth, not sticky and made of all-natural ingredients. They decided to call it Jiggy Stick, a tribute to their daughter, who was known among family and friends by her nickname, Jiggy.
Eventually, the couple set up a company and began selling their creations online. Jiggy Stick lip balms are now also sold at several stores around Cache Valley, as well as a few elsewhere in the state and outside Utah. It’s also sold at Beaver Mountain, the Cache County ski resort where Jocie died while doing what she loved.
The Garlicks quickly decided that Jiggy Stick should pay tribute not just to their own daughter, but to other children who have died as well. People whose children have passed away nominate them, and every few months Jiggy Sticks creates a customized lip balm label focused on one of the children—featuring a picture of the child, images of the things they loved or other parts of their personality. The company doesn’t sell or advertise these custom labels. Instead they give the family about 100 tubes free of charge, which they can distribute among those who knew the child. The lip balms serve as a reminder that’s always nearby, in a pocket or purse. There’s nothing anyone can do to remove the pain of losing a child, Lisa said, but you can help them remember.
The company has expanded its products recently to include lotions, scrubs and even soap for dogs. The Garlicks still have their day jobs, but Lisa Garlick says the family is committed to the company. They plan to continue expanding their product line and get their products sold in more stores. The family now has 10 hives and plans to increase that number this spring and summer.
“Jocie was the kind of person who did everything 110 percent,” Lisa said. “It was her thing to do everything big and large. When we make these products we want to make sure we do everything like she would do it.”