Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Amber Yano, owner of MOB Honey, located in Bassano, AB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
MOB Honey is a small-scale apiary, ethically and naturally raising bees. We are female farmer-owned, right down to the bees that make the honey. Our honey is wild, raw, and honest, just like our customers.
Tell us about yourself
I've spent years overcoming fear of bees and a deathly allergy. In fact, a few hospital visits weren't enough to keep me from raising bees as a profession. I hoped eventually, the bees and I would find balance, and we sure did. I love the way bees communicate with each other and how their relationship with the outside world in our city streets, pastures, and balconies become harmonious in that they actually give and take. Giving pollination so flowers can bloom and taking pollen and nectar to sustain themselves and or their colonies. They are the flying "dildos" that animate our world with color! Haha.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Wow. That's tough. I feel like every year is an accomplishment because the work involved each quarter is so seasonal and very different depending on the weather. The days are long, and the labour is so hard on my body but the hours inputted each day make for really tiny rewards at the end of each day. By each morning, I feel alive and ready for battle! I think the biggest accomplishment would have to be buying my farm this year. I'm calling it Lazy Lilac Acres, which is funny because there is not an ounce of laziness here. I plan to have all my beehives here in one location; I am curating and currently building a huge vegetable garden to grow food naturally, without pesticides and fertilizers, and create a 100 square foot 4-tree-guild food forest. All the tools I use are very low-tech and great for building those big farmer arms! It's the calling I've been longing for since my early 20's. I'm here. I made it. Now it's time to grow!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One stressor is not really knowing if I'll have enough money to pay my mortgage. It's not like I have a reliable salary coming in. I have to hustle. The economy and market for honey are very seasonal, so I have to prepare to sell all my product after harvest within the winter months. During the pandemic, I found it challenging to attend markets. Now that I moved all the way out to Bassano, Alberta, which is 1.5 hours east of the largest city (Calgary), I have to reimagine what my sales channel will look like. I've pivoted and am building a better website, so I can increase my online sales as well as wholesale my product to retailers, gift basket companies, catering companies, and boutiques. Ya, I have a plan, and I'm one determined business owner, so I feel pretty secure about the future of MOB Honey.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be bold and leverage your community - we all have a huge network of mentors, supporters, and potential clients/investors. Use it.
- Embrace social media platforms but be strategic with your outputs. Don't feel like you have to expose your whole personal life. Share educational content and content that may add value to your viewer's life. Don't be afraid to sell your product on SM. If they are following you, they are champions for you and want to know the deals you may be promoting.
- Stay organized. Make lists and have the tools to map your schedule through calendars, apps, and reminders.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Build up your business model canvas and create your business plan. Writing down ideas does turn into realities. You just have to do it. When I say, "Farmed with the strength of a warrior and served with a heart of gold." I mean it. Find what makes you happy and live it.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.