Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Teresa Vanek, Owner of The Honeybee Embassy LLC, located in Trumansburg, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a family-owned honey farm that specializes in truly raw (cold-processed) varietal kinds of honey, which highlight the many floral varieties we can produce in New York's Finger Lakes region. Our customers are both knowledgeable and curious about the unique super-food properties of honey that is produced in this manner which is to say that some are already raw honey connoisseurs, and others are encountering this magical food for the first time.
Tell us about yourself
The business is owned and operated by Brent Welch and me. I am a third-generation beekeeper, while Brent is especially interested in the way that our honey highlights the botany of the region. We enjoy the hands-on beekeeping work and the endless potential to create novel products with our honey; so far, these include honey sodas, honey chocolates, and honey kombucha, as well as candles and self-care products. We have also found it to be very satisfying to open consumers' eyes to the magic of bees and the enormous varietal differences between honeys.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
In 2020 we opened our architecturally unique gourmet honey store on the farm: the Honeybee Embassy (HBE). This was the culmination of many years of planning and dreaming. The HBE sets the stage for visitors to have a profound experience with honey and its production. Customers can enjoy formal tasting sessions by reservation or impromptu honey sampling and discussion with the knowledgeable staff in the dappled natural light of our unique structure. They can also explore the landscape around the HBE and see pollinators at work.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
As with any small business that undertakes a new enterprise, we, as owners, need to be involved at every level (accounting, product development, marketing, etc.). It can be challenging to know what to prioritize at times -- and always challenging to keep on top of so many projects.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be careful about taking on debt -- make sure your business plan is sound!
- Seek out mentors for advice and create a community of professional support.
- Make sure you love the work.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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