As a Sydney Gift Boxing business, we are constantly on the lookout for amazing/cute/unique gifts. Functional gifts that can be used and enjoyed, pamper products and of course, sweet treats.
We are honey lovers ourselves, so when we came across this range of flavoured honey, we knew we had found something special. The salted honey is a personal favourite and I'm not going to lie, I ate the entire mini jar in one sitting when sampling the ShortHive range. Perfection at its finest.
We sat down with Robyn to get a better idea about ShortHive and their family run business.
1. Tell us a bit about you and your business. What was the inspiration behind your business and how did it come about?
I did a Bachelor of Business and majored in Hospitality Management. All my work experience was in hotels, restaurants and customer service. My dream was to open my own small boutique hotel. In 2016 my parents had recently moved to a smallish farm and were looking for ways to make money from the farm. My grandad has been a beekeeper since my dad was 4, so my dad had spent many years helping his father. Beekeeping seemed like the obvious path for my dad, but he didn't want to be in competition with his father or take his customers. So, after much brainstorming we had the idea of making infused honey. We decided to be more than 'just honey'. We have focused on our branding and reaching customers all over the country.
My dad (Greg): He does all the beekeeping and manufacturing of the infused honey and manages all our stock.
My mum (Corrina): She runs the farm and provides a massive bee garden, so the bees have access to pollen and nectar all year round.
My brother (Tom): He manages all our IT needs.
My sister-in-law (Rachel): She is a designer and photographer and is in charge of branding.
Me (Robyn): I am jack of all trades. I do everything else that's needed to run the business. I help the others with their tasks, I deal with all customers, retailers and suppliers. I package and send all orders and I manage all sales.... among a million other things.
2. What was the most challenging part of getting your business off the ground and how did you overcome those challenges?
In the beginning we were just a hobby business. We all had other jobs and so ShortHive wasn't our main focus. It meant that things took a long time to happen and the 5 of us all had different schedules and priorities. Life also got in the way. We had the idea for ShortHive in mid 2016. We launched in late 2017. We started to push sales a lot more in late 2018 and really felt the business get off the ground in 2019. If we'd known in the early days where we would be now, we would have set up our processes a lot better as we would have benefited being more efficient from the beginning.
3. Are there any small businesses out there who inspire you?
There are too many businesses out there to mention. We have a wonderful market/small business community in Victoria. We all support each other, cheer each other on, share our knowledge with each other and help each other grow. When we started this business, I never imagined that I'd also be walking into such a supportive and inspiring community.
4. How would a typical day look for you?
My days are varied. On Saturday's and Sunday's, I'm often at markets (and some Friday's too). I spend Friday's and Monday's organising them. During the week I usually spend two days at my parent's farm, working on the business from there.
For a day that I'm at home, I get up and get straight to emails and admin. When that's done then I'll usually do chores around the house. Early afternoon I start making up all the days orders and I head to the post office about 3pm each day. I'll do any other errands/deliveries while I'm out. I usually have a couple of hours to myself before dinner. In the evening I like to work on projects or new things or bigger tasks for the business as I find I can be a lot more focused and productive with less interruptions.
5. How do you find the perfect work/life balance?
I keep a very flexible schedule. I have all the important stuff locked in, but when it comes to managing my days, I generally work at all times that I'm free, unless I've got something better to do. So, you'll often find me working away on my laptop on a Saturday evening if I'm home. But it means that I can take time off as I please. If a friend invites me to coffee, I can drop everything knowing I'm up to date with work and enjoy myself without stressing about work or that I'm spending time out of the office.
6. What advice would you give to someone who is on the fence about starting their own business?
It's hard work, but so rewarding. I love the flexibility and choosing what I do with my days. My advice is to do your research, find out if there's a gap in the market and work out how you're going to differentiate yourself from the competition. Work out what you can do yourself, but also look at how much it's really going to cost you to get professional services (accounting etc). There are so many unexpected costs - website, credit card fees, insurance, council registration etc that really add up. Ensure your product is well priced and ensure there is enough profit for you to be able to stay in business and make it worthwhile for you to continue. Finally, you have to go out and find your customers. I see too many people sitting back expecting customers will come to you, you need to go to them.
7. What are you most proud of in terms of your business venture so far?
I'm so proud that a little idea we had has turned into a successful family business. Every time someone commends us on how much they love our product, it makes me so proud knowing that the product is 100% our idea and made by us.
8. What is your best-selling product?
Our biggest seller is our Salted Honey. We infuse our Eucalyptus Honey with Murray River Salt. The flavour is more of a caramel or butterscotch flavour. Salted Honey is perfect on ice-cream, spread on pancakes, stirred through porridge or drizzled on scones.
ShortHive Honey is a great healthier alternative to sauces which are full of sugar. We use all-natural Australian honey and high-quality ingredients. Our honey is a great addition to things you might use daily like cereals and pastries, or a great product to use on treats to make them even more special. We also have a variety of recipe and pairing ideas listed on our website to give you some creative ideas of how to use them.
10. What are some of the best ways to get creative with ShortHive's honey?
Your imagination is the only limiting factor on what you can do with our honey. You might like Chilli Honey on your ice-cream, or Espresso Honey on your cheese, or Salted Honey on your pizza or Cacao Honey on your wheat-bix. No idea or flavour combination is too crazy.
11. Do you have anything exciting coming up in 2023?
Our first exciting thing that will be happening soon is launching a new product - Chai Honey. Also, we are looking at developing our customer base across more of the states. We already have well established customers bases in Victoria and Canberra. We have recently returned from a trip to Tasmania, and we will also be making a number of trips to Sydney this year.
12. What keeps you motivated/what do you do to get motivated when you feel flat?
Going to markets is a huge motivation boost for me. Being able to engage directly with customers is such an energy boost.
13. What do you do for fun?
I love to travel. I've been to 58 countries and love exploring new places. I'm not sure where my next trip will be. But favourite places I've been to are Canada (lived there for 2 years), Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Greece and Nepal.
SO! Are you curious? Check out ShortHive for recipe and pairing idea's and be sure to add honey to your next Build a Box order!