How did you decide upon the name of your business?
The name Melissa is actually Greek and means ‘honey bee’, when it’s translated. I thought it sounded so pretty and so it made sense to use it for a business name, where it was connected to me but also had the potential to grow, without my first name being everywhere. I love the way ‘Honey Bee Home’ sounds when you say it too.
How do you source your products?
Firstly, I had to decide how I wanted the brand to look and feel. I spent months and months going to trade events to speak to suppliers in person, visiting showrooms, scouring the net, sending off for catalogues and finding products that would resonate with my target demographic.
I buy from a mix between large wholesale suppliers and smaller brands.
Please share a business high and low with us.
A business high as being approached by the team at Spring Fair, to have a behind-the-scenes video made. I was thrilled because it gave me an opportunity to show the person behind the brand and offer a little bit of advice to those starting out.
A business low would probably be when you think you’ve sourced a product that people will absolutely love, only for it to be met with crickets. It’s hard, in that sense, to be a small business because unsold stock is a loss but it’s all a learning curve.
What did you do before starting Honey Bee Home?
I was a freelance copywriter and still am. I split my time between the two businesses. Honey Bee Copywriting takes up the main bulk of my time at the moment but I’d love to grow Honey Bee Home into a household name. Both businesses are run from my studio in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham.
Did you always plan to set up your own business?
In short, yes. The journey wasn’t linear. Running a service-based business is very different to running a product-based one but when I was younger, I always loved the idea of setting my own schedule and doing what I loved.
When I was a child, I used to sit with my dad in his office and I always thought of how cool it would be to have my own business one day.
Looking back, I always had a bit of an entrepreneurial streak. Although for many years, I wanted to be a teacher. Once I realised I didn’t like structure and being told when I could go on holiday, the business bug bit me and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve worked in-house but I really like things on my own terms.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Get used to explaining what it is you do and what your business is about – it builds your confidence. Don’t buy into the ‘you sleep when you’re dead’ culture because you’re no good to anybody, if you’re burnt out.
If things aren’t working, sometimes you just need a new strategy. Change scenery every so often, to get fresh ideas.
Just make a start! Done is better than perfect. The sooner you get it out there, the sooner you’ll know what works and what doesn’t.
Save a little bit of an emergency fund, if you can. Money is one of the biggest stresses in business, so try to pre-empt any cash flow problems.
Where do you hope to take your business in the year ahead?
I recently came up with the idea for the Christmas campaign, so I’ll be working on that soon. I’m just planning to continue to work with local talent because there are so many great creatives in the West Midlands. It would be fab to have a part-time team member too.
I’d also LOVE a pop-up shop. We’re just an online boutique at the moment and it would be great to bring the website to life, in a shop setting and have face-to-face interactions with our customers. In-person retail experiences are so valuable, so it’s definitely a part of the long term plan.
I hope, like me, you enjoyed today’s interview.
I’ve been following Melissa over on her blog and most social media platforms for many years. She’s super creative and her passion for business is infectious. It was such an honour when she agreed to a Behind the Biz interview.
I love that Mel balances her shop alongside her second business, Honey Bee Copywriting. It’s very important in this day and age to diversify your income streams.
My Behind the Biz interviews are here to tell the stories of founders but also to inspire you, the reader. So, if you’re thinking of starting a business, podcast or blog then just go for it. Like Mel says, done is better than perfect. You can refine and adapt as you go along.
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