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Small Business Questions

Recently, I was asked if I could answer some questions about Hive to Home Beeswax Wraps for a Business Development class. They were looking to learn more about online e-commerce.

I thought it would be fun to share these questions and answers. Maybe you'll learn something new about Hive to Home, or myself, Chelsey.

  • What was your career path that led you to start Hive to Home Beeswax Wraps?

I have a passion for waste and much of my experience has either focused on waste or has provided opportunities to dabble in it. I went to Dalhousie University for a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Environmental Science and Environment, Sustainability, and Society. After university I went on to work for the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market. I started as Customer Service, primarily working in the farmers' market. It was a great entry point where I got to know amazing local makers and producers. I worked for the Seaport farmers market for a few years and when I left I was a Market Specialist, primarily focusing on applications, market layout, food safety, license agreements and got to dabble in the waste. We were a small tight knit team and I so loved my time there. It was really special being able to work for the oldest farmers' market in North America and showcase Nova Scotia makers. One day, after my time at The Market, I looked in my fridge and realized how much plastic there was. I knew better. I started making beeswax wraps for myself as an alternative to plastic. Soon friends and family wanted them, and demand grew organically. One day Colleen Jones of CBC, contacted me and asked to interview me about the beeswax wraps. This was very special to me because my grandfather was a cameraman for CBC and had worked with Colleen Jones. Of course, Colleen didn't know this at the time because I've taken on a new last name, but we were able to reminisce together in person. The interview was aired and shared by other channels like The Weather Network and that took Hive to Home to the next step. I had to quickly build a website, learn shipping, social media, packaging, store relations, supply sourcing at greater volumes, and much more.

That's the path that sounds like it makes the most sense but there's tangential experiences that have also been incredibly valuable. When I studied at Dalhousie I was working in order to graduate debt-free. That scrappiness, bootstrapping determination has served me well. I started Hive To Home by buying a clothes iron, two squares of fabric, parchment paper, and $5 of local beeswax. Working for The Market taught me that it has to be about the people. Whatever you're doing it has to be about the people. At every opportunity I can, I look around to see who I can support and take with me to the next step. I needed branded packaging so I went to a local stamp maker and they put my logo on a stamp because then I was able to use recycled box board and have family make my packaging. I only buy my beeswax from Nova Scotian farmers and I only buy my jojoba oil from a locally owned wellness market where I'm able to buy it package free. I bring my mason jar into Luminate and fill it up with jojoba oil. I chose to buy local beeswax and jojoba oil because it's about the people, their families, and supporting Nova Scotian own business.

  • If you could specify traits that you found successful, what would they be? (Example, intuitive, creative, rational, etc)

I would say: driven, hard work ethic, passionate, inquisitive, organized, certain.

Some of these traits are also my downfall. I like to be prepared and organized, to a point that can stall my progress. Something I've had to learn is to just start.

  • Do you have any words of wisdom to provide someone who is interested in e-commerce (example "learn how to do accounting")

Find people who you can learn from and ask them questions. Surround yourself with people that will challenge you, believe in you, and raise you up.

Find something you're passionate about and the nuts and bolts of starting a business will come. If you can find what you're passionate about, then you'll be driven to learn SEO, social media, customer service, accounting, because you'll be driven to get your product/service into people's hands. In the midst of a pandemic, SEO has been especially helpful. I've used resources available to me and put in countless hours of research to better my online presence. I'm always learning, relearning, and willing to stay fluid and make changes. There are times to dig in and times to pivot. I'm open to feedback, and know the core values of my business that I won't waiver on.

Remember that it's about the people. People make a choice to support you, surround you, and share your name. In turn, give them an experience, a human experience when they choose to support you. For example, I send a hand written thank you note with every order.

  • From your experience, what was the biggest challenge/ most satisfying aspect of starting Hive To Home?

The biggest challenge is starting and the only way to overcome it is to start. Just start. There will be lots of learning, bumps, mistakes, but you grow as you go. Don't feel like an imposter, you're doing a great job.

The most satisfying aspect of starting Hive to Home has been the community I've been surrounded by. I am in contact with likeminded people who are also passionate about waste and understand my passion, and I get to educate others. I'm thankful that I can continue to learn and share information while having a positive impact on the environment. I love what I do.

Thanks for reading!

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