At the end of 2017 and I received a call from our friend Simon, owner of Southern Forest Honey. He had caught wind of a commercial business for sale in Albany.
WE JUMP! Calls are made but it seems someone has gotten in before us… BUGGER!
I ask the seller if he could keep us in mind should the deal currently being tabled not eventuate. I was offered a simple assurance, “Not a problem”.
A few months went by, and we were just quietly doing our thing. Our wedding venue, Whispering Woods, had its first 2 bookings. Two beautiful bush-themed weddings that went smoothly and helped us build momentum for that part of our business. Enquiries started flowing in thick and fast. Meanwhile we finished our 3 year build of our new dam. Yes, 3 years to build a dam, I've been called a perfectionist a few times. It happened again, but you should see it.
We wait and we wait...
After months of radio silence we decided reach back out to the beekeeper from Albany who was selling his business. HAd the deal been finalised?
We soon find out the deal had fallen through. A truly amazing stroke of luck on our end. Excited and a bit intimidated by the scale of what we were about to do we accepted the invitation to put forward an offer to buy the business ourselves. There was a few weeks of the usual back and forth, some very friendly negotiations led us to the end result:
A successful sale! We are now commercial beekeepers... Oh! That's huge. We woke up the next day with a fresh flutter in the air, ‘The Honey Shop’ in its entirety is now our business.
Suddenly we had the realisation there was a lot to do. First, we needed to find somewhere to store, process and package our honey, we needed a purpose build a packing facility. While we educated ourselves about what, in fact, a hoeny processing facility needed to be we designed the shed that it would go into. We waited on approval of the shed design while we worked with the former owner to seamlessly and sustainably take over management of all 200 of our newly acquired hives.
This all happening as WA entered into one of its toughest seasons for honey production in decades. The result, we produce about 15% of what we typically should.
It’s only up from here though right?
At the same very busy moment in our lives we were stopped in our tracks. We are given a beautiful ray of light, welcoming our second daughter Zele into our little family. How good!
In mid-January 2019 the shed design was approved, construction began quickly after and by mid April we had relocated all of the vats, honey, packaging gear, hive-ware and more and started packing from our farm 'Whispering Woods'. We started delivering into our retail network in Albany and around the Southern Forests. With a new baby, all of our existing work on the farm and now the honey business, we are absolutely flat out.
Despite the challenges though we are thriving on the energy, cheered on by our little Zele.