Most of us will be well aware of the plight that is facing the UK's bee population, and the hugely important role that bees play in our ecosystem and food supply chain. We caught up with Suzie Millar, the Co-Founder of the Scottish Bee Company, who seek to put passion and purpose at the forefront in their mission to increase the Scottish Bee population by 20% in the next 3 years.
Which came first for you - passion for business or passion for the environment?
The environment but, as we were looking into things we could do to help, having a business that could do things for the environment made us passionate about ‘profits with purpose’ businesses.
What was the key motivating factor at the time you started your business?
To increase pollination across the country
How did you finance your business?
Family and friends invested with us in the business and also we had a couple of grants from the Scottish Government.
Did you have any initial challenges and how did you overcome them?
Figuring out how to actually sell honey! We had no idea where to start, our initial ideas of building an ecommerce honey site and have it take off immediately were naïve so we quickly realised we needed to build relationships with retailers to create a better brand awareness.
What are your main revenue streams?
Ecommerce, retail and export.
If you were to start from scratch, are there any changes you would make?
We wouldn’t have wasted time trying to see if the ecommerce would get going quickly and would have worked harder to get into retail outlets.
Is it difficult to make a green business profitable?
No, having a ‘green’ business is a huge marketing tool, people are willing to spend a bit more on a product that is helping the environment.
Do you have any top tips for those launching a green business?
Keep your vision strong, remember why you are doing it, always focus on that because it's super hard and emotionally challenging setting up a business but if you have a strong belief that you can make a difference, then so will others.
What gives you the most hope for the environment?
The fact that people are now recognising that it’s something we need to take care of. I think over the past 2 years there has been a significant shift in peoples' and governments' attitudes so there is hope....I hope!