The Scottish Bee Company, suppliers to retailers including House of Bruar and VisitScotland, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to find new premises to help meet demand of increased sales which is expected to quadruple in the next year, resulting in the creation of two new jobs.
The company, which recently received a Great Taste Award, was founded by Edinburgh couple, Suzie and Iain Millar in 2017. The aim of business, which has gone from strength to strength in the last year, thanks to ongoing support from Business Gateway Edinburgh, is to help grow the bee population, whilst producing natural, local products.
The company has increased sales from 150 jars in May last year to 1500 this year, and now sell to over 50 retailers, which include Cranachan and Crowdie, I. J. Mellis Cheesemonger, Bayley & Sage in London.
The couple, who employed an apprentice beekeeper last year to help meet demand, are currently working with three bee farmers across the country which they hope to increase to five by the end of the year to help manage around 500 beehives.
With the welfare of the bees at the core of the business, the couple use fully recyclable polystyrene hives which can last up to 30 years to keep bees warm, dry, safe and healthy, which allows the bees to spend less energy on doing this themselves and more time collecting pollen and making their honey.
Support from Business Gateway Edinburgh includes 121 advice, branding and digital support, network collaborations and a placement on its recent Gateway to Investment programme to help entrepreneurs prepare for investment and growth.
Suzie said: “This is a really exciting time for us as the business is really starting to take off and demand for our honey is really growing which is the perfect time for us to launch our crowdfunding campaign to help us find new premises and take on two new members of staff.
“We’ve been so lucky to have had as much support from Business Gateway Edinburgh which has really helped us at every step of our journey.
“The courses they run are fantastic with excellent teachers and they are all free which is great for early stage businesses like us looking to grow and create jobs. It’s allowed us to really focus our attentions on areas where we could improve and has given us the tools and confidence to implement everything we’ve learned with successful results.”
Susan Harkins, Head of Business Gateway Edinburgh, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to work with this exciting fast-growing company who are a great example of what happens when you have a great business idea and you take it forward with the right help and support from experts, resulting in a successful growth plan and creating jobs.
“We will continue to support The Scottish Bee Company at every step of their journey including their crowdfunding campaign and search for new premises, which we wish them the best of luck with.”