Startup Success: Creating some buzz around bee products
Drew Burnett has turned a life-long passion for honeybees into a business with a global impact.
Born and raised in Norwich, Burnett returned home after his education to teach at Kelly Middle School. While teaching was fulfilling, beehives beckoned. Drew loves this work and is proud of his products.
Drew’s Honeybees started with honey. Today, it offers a line of lip and skin balms that are responsibly crafted and 100 percent USDA organic.
While Drew had a learning curve going from harvesting honey to creating his skincare line, he had an even bigger curve when it came to learning how to start and run a business.
“Working with SCORE has been revolutionary for me and for my business,” Burnett said.
He was creating the balms in his kitchen and selling them to a growing pool of friends and family when the right question from his SCORE mentor, Alan Mayer, created a turning point. He asked Drew if he wanted to remain a cottage industry, or did he dream of something larger?
Burnett did indeed dream of something larger, but he didn’t know how to get there.
“My SCORE mentor opened my eyes to solutions that I didn’t know existed,” said Burnett. Not only in learning about contract manufacturing, but also everything from the basics of record-keeping to best practices of running a profitable business.
Ensuring the ingredients are good for the body, good for workers and good for the environment is only one element of Burnett’s “Do Some Good” philosophy.
Burnett’s company is an accredited Benefit Corporation. As such, Drew’s Honeybees donates 20 percent of profits. In this case, contributions support vital research to help honeybees thrive. A partnership with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station makes this happen.
“Honeybees are the best pollinators, which makes them a critical part of our ecosystem. Without them, our whole food system would be impacted,” Burnett said. “It’s only right to preserve the organism that makes all this possible.”
At Drew’s Honeybees, being successful goes hand-in-hand with doing good.
Emma Palzere-Rae is the Ignite Program Manager for Thames River Innovation Place. For information, visit ignitethamesriver.org.
What: Drew’s Honeybees
Who: Andrew "Drew" Burnett , Founder & CEO
Founded: October 2017
Employees: one part-time beekeeper
For more information: https://www.drewshoneybees.com
Featured Resource: SCORE — https://sect.score.org
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