Hi, I'm Fiona Black and this is the story of how we started our business.
It all started when we moved to New Zealand from Scotland in 2001. My husband, Stephen, who is originally from New Plymouth, New Zealand decided he wanted a beehive. "What do you want one of those for?" I asked. "Just as an interest" Stephen replied. He got 2 hives and had great fun.
He then decided that 2 wasn't enough for what he wanted to do so we increased to 7. "Don't expect me to help" I said.
We got a phone call a few months later from the people we had bought the hives from. They were retiring and did we want the rest of their hives. "Yes please" said Stephen. "Oh No" I said.
We increased to 147 and suddenly all our time and money was going towards the bees. Stephen was working full time while I was working part time and with 3 very small children suddenly I was very busy learning how to cream honey, then every Saturday I was on a market stall selling our honey.
I decided I needed help so booked the children into Daycare for one day a week and organised myself so that I could get all the honey ready for that week.
Stephen and I attended beekeeping workshops, fieldays, conferences and I found that I was becoming very knowledgeable and actually enjoying learning about the bees. I took the plunge and got myself a beesuit and would go out with Stephen at the weekends to be an assistant fetching and carrying.
Finally in 2009 we both jumped in and with 800 - 1000 hives we went full-time.
In 2012 we opened up a small office/shop in New Plymouth but having limited space found we were only able to keep a small stock so in 2013 we took the plunge and leased a large warehouse in a suburb of New Plymouth where we set up an RMP honey and beekeeping supplies shop. In 2015 we moved into larger premises with a designated shop front on the main street of New Plymouth.
With a staff of 6 we were going well until one summer there was no honey - the weather was not good. It was a wet summer and there was no honey. We kept going doing a lot of contract packing for other beekeepers but when the following summer the weather gave us another blow and instead of rain we got endless sun, a drought and yet again no honey we started to worry. Stephen went back to work as an Industrial Electrician to help with costs. As staff left I took up the slack. In 2018 we moved the whole operation home and with now only Stephen and myself we are back to working by ourselves. I've got my beesuit out of the cupboard and now help Stephen with the beehives, extract, pack and sell our honey.
Fiona - The Honey Lady - the talks that grew.
I was asked if I would come and speak to a group of ladies about bees and what we do. I was really nervous about talking to a lot of people but armed with a demonstration beehive and notes I got through it well and found that from that I got more bookings. I must have been doing something right.
Having now had quite a bit of practice I am still armed with my demonstration beehive and my beesuit costume and have made it a bit more fun!!! Phone 06 7575675 if you would like to make a booking.
Meet the team
|Stephen - Beekeeper|
Fiona - Beekeeper, honey extraction, packing, sales & admin.
"Arrived safely and ready to be scoffed. Many thanks for another super trade. AAAAA+++++" Jo, Edendale
"Real nice honey and real worth the money so bee on and don't let this one buzz off...." Murray, Whatakane