We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Alyssa Haws a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Alyssa , thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Can you recount a story of an unexpected problem you’ve faced along the way?
One of the most unexpected problems we faced starting our business was finding resources on how to abide by the laws associated with our profession! It was a bit stressful to wonder if we were doing everything right paying taxes, cottage licensing, labeling requirements… it’s a lot for a new business owner! We learned and corrected as we went but if I were to do it again I would have reached out to more community organizations designed to help people with just this! We recently joined Local First AZ! What a great resource! Also, for those making/preparing food at home we suggest googling ‘AZ Cottage Law’ you’ll need a license number a list of approved products you sell and certain disclaimers on all your packaging! It can seem like a lot but you have to start somewhere.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
For those who don’t know who we are The Haws Family :) Hi! Hahah, We own Haws Bees and @hawsbeeshoney on Instagram. We rescue and relocate honey bees and are bee tenders, health foodies and healthy lifestyle influencers on Instagram. We also own a home remodel business and specialize in non-toxic alternatives to regular building methods. …but the business everyone always wants to hear about is beekeeping because you have to admit thats a pretty unique profession! My husband Trent has been beekeeping since he was in high school, in 2011. We officially started HAWS BEES in 2017. We had focused mostly on bee rescue and relocation from 2011 until around then when we introduced selling Raw Local Unfiltered Honey and Wax to our business and we needed something to call it! We sell at dozens of local stores and pop-ups around town and one of the most common questions we get is “Are you related to the Haws Flower Shop owners?” So I’ll say here for those reading this and wondering :) Yes, the owner of Haws Flower Shop was my husbands Grandpa. One of my favorite parts of having our name in our business is hearing all the stories people have shared with us about Haws Flower Shop-working there, buying mulberry trees… such a great connection to our community and history!
We often hear about learning lessons – but just as important is unlearning lessons. Have you ever had to unlearn a lesson?
A big thing we are taught to perceive about business growing up- or at least this was how it was for me- in our society is how cut throat it is. The reality is not the same. Don’t get me wrong t can be difficult, and has been for us, sometimes to develop and maintain relationships with other beekeepers who do the exact same thing as us when we feel that boundaries have been crossed but for the most part we find that beekeeping is a very supportive and inclusive community. I think you find what you look for.
As far as business and selling there isn’t just one customer dollar all small businesses are fighting over, and in fact quite the opposite is true if someone is likely to spend money on a local business they’re typically more likely to spend money on your local business as well. Because of this your fellow local businesses and network you have with them is one of your biggest assets to growth! So the idea that everyone is fighting over the dollar it’s just not true and learning that lesson fast will help your business grow in ways that it will not otherwise grow until you do!
Have you ever had to pivot?
One of the main pivots we had to make was last spring when we were in the spring (our busy season for bee removals, remodels AND our annual honey flow). I was in the end of my pregnancy with our second daughter and was having some issues. We made the decision to say no to some local markets that we knew would be a great opportunity for our business. We knew they would be quickly snatched up by another honey vendor meaning that we wouldn’t just loose out on this opportunity but future opportunities with these 2 markets. We decided to go ahead and prioritize a low stress family focused spring instead and if we ever start to second guess that decision we just have to think back about all of the results of putting our family first. To us that pivot will always be worth the sacrifice.