Bee2Bee business creates crowdfunding buzz
Honey producer Crispin Reeves, whose bee-keeping career began 10 years ago as a hobby in Cambridgeshire, has launched an £80,000 crowdfunding investment campaign to support the next stage in the growth of his expanding company Haughton Honey.
The firm hopes to attract additional investors so that it can recruit more bee farmers to help satisfy the increasing demand for its pure, raw honey.
Since launching in 2014, Haughton Honey has steadily expanded and recently began supplying the fine food retailer Booths.
Now it hopes to move onto the next stage of growth by attracting investors via crowdfunding platform, Crowdcube, in return for shares in the business. The campaign runs until May 13.
The story of Haughton Honey began in Cambridgeshire in 2006 when Crispin was living in Whittlesford, south of Cambridge. He had been living in the county for 13 years, having worked in business development and sales and marketing for internet service provider UUNET and then mobile telecoms company 3G Lab.
But a change of direction in career led to Crispin keeping rare breed cattle and then taking up bee keeping as a hobbyist. He launched Haughton Honey after realising there was a growing market for natural English honey.
He said: “The honey market alone within the UK is worth £119.5 million per annum, with healthy annual growth.
“Forget spreading the love. Loving the spread is more accurate at the moment. UK sales of jams, spreads and honey grew 5.9 per cent in the year up to October 2015, with growth in honey sales alone between 2014 and 2015 increasing by £9.8m year-on-year.
“I had no idea when I started bee keeping as a hobby in Cambridgeshire ten years ago that it would lead to the setting up of a successful and growing business, but since we began trading, we've established more than 70 regional sales outlets as well as recently winning our first premium supermarket customer, Booths, who started stocking Haughton Honey at the start of April.
“During 2015 we packed and sold over 8,000kg of English honey and anticipate requiring more than double that amount during 2016. Now is the time to seek additional investment to support the growth of Haughton Honey so that we can take on more bee farmers, increase our honey production to satisfy our growing month-on-month demand, and hopefully achieve a listing with a second premium multiple retailer.”
The firm is also exploring export markets in a project spearheaded by Mel Reeves, Haughton Honey's second director and Crispin’s wife. She is a professional linguist, fluent in both French and Spanish.
The company bottles raw honey which comes straight from the hive, is cold extracted and never pasteurised which means that it retains all of the natural enzymes and proteins that make English honey so special. It is also 100 pr cent natural and pure and features traces of dandelion, chestnut, blackberry, clover and other wildflowers.
As well as supplying consumers direct from its website and a wide range of retailers, the firm also recently began supplying to The Protein Works, a large sports nutrition brand owned by Alliance Boots, which has just launched a co-branded Cashew Nut Butter Luxe product containing Haughton Honey.