BEEing successful: How EBM business team “Bee Aware” is making history


Credit: Courtesy of Grace Marto

The EBM group Bee Aware is selling jars of raw, unfiltered and locally sourced honey. Use the code “WSPN” in the comment section of the Bee Aware order form, which is located on their site, to enjoy a complimentary wooden honey dipper with your honey order.

Talia Macchi

Buzz buzz buzz! Bees make honey, and honey is making money for “Bee Aware,” a business team in Wayland High School’s entrepreneurship and business class EBM.

Seniors Caroline Ting, Spencer Dines and Shayne Sutton, along with junior Grace Marto, created “Bee Aware,” a well-received business focused on delivering locally sourced, raw honey to customers while aiming to minimize environmental concerns and beat the EBM profit record.

EBM is a project-based class where students are grouped into teams to create and sell new and innovative products. To start, these teams brainstorm product ideas that are pitched to the rest of the class. Pitches that seem the most promising are voted on by classmates to then become a business that is to be run during the second semester of school. Since Bee Aware launched in October, the team got a jump start on sales, and its revenue stands at $3,000—already exceeding the revenues of every business team in 2016 combined.

“We are doing very well,” Marto said. “Our goal is to break the EBM record of around $4,200 in profit.”

Bee Aware was created due to the severe decline of the bee population. Ting, Bee Aware CEO, learned that commercial honey businesses were mistreating bees as well as filtering out all the natural health benefits of their honey. So, as a business team, Bee Aware aims to deliver top-tier honey that possesses all of the original bee pollen, the source of many of honey’s natural health benefits.

“We wanted to get people the best possible product, all while guaranteeing quality, delivering right to peoples’ doors and supporting local businesses,” Marto said. “Honey has been proven to improve allergies, provide anti-inflammatory benefits and more.”

With the support of EBM teacher Frederik Lehmann, Bee Aware turned its vision into reality. After lots of logistical planning and research, the team found their honey source, Crystals Honey, a family owned honeybee farm located in Billerica, Mass. Crystals Honey offers raw, natural honey right from the comb.

“They are very aware of what we’re doing and support our team values,” Marto said.

After creating the partnership with Crystals Honey, their next step was to get publicity, which they hoped would turn into orders. The team decided the best way to reach their targeted audience, Wayland residents, was through posting on the Wayland Community Forum Facebook group. After posting their order form, along with a blurb about their business goals, they obtained dozens of sales within the first day.

“The beginning was actually the easiest, when it came to getting orders, although we hadn’t yet realized the most effective way of packaging and delivering it,” Marto said. “[That] was definitely through trial and error.”

Once Bee Aware obtained their first 60 lb. pail from Crystal Farms, the team separated the honey into jars, packed it up and delivered it around town to their customers, setting them apart from other honey companies in the area, who do not deliver their product. The Bee Aware team thinks this feature of their company ultimately attracted more people to switch to their product.

“Delivering to customers has been really fun,” Dines said. “At night, I will grab a friend, play music and drive to different houses to drop off honey.”

One customer, junior Emily Campos, was very satisfied with her order.

“It was a pretty easy process when it came to obtaining the honey,” Campos said. “The honey, in my opinion, has been great in different recipes and in teas.”

After a few weeks of sales, when the team realized that their customers really cared about the environmental effects of honey production, they began research on how honey can help sustain the environment. Then, they took this research and composed an article about what they learned to send to their customers along with each honey order. The article shares 10 ways to be sustainable, 10 bee facts, five ways to use honey and a short quiz. Furthermore, all of their proceeds will be donated to the Bee Conservancy and the revenue will help the company grow beyond its goal.

“We realized a good amount of our customers are not only buying the honey because it is good, but because it is a much more sustainable way to consume honey,” Dines said.

Along with their article, the team also has a website for people to browse. On the website prospective customers can gather more information on their process, principles and team members. Primarily, however, the site is used for selling the honey which is transacted with an order form.

“Right now, we are working on taking credit card payments, although it is proving a bit difficult, as we are minors,” Marto said. “Hopefully, we will continue to improve our business, and feedback is always appreciated from customers.”

Another hurdle the Bee Aware team said they face is how little time they have to work together in class. Since the EBM class does not meet every day, the Bee Aware team doesn’t have many opportunities to navigate time sensitive challenges.

“It’s a lot of things that they need to handle in a short amount of time,” Lehman said. “It’s a very choppy schedule, and they have to navigate all of that.”

Lehman also said, however, that he is blown away by Bee Aware’s success.

“Their ability to communicate with each other, with their supplier, with their customers—I mean, the results show,” Lehman said.

If you want to try their honey, give their site a buzz, and Bee Aware will deliver some sweetness right to your door.

“It’s just crazy to think about what else we’re capable of if we commit and put our minds to it, no matter how cheesy it sounds,” Marto said. “Sure, it’s been hard work and time consuming at times, but it feels totally worth it for all of the knowledge I’ve gleaned over the last couple of months.”