Hailing from Wanganui, New Zealand, Lisa Jolly has been a serial entrepreneur for over 20+ years, launching her most recent international company Honeybunch Pure Naturals in 2014. Her stroke of creative genius came right from her kitchen when she decided to submit her handmade soap and scented bath products to Shopify’s Build a Business competition. Her high energy, hard work, and persistence caught the attention of many in the industry, accelerating Honeybunch’s jump into the world of e-commerce.
The natural product line, infused with New Zealand Manuka honey, was created because of Lisa’s desire for safe products that her whole family could use and enjoy. All Honeybunch products are created in an eco-certified facility and carefully handcrafted in New Zealand. Manuka honey lovers can immerse themselves in a variety of bath and body products including flavourful lip balms, soaps, lotions, and more.
Lisa is passionate about the natural wellbeing of humans and wildlife, she is continuously finding ways to contribute her products and her voice to causes that are dear to her heart. As a New Zealand native, her launch into the U.S market is extremely exciting as she will focus on sharing both her products and her mission on a global scale.
Tell us what inspired you to start Honeybunch? What is Honeybunch’s brand mission?
Honeybunch was inspired by a variety of things ironically. One of my main goals has always been to have an international brand (I have a long checklist) and I was very focused on finding a way to tick that off I found myself in a place where I was really uninspired with a my mundane y manufacturing business in 2014, the lack of excitement pushed me to hunt for something different.
True to the nature of my personality, I’ve jumped around quite a bit over the course of my career.
As an accountant’s clerk by trade to a florist shop owner, I somehow along the way ended up in manufacturing, go figure. Not knowing what to expect, after a while I found it to be rather boring and messy. While I love New Zealand with all my heart, I also felt like I was tucked away with such a small ability to reach people in the way I really wanted to. So I decided to reignite my creative side after stumbling across a competition held by Shopify. The challenge of the competition was to build a website from scratch and sell as much as you could in 8 months to win a trip to meet Richard Branson, so I thought, right, this has ‘me’ written all over it. After about one hour of thought, a dose of nature and a nudge from my husband saying you need to take the leap and sell products with some honey in it, Honeybunch was born.
One thing to know about me is I love my pets and they are very much a part of everything I do! So naturally, I had a little focus group with them and we decided that I was on a mission to with Honeybunch. Manuka Honey is in fact the liquid gold I had always heard about. After giving it a go, it fixed my skin, helped my digestion, improved my sleep and even made my pets’ coats super glossy. I was so pleased with all the health benefits that I was determined to share it with more people. My mission was to make Manuka honey products not only for health and wellness benefits but to make it fun, infuse it into everything I could and make the entire experience of buying, right down to the packaging, filled with a light hearted spirit I believe in lifting one’s spirit, practicing self love, and laughter. Our mission now is still to encourage everyone to bee the best version of themselves; #beekind #beecool #beeyou and #beewell naturally.
Why is sourcing quality ingredients so important to Honeybunch? What does that process look like?
Sourcing is stressful especially during lockdown and in a tiny country! There are a lot of hoops that we need to jump through in order to export our beautiful products throughout the world. But when there’s a will, there’s a way. I’ve set the bar extremely high and reversed engineered everything this past year for the business, from seeing our New Zealand manufacturing plant registered with the FDA, to becoming a honey exporter with full MPI (ministry of primary industries) transparency tracing for our Manuka honey, and registering with Made in New Zealand.
Our latest leap is applying for leaping bunny, all amazing certifications to keep us accountable in sourcing and making sure that our suppliers are doing good and can verify the ingredients at all times. It’s a big job, as we manufacture with a banned ingredients list in hand at all times as we don’t want to just talk about it, we want to walk it! I’m an avid animal lover and if I thought I was profiting from animal testing or palm forest destruction, I wouldn’t be able to sleep. This is why it’s important to me and probably the biggest challenge in our business currently.
Why is having a social impact so important to Honeybunch? What are some initiatives and nonprofits your brand is affiliated with? Why are you so passionate about them?
I travel a lot and I had a very pivotal spiritual moment in Cambodia last year after spending time supporting the non-profit eco-soap bank there. Having a social impact is just crucial for us. It’s not about being big enough financially, it’s about doing what we can do and hopefully being a voice that matters as our business grows. I remember once while I was in Shanghai, a nurse from one of their premier hospitals told me “if you do good, good will follow”. This was coming from a woman who lived at the hospital and worked tirelessly 24/7, existing off of bowls of rice and about $100 month if she was lucky. That experience really had a profound effect on me. For me, I definitely gravitate towards supporting animals as humans are hard work (haha), so my main passion currently is helping the wildlife devastated by the Aussie fires rehabilitate. People often say to me, ‘that was ages ago’ and I always tell them “commit to the cause, do you think that the animals are all better now with a place to go?’ the answer is no. I truly believe that social impact is a long term commitment, not something you do once and call it a day.
Most recently, we were so moved by trying to help frontline workers in the US, especially as we started to expand into the US market. I had spent a lot of time in LA and just made it back mid-March when COVID-19 really started to pick up. I knew I wanted to do something and even though I did not have the extra cash to front, I do have Manuka honey lip balms to donate. To date, we have donated over 6000 lip balms directly to frontline workers. All we did was spread the message through our social media and website, asking people to email us if they were a front line worker and to share their hospital details.you’re a frontline healthcare worker with their hospital details. In return, we received thousands of inspiring photos with smiles behind masks and grateful nurses and doctors from all over the USA. I’m excited to be in talks to partner with an amazing organization called Bee Informed. The organization focuses on gathering information to help the bee population’s health and educate people of their findings. We plan to launch the Bee Informed bundle soon which will donate a percentage directly to them and also include useful information, bee pasture garden seeds, and more on how we as consumers can help this organization.
How do you see Honeybunch growing over the next 5 years? What are a few important goals you’d like to hit for your brand?
I see Honeybunch as the ‘under bee’ and we want to buzz away and become the cool kids on the block. I would love to get our products into Trader Joe’s and also would like to be in a variety of natural grocery chains with our Manuka Honey products. I truly believe we have a unique and incredible product. It’s not marketing junk, it’s real.
For our e-commerce business, we have some huge goals, in 5 years time, we want to be doing over 1000 orders a day.. We always want to over-deliver on expectations in a retail setting and also gift delivery.
Why is self-care so important right now especially with the pandemic going on? What are 3 tips you can give our audience to help them take care of themselves better both physically and emotionally?
Firstly, I think that the pandemic has been the reset the world has needed, in an awful way. A massive wake up call to us all, stop only taking more care of not only yourself but the planet as well. Be grateful. I practice these three things in my own life and know how well they work for me so would encourage others to do the same:
- Tap into your natural creativity!, I would rather someone create a DIY handmade face mask using a jar of Manuka Honey than have them go wild spending money on some expensive lotions and potions. Ironically, some of the big ‘natural’ brands are owned by the largest chemical companies in the world so it’s important to look after the planet while looking after yourself. It’s also important to be aware of what you put on your skin, it will not only enhance your outer beauty but will lift you spiritually knowing you are doing the right thing. The right things aren’t always easy but they are the most rewarding and satisfying.
- Have a good laugh and try to see the beautiful things in life. I personally think wrinkles and laugh lines are sexy and reveal character and substance. Life is meant to be lived, the wrinkles, bumps, and lumps are all beautiful signs that you’re really living.
- I’d definitely ingest a spoonful of Manuka honey a day. The cultures that religiously subscribe to this regime look timeless and are generally very healthy. A little bit of chocolate doesn’t hurt either!
How can we follow you on social media?
Linkedin: Lisa Jolly