Saturday, June 10, 2023

NC family succeeding with honey business led by 8-year-old

by By MORGAN STARLING The Daily News
| June 21, 2022 3:00 PM

ONSLOW, N.C. (AP) — Carter Jones was watching YouTube videos on bees when he brought up the idea of making honey to his father, Randall Jones.

"What I did was, so, daddy told me, 'Do you want to have a bee company?' and he showed me how it works on TikTok and we both agreed and we started it," the 8-year-old said.

What started as making honey for their four-person family, turned into a successful startup called Bubby's Bees, one that all four members of the Jones family have played a part in.

"Since my nickname's bubby, we called it Bubby's Bees," Carter said.

Not only are they making and selling honey and hot honey, but 13-year-old Taylor has taken to turning the leftover beeswax into chapstick. Right now, she has mint and strawberry available.

"It's just like an all inclusive experience for them to learn," said mother Shannon. "We learn a lot about bees, and the process, and business, and you've got to make stuff to earn money and they're both getting a little profit but they also have to help. Just kind of a whole learning process."

Randall said they started out with two hives last year, which he took no honey from.

Bees make honey to eat during the winter, that's their food source, though Randall said they produce way more than they need. So, he let them have it all last year, and then this year, split one of the hives in two.

"I caught a swarm and put them in a box, so, that gave me multiple hives and they're the ones producing the honey," Randall said, adding that currently, they have seven hives. "So, my newer hives this year, swarms I've done, cut outs I've done, one that I've bought, I'm letting them sit and go through the season without taking the honey from them, and then next year I'll have everybody ready to draw honey off of, and I'll split hives again and next year, I might have 12-15 hives."

Bubby's Bees' honey has become so popular, the owner of the Trenton Piggly Wiggly has started selling it.

"We delivered our first order and he placed another order which was double, and we delivered it today, matter of fact, and when I got home, he's ordered 12 more pints of hot honey," Randall said.

Although the business has been a lot of fun for the Jones family, it's been a lot of work. Randall said the extraction process is probably the hardest, because once you start, you've got to finish it.

But Carter is having a blast, especially when making sales. Shannon said they took a few bottles to an event Onslow Feed and Grain was having last weekend, and Carter had a lot of fun.

"He's very quick at math, so he was like okay, what do you want, and he was adding it up, he was like okay that will be $15," Shannon said. "He can tell them how much change they were getting back, he's very social so he likes to talk. He was telling everybody what the prices were..."

Speaking of prices, Shannon said pints are $15, quarts are $30, honey bears are $10, and little jars are $5, and come with a little dipper.

Jump on it now, though, as Randall said he's only got about one more day he can pull honey until the fall.

"The bees make the honey from the nectar in the flowers, not the pollen really, it's the nectar, but summertime comes and it gets so hot, the nectar dries up," Randall said. "So, when it starts to cool back off you'll get another little run, a shorter fall run of honey."

Although they are unsure of what the future holds, the Jones' hope to grow slow and steady over the years, and Randall said one day, it could be a nice little retirement supplement. However, he said in this business, nature has to work with them, too.

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