Great idea becomes great business

“Why hasn’t anyone put honey into tubes like toothpaste, so you can just squeeze it out?”

— NICOLE HEIN

His name is Diesel. Her name is Nicole. She’d do anything for him. Even if it meant starting a business at the tender age of 11 years old to raise enough money to buy him.

When Warman, Saskatchewan resident Nicole Hein began begging her mom for a horse, her mother’s answer was much the same as any parent’s answer would be, “horses are a lot of money.”

The difference between Nicole and many others her age is that she took her mom’s comment as a challenge to raise the funds herself, starting a thriving honey business that has now registered thousands of dollars in sales.

“I told my mom that I needed to get a good job so I could buy and feed a horse, and my mom jokingly said that I needed a good idea, not a good job,” says the determined Warman student. “When I was 11, I walked into the kitchen and saw my mom making peanut butter and honey sandwiches. She was struggling with the squeezable honey container, and the question just came out, “Why hasn’t anyone put honey into tubes like toothpaste, so you can just squeeze it out?”

With a good idea in her head, and a burning desire to own a horse in her heart, Nicole and her mom Gaye set out to research the concept of selling honey in a squeeze tube. Turns out that no one else was doing it.

In July of 2007, Nicole launched Tu-Bees honey, a unique product that features creamed honey in a tube. Nicole thought that Tu-Bees would be great for snacks on the go, squeezing into tea, taking camping, adding to recipes and for making cinnamon toast (Tu-Bees also comes in cinnamon flavour).

When Nicole first started the business, everything was done by hand. The first 2,000 Tu-Bees were assembled by creaming locally produced honey with a hand mixer and pouring it into tubes that were purchased from Quebec. Once the tubes began selling to retailers, a filler was purchased to speed up the process.

Nicole and Gaye started by marketing Tu-Bees in and around Saskatoon, with numerous Saskatchewan retailers, like Gale’s Wholesale and Droolin’ Devils Fine Foods, carrying Tu-Bees. Now that her business has been successfully launched, Nicole says her goal is to find a packer and distributor who will take Tu-Bees to the next level.

She also jokingly says that her immediate goal is to sell more honey because, ”Diesel needs a winter blanket.”

And, yes, Diesel now belongs to Nicole. “All of the hard work to get this business going was so worth it because I just can’t imagine life without my Diesel.”

Tu-Bees honey is available online at the Tu-Bees website www.tu-bees.com.Retailers wanting to carry the product can order from Gale’s Wholesale Ltd. www.galeswholesale.comor Sugar n Spice Sales [email protected] sasktel.net.

Christalee Froese writes from Montmartre, Saskatchewan.

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Christalee Froese writes from Montmartre, Sask.

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