Today we're taking a slight break from discussing our ingredients and delving straight into some personal candor. But first, I need to give you just a little backstory:
As some of you know, my husband Ash and I fully operate Bee Farmee, which started as a small kitchen operation on our spare time just barely over three years ago. We'd spend late hours preparing for shows and markets, setting up for weekend events all over the state, and it really was a lot of fun! Though, it didn't take long for growing pains to creep in. We were so very blessed for the growth, all of the orders, shows, support from friends and family, and new partnerships with other stores. We met so many amazing folks like us and made great connections with other small business owners along the way. Ash and I had jokingly mentioned starting a famers market in the town we love so dearly here in Collinsville. We usually just laughed it off knowing it was just a "one of these days" pipedream. We both had full time jobs on top of our homesteading and parenting our six teenagers between us (and we all know that's a full job in itself!), but those words just continued to speak to us until we could no longer deny it was time to take action. And if you know us, you know how the rest of this story unfolds. If not, again, condensed story, it was the birth of Farm Hippie and Bee Farmee Headquarters. We listened to our instincts, followed our gut, and with all of the faith and tenacity we had, we celebrated our grand opening just over a year and a half ago. We retired from our day jobs, gathered up all those connections and friendships we made along the way and brought them with us, and settled in to Bee Farmee's official production station inside Farm Hippie.
Doing what we did was no easy feat. Small business alone, along with operating the way Farm Hippie does, trailblazing our way through the dark it seemed, left Bee Farmee operations... a little left behind. I dare say, even neglected at times. Every bit of our time and attention was poured into our mission at Farm Hippie. Without a doubt, it certainly deserved our attention, love, and devotion to what we're trying to accomplish, and it's nice to step back and see how all of the hard work is starting to pay off--and it is. Bee Farmee never really went away during all of that, but when I was able to really reflect on all that Bee Farmee had done in the meantime, it broke my heart. No more shows or markets, interaction was minimal, Facebook, website, and social media was almost non-existent, and production seemed to be just enough to stock the shelves. If you're familiar with small business, well, that's just not how it works. It felt a lot like the movie Toy Story where Buzz gets all the attention and Woody just sits longingly on the bed with nothing but devotion waiting to be picked up again.
The momentum was never gone, Bee Farmee just got stuck in a slight depression. I was watching and cheering on all the amazing accomplishments of other vendors inside Farm Hippie, and forgot to pour that love back into our entire beginning. One of the things Ash and I have always said is, "Where you put your energy is where you will see growth." I 100% urge you to practice that so you can see the truth in that, too. It wasn't until this revelation that I realized something had to give. Balance was certainly warranted in this situation. It was time to practice that as well.
The reason I say all of this so openly to all of you, is that this is my apology and my gratitude. Bee Farmee is alive and well and we're actively working on balance. 2021 is our year for that. We now have a little extra help in the production room and in Farm Hippie, which has been a tremendous blessing to us. So, Heather, if you're reading this, you're a rock star and we love you! And we are so grateful for you. To all of our original customers, if you're still here, thanks for not giving up on us. For all of our new customers, thank you and we're so glad you're here! And to everyone, there's many great things to come and we appreciate your support more than you'll ever know.