Bee determined when you’re launching a new business
The plight of our honey bees has been well reported in this newspaper. Pesticides, environment and now the Asian hornet are all putting pressure on our bees, which are critical for pollination and our eco-system. Now a new company is hoping to support Jersey beekeepers and raise the profile of the amber nectar.
Jersey Honey Ltd has been a labour of love that has been years in the making for locally born Shaun Gell. For the past two decades, Shaun has run the Gelaires hair and beauty salons. The idea for the new project started six years ago, when he and his family were discussing the plight of the bees and decided to do something about it. Shaun has spent years working with lab technicians producing his own beauty product ranges and hit upon the idea of infusing honey into a range of products, including shampoo. For 18 months Shaun developed the products with the help of labs in the UK, using natural ingredients. Once he was finally happy with the products, it was time to start market research. After getting positive feedback from the beekeepers themselves, he wanted to ask the public in Jersey and London.
‘I approached “4 Insight”, a company that collates information on any given subject, and I have to say they were amazing, very professional and supportive throughout the focus groups – highly recommended if ever you need research done. I was pretty nervous listening to the comments – yes you want people to tell you the truth but this was years of work and all could be for nothing if they didn’t like it. The results came in and were really positive.’
It took four years to get to the point where Shaun decided to call the new business Jersey Honey Ltd. ‘These were the hardest years for me. Working alone on the project can be quite daunting, especially when you’re talking to friends and family about Jersey Honey and what you hope to achieve. After a while they have that look, as if to say: “Hang on, you’ve been on this, how long? And still no product, no name, and no one else is doing this. This really doesn’t look like this is going anywhere.” ’
It was Shaun’s passion and determination which kept him working. ‘This project is not just about offering another quality product to our growing export market. Jersey honey has been scientifically proven to be high in antimicrobial properties and so a range of beauty products is the best starting point.’