New To Selling Honey
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  1. #1
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    Default New To Selling Honey

    Hi. We are going to be new to selling honey this fall. We already have 3 full honey supers on each of our two hives, so I'm assuming we'll end up with at least 180 lbs of honey. What do some of you recommend as to what sizes of bottles to sell at farmer's markets? We are told the honey bears seem to be the most popular style, but unsure on what size(s) to go with.

    Thank you.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: New To Selling Honey

    I don't sell at farmer's markets. Too much time commitment. But I do sell online, in person, and at a roadside stand (unmanned).

    From those locally that go to farmer's markets, you need to be consistent to build up a customer base to make it worth while. Your mileage may vary though.

    For me, bears never took off. People weren't interested in them. Pound jars sell ok. But people go crazy over honey in a mason jar. Pint (~1.5 lbs) and Quart (~3.0 lbs). I don't know what it is about it, but people think it's more "pure" and straight from the beekeeper if its in a mason jar.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: New To Selling Honey

    I sell 1 kg and 1/2 kg containers. 1kg's would be 90% of the market. In the 1kg I use tubs and jars. People have a strong preference for either. Meet the market. My thoughts Geoff

  5. #4
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    Default Re: New To Selling Honey

    We sell a lot of 8oz bottle and 12 oz bottles, plastic. Once the customer, farmers market, buys the small container, most come back for the lb container. We have repeat customers wanting the 2lb container.
    Maybe we will add mason jars, give them a ton of choices!
    Zone 6b: 27 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: New To Selling Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    I don't sell at farmer's markets. Too much time commitment. But I do sell online, in person, and at a roadside stand (unmanned).

    From those locally that go to farmer's markets, you need to be consistent to build up a customer base to make it worth while. Your mileage may vary though.

    For me, bears never took off. People weren't interested in them. Pound jars sell ok. But people go crazy over honey in a mason jar. Pint (~1.5 lbs) and Quart (~3.0 lbs). I don't know what it is about it, but people think it's more "pure" and straight from the beekeeper if its in a mason jar.
    Same thing here, I sell both plastics and mason jars and the jars have been the #1 seller. On a side note, Ball jars has a sale usually towards August where all their jars are 50% off if you purchase an appliance which is also marked like 40% off. I bought ~700 pint jars for $250, so saved me a lot of money and I got a pretty sweet jam purée machine out of the deal

  7. #6
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    Default Re: New To Selling Honey

    I bought 4 cases of pint jars with lids at walmart around black friday for $6 a dozen. I have not sold much. I don't get out and have had no responces from a craigslist add. I don't have enough for a road side stand yet but also live in a more rural area and so will not have the main traffic go by. I am retired and stay home and so don't have a job where I see people that I can pick on. I have no ideal how I am going to be able to sale much honey and my past results don't bode well for when I actually get a bunch. I don't have any ideal what I am going to do. I have gave about 4 or 5 gal away to family but not sold but maby $75 through my daughter.
    Your thread makes me wonder how a hermit like me will unload honey.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  8. #7
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    Default Re: New To Selling Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    I bought 4 cases of pint jars with lids at walmart around black friday for $6 a dozen. I have not sold much. I don't get out and have had no responces from a craigslist add. I don't have enough for a road side stand yet but also live in a more rural area and so will not have the main traffic go by. I am retired and stay home and so don't have a job where I see people that I can pick on. I have no ideal how I am going to be able to sale much honey and my past results don't bode well for when I actually get a bunch. I don't have any ideal what I am going to do. I have gave about 4 or 5 gal away to family but not sold but maby $75 through my daughter.
    Your thread makes me wonder how a hermit like me will unload honey.
    Cheers
    gww
    I go to farmers markets around my area. Honey will generally sell itself if you can find a market that has been around for a couple years and has a consistent crowd. As long as you show up each market and build familiarity and trust with the customers, you won't have much problem selling honey.

    Having a large display helps a lot too. It's better to bring a lot more than you think you'll sell because it gives you the look of abundance. The same applies for anything you sell at markets; I noticed a large increase in sales from just adding a lot more honey to the table.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: New To Selling Honey

    Aar.....

    Thanks for the advice. I will be honest, I don't think I want to sell bad enough to sit at a farmers market. My dad one time took tomatoes and cucumbers and let the young kids sell it along the highway and let the kids keep half but they only stayed at it long enough to get enough money to go to the fair. I am worried about being able to sell but farmers markets are more of a commitment then I am willing to make. I still thank you for the advice.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  10. #9
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    Default Re: New To Selling Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    I am worried about being able to sell but farmers markets are more of a commitment then I am willing to make.
    You don't have to go to every farmer's market. Some farmer's markets allow infrequent attendance. Going once and setting up a booth and seeing what gets sold may work for you. If not, you only wasted a few hours.

    Or, instead of farmer's markets, think about craft/bazzar/holiday/festival events. Around July 4th there are usually a ton of festivals going on where people set up booths on the street selling all kinds of stuff. Perfect event to unload a few gallons of honey. And you don't have the repeat time problem.

    But generally, local honey sells itself . . . once you've found your customers. I too was worried about selling. At first, I was worried I didn't have enough product to consistently supply customers (10 gallons goes quick). Then, I was worried I had too much to sell (900 pounds sounds like a LOT). Now, I don't really care either way. I have honey to sell, and if you want some come get it (it's awesome) and if not that's fine too. I sell out every year, and when I do, I do. In the beginning I put alot of time into finding customers (roadside stands, Etsy account, Ebay, craigslist, website, SEO, friends, word of mouth advertising, family, co-workers (and their family members) neighbors, clubs, ect.). I was probably bugging too many people. But what I found is once people know you have local honey, they find you. It gets alot easier as time moves on.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: New To Selling Honey

    Specialk.....I don't know yet what Etsy, SEO is and am not on facebook. I do relize that I am going to have to put some ground work in as soon as I can figure out what fits my personality. I do believe even living where I am, I will eventually do like you and have a table/stand at the end of my driveway. I can't make myself ask my family cause that reminds me too much of all those kids in band and stuff pressuring people that love them to spend $15 on a candle or christmas paper. I know selling is pointing out the good things of what you are selling. I know there are people out there that want what I have with out me having to twist thier arms and I need to find those people. I hear lots of people here that work farmers markets suggesting to talk about bees and thier product and I enjoy talking pretty good but don't like to be pushy about it though I probly am overbearing when I get going.

    I live by a town of about 300 people and most of the places I go are like that or even smaller. I would have to drive 40 miles to get to a target or lowes store.

    I will figure it out or just have closets full of honey cause I hope (knock on wood) to have more next year then the 7 gal I got this year.

    I would probly give it all away if left to my own devices but my wife likes the extra money and also knows how hard extracting is and does help (does more then me). She knows there is value here if I can figure a way to move it.

    I am such a hermit for the last few years and am getting my enjoyment from the building and messing around with bees and would not mind being able to give a little extra to the wife since my hobby is all that I am really enthusiastic about and so am pretty worthless on the normal honey doo list.

    I see and sorta understand the advice you are giving but it is about like running my bees, I have the concepts down but when actually doing it it seems differrent.
    Thanks for the suggestions.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  12. #11
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    Default Re: New To Selling Honey

    For a laid back guy like you who likes to stay by the shop why not put a yellow 'Local Honey For Sale' sign at the street in front of your property entrance and let them stop by to pick some up. Put the sign up now so everyone who drives by remembers seeing it every time they pass.
    And leave it up. Sooner or later they will stop, and probably tell their friends they saw it as well when it comes up in conversation.
    Not sure of your setup but they could blow the horn when they get to where you want them and then you come out to greet them. Keep some jars in your shop to make it easy.

    I put a sign up on a veggie farm where I keep bees and keep some honey in the barn for when people stop. It's not a farm stand by any means, it's a farm, but I sell a case of 1lb jars out of there a week. They tell us they see the bright yellow sign every time they drive by and remembered it being there when they needed honey. It stated off slow but there are regulars stopping all the time now. On a less traveled side road too. Now the farmer sells some plants and excess produce out of the barn as well. People love it.

    Something like this could work for you as well, and you can continue to be a hermit.

    The sign is a old political sign that I spray painted bright yellow and used a 1" brush to write the wording on in hunter green enamel. It has a real homemade look to it, elementary school homemade if you know what I mean. Cheap too. At first I was embarrassed by my penmanship but I've gotten lots of compliments on the old fashioned look of it.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: New To Selling Honey

    clyderoad
    Believe it or not, I do have a sign at the end of my drive right now that says eggs on it. Over 3 years, I have probly had an absolute total of ten people that have stopped for eggs. I am high priced on the eggs though at $2:50 per dozen. I thought about putting a honey sign out there but only have about 1.5 or so gals left and thought I would wait till I had more and then just put honey (or a sign) out. On eggs where I live, lots of people proby have or have family that have chickens and $2 would be a fairer price on eggs and expesially lately when eggs keep going on sale for less then a dollar at the store.

    The reason for the high price on the eggs is cause if some body comes around more then once, my wife will throw an extra dozen in for free and that way the price is not always changing everyting some body does stop. Mostly we give lots and lots of eggs to our kids when they visit.

    From the egg experiance, I don't think that if I make a lot of honey that I will be able to move it on the stand. But you are correct, my ideal has always been to have an honor stand at the end of the road and that would fit my personality best. I might go out if I see some one at the stand and talk thier ear off but would know that it was them that wanted to stop and that I did not push them into it.

    I do have your suggestion on the list of things I do plan to do but don't have high hopes for it selling a lot.

    I am an idiot as far as visiting goes. I have sit hours on a bucket watching scouts at swarm traps or sitting on a fishing bank for many hours even though the fish didn't bite and been happy but even the thought of farmers markets and such just depresses me even though I usually have fun whatever I do once I am there.

    Thanks
    gww
    zone 5b

  14. #13

    Default Re: New To Selling Honey

    gww,
    build a "Klotzbeute" ( if you must have frames, itīs possible to build a hive like that with frames)
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klotzbeute
    put a chair near and wait until people come and use this to relax and want to watch the bee traffic. Pop up to tell them about your tf beekeeping.
    You will sell more honey than you produce, I swear!

    PS I like the Marilyn hive, but beware....

  15. #14
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    Default Re: New To Selling Honey

    and you better sell a lot of honey because the first time you invite someone to sit outside on your property next to your and they get stung your going to be liable. I swear sometimes I don't know if posts like this are meant to be a joke or if their serious.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  16. #15
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    Default Re: New To Selling Honey

    SiW....
    The marilyn one reminds me of an old old dirty joke that I knew as a teenager and that can not be repeated on a family forum. I don't have the building skills to even build the first one.

    It was a fun link and those guys on it have even more fun then I intend to have with my bee keeping. Now if somebody wanted to see just how junky my hives are so they could be amazed at how easy it is to make a box that bees will live in, I have it made.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  17. #16

    Default Re: New To Selling Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by Riskybizz View Post
    and you better sell a lot of honey because the first time you invite someone to sit outside on your property next to your and they get stung your going to be liable. I swear sometimes I don't know if posts like this are meant to be a joke or if their serious.
    To all reading my post: donīt do this if you have africanized bees! Thank god we have gentle bees even our defensive bees are gentle and you may watch them.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: New To Selling Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    To all reading my post: donīt do this if you have africanized bees! Thank god we have gentle bees even our defensive bees are gentle and you may watch them.
    Better yet-Don't do it at all, gentle bees or not.
    Open a coffee shop if you want people hanging around all day long.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: New To Selling Honey

    "Open a coffee shop if you want people hanging around all day long"

    Agreed Clyderoad. You can always tell the folks just itching to get in their 10 posts a day regardless of their real knowledge concerning the subject.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  20. #19
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    Default Re: New To Selling Honey

    This is jhursky's thread that I tagged my concernce to and I hope his questions were answered well enough. I grew up with out bees and honey and never even seen a hive on the side of the road till I got my own. Honey has come way down in the box stores and growing up we just did not have honey or if we did it was bought from a store. I know more people now that think local honey is better but since it is not a have to have item, even my family would probly buy the cheap stuff if they even bought any at all. Take my daughter for example. They use honey for everything. I have given them about 5 quarts since the end of june. I would give them more but did want to sell just a bit to see how people took to it.

    Now my daughter already ran out and went to sams club or some where and bought 5 lbs or so. She didn't buy it from me and I didn't give her more cause I would not even have a gal or so to sale.

    I am proud of my honey and it is hard work to extract. I know there are consumers out there that the differrance of knowing who and where the honey comes from is an important factor and then there are others who think that getting as close to honey as possible for the best price is better then using sugar.

    Since I grew up with a cheap attitude of buying percived bargins, I can hardly fault others and so have a hard time pushing a sale.

    I don't point this out as anyone is doing wrong but more to show that selling for me needs to be to people that want what I have rather then some other loyalty being used against them.

    I have thought about discounting my stuff to other beekeepers who are good at the other half of the equation (selling). I would like to get my own retail but may not be good at it. I had 3 hives and got 7 gal and next year I will start with up to nine hives (depending on hive losses) and so believe that untill I decide it is time to sell some bees (or a bad wether year) that my honey production is going to go up. Getting rid of it in a fair way has been bugging me since I got bees cause I know my weaknesses.

    I like hearing what you others have done cause I am an ideal thief and also have a background that makes me understand why people do get the cheap stuff from stores.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  21. #20
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    Default Re: New To Selling Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    I can't make myself ask my family cause that reminds me too much of all those kids in band and stuff pressuring people that love them to spend $15 on a candle or christmas paper.
    It sounds like you want to sell honey, but you don't want to listen to anyone about how to sell honey.

    You don't get it both ways. You can either sell honey, or you can't. If it isn't for you, that's fine. Let someone else do it. Sell it wholesale, in buckets, to other beekeepers. They'll buy it gladly. Sell your whole harvest at one time and be done.

    Or give it away. Your choice.

    Asking people how to sell honey, and then telling them it won't work isn't really productive for anyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    build a "Klotzbeute" ( if you must have frames, itīs possible to build a hive like that with frames)
    People in the states don't know what they are, nor would anyone be able to recognize one, or probably think it was anything other than a log. I highly doubt anyone would stop, or spark up a conversation about one.

    Most beekeepers don't even know what they are, or what they're called. I think they're super neat though. Always wanted one, but am too lazy to build one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Riskybizz View Post
    and you better sell a lot of honey because the first time you invite someone to sit outside on your property next to your and they get stung your going to be liable. I swear sometimes I don't know if posts like this are meant to be a joke or if their serious.
    Where exactly did you get that conclusion from? Like many things you read on the internet, this too is false advice.

    In most states, you are not liable for honey bee stings when someone is on your property simply because you own the hives they came from. If the people are considered Invitees (they likely are, other than trespassers or licensees), the owner would only be required to warn of potential dangers. A sign that says "honey bees" or a reasonable expectation that bees are on the property is likely enough (such as a sign that says "bee farm" or "live bees"). Plus, most states take a distinction between "wild" and "domesticated" animals. Higher liability for domesticated, usually none for wild. Honey bees bridge a special gap, being counted as wild when convenient, and domesticated when convenient, all to the benefit of the beekeeper.

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