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The Evolution of Two Honey Brands

The BC food industry is full of interesting vibrant people, and the owners at Honey Bee Zen are examples of that. A couple of years ago, they came to us to rebrand their two honey lines and we have since built an ongoing business and mutually respectful relationship. Leveraging that initial creative work, owners Amanda Goodman Lee and her husband Jeff Lee, have substantially increased their brand awareness and expanded their business well beyond their Creston home.

We recently had a conversation with Amanda about their brand evolution, and their involvement with Farm Food Drink. Initially, when she and Jeff moved to Creston, they purchased a local company called Swan Valley Honey. This brand was very entrenched in the region so they wanted to respect that. At the same time, they were keen on elevating Honey Bee Zen as a premier brand that went far beyond just honey. Along with the client’s vision, Farm Food Drink was able to create brand elements that were modern and fun and still complemented each other. It was important that the two brands be recognized as coming from the same heart-felt source.

Here’s how our conversation with Amanda went:

Farm Food Drink:
Our initial work together was to rebrand both your company lines, Honey Bee Zen and Swan Valley Honey. What did that project mean for you and your business?

Amanda Goodman Lee:

Well first off, Farm Food Drink conducted some market research that helped us see that we could support two distinct brands and not have to collapse them into one. Then they gave our logos a fresher new look and made them easily recognizable as related brands. It was also important that it be apparent Jeff and I are the beekeepers, to make it personal – “know the people who produce your food”.

People now associate both brands as being distinct, yet coming from the same producer – mom and pop shop, so to speak, versus a big national brand. It’s allowed us to distinguish ourselves and evolve our product lines, especially with Honey Bee Zen’s infused honeys, lip balms, salves, and candles.

Farm Food Drink:
What surprised you about rebranding?

Amanda Goodman Lee:

That managing two brands was doable. Swan Valley Honey could continue as the tried-and-true family brand honey position with a very loyal clientele.  Honey Bee Zen can continue to evolve as a premier brand with a foodie appeal for interesting infused flavours, plus enviro-friendly candles, lip balms and salves. These products show significant value. The brand supports that. What we find is people will pick up a jar of their favourite Swan Valley Honey, and then add a honey-infused varietal from Honey Bee Zen to their purchase.  Chocolate infused honey over strawberries and ice cream? Yes, please!

Farm Food Drink:
How has the new brand enabled you to add more brand elements to your marketing?

Amanda Goodman Lee:

It makes things a whole lot more efficient and professional. Our logo, core values, and tag line are easily included in all marketing materials.  When you don’t have that brand foundation, when you need to create something yourself, it takes time, doesn’t always look right, and always seems like a work in progress with constant tweaking. It was very professional experience to get help from Farm Food Drink for our farmers market material, website, labels, rack card, and other things, even our vehicle wrap.

Farm Food Drink:
How does it feel to have a solid brand foundation for your business? What other possibilities do you see?

Amanda Goodman Lee:

Both brands are getting a lot of love. When people come to our Farm Gate, they take pictures of our red barn, the same barn that’s on the Swan Valley Honey label. They post it on Instagram or Facebook and we get exposure to their followers.  The same with the Honey Bee Zen line. People recognize that it’s a more high-end creative brand especially as they try the different flavours of our infused honey products. Again, they are embracing our brands as they share on social media.

We’re not quite as active on social as we’d like to be. It’s just us. Jeff and I and a couple of employees. In 2023 we plan to get much more visible there, because that’s where our customers are.

Farm Food Drink:
Working with Farm Food Drink, you started with a cohesive brand project. What is it like working with them with ongoing projects?

Amanda Goodman Lee:

As I mentioned earlier, it makes our life a whole lot easier, and we are confident that we will always look professional. With Farm Food Drink, and their understanding of our brand details, values, and business goals, we can just shoot them an email with a request and they get it done. It’s like having our own creative team in our back pocket.

We’ve been involved in tourism magazines and maps, publishers who say they can do the graphics for our ads. But, they are never quite right. We send the specs to Farm Food Drink, and they get things perfect and make us look good.

We are gearing up for Christmas sales, hard to say when it’s 30+ degrees right now. We had a gift box idea, showed the creative team, shipped them a sample and WOW! They hit it out of the park, instantly. There was some minor tweaking, but we are excited about this holiday packaging that will make us stand out, thanks to Farm Food Drink.

Our brand is recognizable and congruent across all media, and that will need to evolve. Farm Food Drink can help us do that. We can’t say enough good things about them.

It is a pleasure to work with good people doing good things and Amanda and Jeff are great examples of that. We value our ongoing partnership and look forward to seeing future success for them and their bees.

Creative marketing, business planning, and market research are how we support BC food businesses. Whether you’re just starting out, ready for some big changes, or somewhere in between, contact us to have a conversation.

More about Honey Bee Zen

More about Swan Valley Honey

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