In January 2010, Kim and Rupert Phillips fulfilled a longtime dream: opening their very own honey showroom, The House of Honey, in Western Australia. The ardent honey connoisseurs have dedicated the better part of their lives to educating their loyal customers on the importance of bees in the world’s ecosystem and to sustainably crafting high-quality Australian honey for their community.
Once tethered to clunky cash registers and out-of-date systems, The House of Honey received a serious upgrade when Carbon Group suggested Kim and Rupert move to Vend. With the help of the Vend Expert Partner, the husband-and-wife duo made the switch — and today, they use our cloud-based point of sale solution to power their shop and the attached Sticky Spoon Café.
We think Kim, Rupert, and The House of Honey are the bee’s knees (it was right there!), so we spoke with “Queen Bee Kim” to learn more about the business and how Vend enables them to succeed. Read on for the interview.
Tell us a bit about how The House of Honey got started. What are you all about?
My husband Rupert became interested in bees at the age of eight, when he started beekeeping. During his early years, he dreamt of one day opening a honey farm, where he could showcase fine honeys and educate the public on the fascinating world of bees. After researching the idea of starting our own business, we decided there was a real need for a honey showroom in Perth, WA.
Bees are under threat globally, and we felt we could play an important role in making people more aware of the role that bees play in pollination and food diversity. We take pride in our business and in educating customers on how to maintain a sustainable future within the honey industry.
We also decided to make a lifestyle change to follow a dream that would challenge us to be more productive, innovative, and creative. To make this dream come true, we needed to raise the funds to open The House of Honey — so we worked overseas for five years to build the honey shop ourselves and finally opened it in January 2010.
The House of Honey proudly specializes in pure, unpasteurized, and unadulterated varietal honeys. We practice harvesting honey only when our bees have allowed the honey to fully ripen and mature into an exceptional taste. Our guarantee to our customers is that we’ll provide a premium, top-quality West Australian honey.
We use traditional and sustainable farming methods that produce an intensely flavored honey with a high nutritional value that’s proven through laboratory testing. We actively educate our consumers on bees through various mediums such as honey festivals, brand boards, and student educational activities.
What’s your local community like?
Our community is a mix of local farmers, young families, and interstate and international visitors.
The Swan Valley is located only 20 minutes from Perth CBD and 10 minutes from the airport. It accommodates a varying age range, from third- and fourth-generation families still working the vineyards throughout the greater Swan Valley region to first-time homebuyers and young families establishing themselves in areas such as Ellenbrook, Whiteman Edge, and St. Leonards.
Our local indigenous community are the Swan Valley Nyungah (Noongar) Community.
The House of Honey endeavors to enhance our customers’ visits by making everyone feel special. We engage with each of our customers several times throughout their visits, and we meet and greet all our customers with a warm welcome.
When they leave the store, we ask each person if he or she had a good experience. Customers are even able to fill out a feedback form in the Honey Club should they want to. Occasionally we send out surveys to ask our customers key questions on our service and products. We’ve found that our feedback has been extremely positive!
What brought you to Vend? How have you found it? Would you recommend Vend to retailers like yourself?
We were introduced to Vend by [Vend Expert Partner] Carbon Group, who suggested we move away from old-fashioned cash registers and Excel spreadsheets so we could be faster and more efficient.
How did you find setup? What’s the specific setup like in your store? Are you using an iPad, PC, or other device?
The system is user-friendly, and the younger generation find working on the iPad very easy (second-nature almost!). Vend enables us to draw new reports to analyze our business’s growth and shortfalls.
Why are you passionate about what you do? What drew you to this line of work?
Passion, devotion, hard work, and a belief in our product have made our business a success. When you’re really passionate about something, it becomes infectious to the people around you — whether they’re customers or staff.
Policies and procedures have become the strong foundation on which our small business has grown. Listening to our customers enables us to take on some business options (i.e. value adding) that we wouldn’t ordinarily venture into. This has allowed us to diversify and add more interest to our honey showroom for tourists and locals.
What advice do you wish you’d known when you started?
It would’ve been lovely to take an introductory course for small businesses covering things you need to know and where to go to get them — tax, payroll, labelling laws, HR, etc. Just a snapshot of some important foundations to get you on the right track.
What’s your best retail tale?
Whenever our loyal customers visit (the ones who’ve been coming in from day one) and tell us how proud they are of us, I’m always blown away. Sometimes when you’re working so hard on your business, you don’t notice the growth and changes that you’ve succeeded in making because you’re always working on the next challenge or idea.
These customers make you stop and think about what you’ve achieved and how they want to be part of the journey. They remind you of how nice your gardens are, how lovely the new carpark or extensions look. They’re appreciative and so very proud that you’re succeeding as a small business.
I love these wonderful customers who make you take time to be proud about what you’ve done as well!