“Companies entered in my account books and exited without me having any control over their operations. I wanted to become a part of a business, establish it from scratch and take it to new heights. This urge never went away. So, I decided to quit and build a business,” Pratik Ghoda, a chartered accountant for 14 years, who used to handle the funding processes of many companies, tells The Better India.
The 38-year-old says apart from fulfilling his dream, he wanted to focus on a business that benefits the masses. His research opened doors into the field of bee rearing and pure honey.
“Bees are crucial for the survival of humans and nature as they play an important part in the pollination process. Moreover, the presence of adulterated honey in the market made the situation worse for human health. Honey is meant to be healthy and has medicinal properties, but adulteration only causes serious repercussions,” Pratik says.
So he decided to dive into the honey business, working towards bee conservation and offering pure honey to sustain. Pratik invested Rs 15 lakh to buy 300 beehive boxes to start the Bee Base Pvt Ltd in December 2019. Within a year, the startup has sold four tonnes of honey, earning over Rs 15 lakh in revenue. The business aims to reach earnings up to Rs 50 lakh in 2021.
He says that each batch harvested every fortnight produces enough to earn about Rs 6 lakh.
Different flavoured nectar
Pratik says that to set up the business, he conducted extensive research to understand its dynamics. “In early 2019, I started researching bees, honey production and its ancillary business opportunities. I also met farmers working in the field to understand the methods of beekeeping and their business models,” he says.
He adds that though he did not have the farmland or space to accommodate the bees, he collaborated with farmers, allowing him to rear the bees and share commission in return.
After agreeing on the terms, Pratik harvested around one tonne of honey in the first quarter. As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the business could not follow the conventional route of reaching customers via retail stores. As an alternative, he promoted and marketed honey under the name Bee Base, registered under Bee Base Pvt Ltd, on various social media platforms.
Ahmedabad-based management consultant, Yuti Dholakia, says, “I came across this honey brand through a WhatsApp group and used it for the family for over six months. I chose to buy it as it is difficult to find unadulterated honey today. But the one offered by Bee Base is pure.”
The startup offers honey in 11 flavours, including ginger, lemon, tulsi (Holy basil), ajwain (carom), drumstick, eucalyptus, raw, multiflora, litchi, saffron and saunf (fennel). “The honey comes infused with mild flavouring as the bees pollinate in those specific farms of ginger, lemon, etc. Hence the natural flavouring,” he says, adding that more flavours are underway.
Honey balm lipstick
The cost of Bee Base honey ranges from Rs 600 to Rs 900 per kilo, depending on the flavour.
Pratik’s uncle, Vibhakar, also an investor with the startup, elaborates, “The cost of the honey is high because of its originality, logistical costs and on-ground challenges. Transporting bee boxes in various fields enabling the insects to pollinate on different farms to achieve the required flavour is hard. The transportation costs are high. Moreover, the extreme weather or even slight change in wind parameters affect the bees.”
“Sometimes the farmers spray pesticides on crops, which kills the bees in large numbers. They are asked to refrain from the use of these toxic chemicals as pollination itself would help in increasing the yield of crops as well,” he adds.
Recently, the startup joined hands with a multinational brand to infuse Bee Base’s honey into their products. “Plans are under anvil to export and create new products with the use of honey. We are working to create a product from honey that will address digestive disorders. Another product underway is organic lipstick and lip balm from its wax,” Vibhakar adds.
Pratik says that his aim is to spread awareness of the health benefits of pure honey. “There should be honey on each dining table, and it should replace the adulterated and unhealthy sugar substitutes,” he adds.
To order Bee Base honey, click here.
Edited by Yoshita Rao