SOOK-cessful Stories with Bethany Warren, founder of The Wandering Bee

24-Jul-2021 08:38:42 / by Iwona Stanczyk


Tell us a bit about yourself and your business?  

The Wandering Bee handcraft 100% soy wax candles from beer bottles and is run by a little family from Staffordshire. Bee is head of the hive, Josh is a man of many jobs and Callow, albeit only 3, is our candle connoisseur. We're passionate about creating candles that are kinder to the planet and better for your health. Everything is designed with sustainability in mind and are vegan friendly and cruelty free. We create kick-ass kind candles that are premium, handcrafted and smell as good as you.


What would you say are the key elements for starting and running your own business? 

Drive, determination, passion, creativity & sincerity.


What do you like the most about being your own boss? 

It means that I am able to be completely free to design and create how we want, what we want and work together as a family. It gives us the freedom to have that beautiful work/life balance.


What triggered you to start your own business? Was it bringing a new idea to the market, earning more money, more freedom?  

I have always dreamed of working for myself, but have never found something that I thoroughly enjoyed doing. So January 2021 I decided now was my time to grab the bull by the horns and go for it. I sat back on the sofa and said 'what about candles? That's when The Wandering Bee began.


How did you come up with the name for your company? 

I was wandering through life, not knowing what to do or where I was going until I started The Wandering Bee!


How would you describe your company's success so far? 

I've always been a big believer in manifestation. I knew that if I really wanted The Wandering Bee to be successful, I could make it happen. Since launching in February 2021 we have grown every month but that hasn't come without a lot of hard work and mistakes. We're learning literally every day, new things & how to do things better. So the success we've had has blown me away and shown me what you can really do if you have enough drive and put your mind to it.


As an entrepreneur, what is it that motivates and drives you? 

My family and having freedom!


Shout out to some small businesses that you think more people should know about.  

@mischiefandhide @brimstoneonline @aces.and.aces @wildhorse_vintage @pxssyinferno @rattlesnakesuitcase @rockandroseartwork @thesinnerandsaint @upcycled_bycherry @cosyposyco @officialhappyshrub  @myeagereats @shaycanbakes @trentham_bakehouse


Small businesses have been some of the hardest hit by Covid-19. How has the pandemic affected your business? 

I actually worked within the NHS as a dental receptionist during the pandemic, so The Wandering Bee didn't even exist when small businesses were hit the hardest. I dread to think how hard it must've been for small businesses during this time though, as it would have enormously affected us today.


What changes have you had to make to your business to adapt to the ever-changing retail situation during COVID? How are you operating now? 

The Wandering Bee is mainly online and runs through our website, then at weekends we are always on a market somewhere within the UK.

Pop-up shops are becoming a permanent part of the retail landscape. What made you choose a Sook pop-up space to promote your brand? 

We lived in London for five years before we had our daughter Callow. I actually used to work in Selfridges on Oxford Street and would dream about selling something I had made in one of the shops down the street. When the opportunity with Sook came up, I literally jumped for it as why wouldn't I want to sell our homemade products in the city that I blossomed in!


What goals did you hope to achieve with your pop-up

I just wanted to be able to reach an audience I otherwise wouldn't be able to. Just even being able to get The Wandering Bee's name out to a handful of people would've been great but we managed to introduce ourselves to a lot more than just a handful! Which is amazing!


How did you promote your pop up with us? Which marketing tools did you find most successful at driving footfall 

Instagram!! Instagram gave us the perfect platform to promote our event and let everybody know where we were and when.


Was the pop-up a success? Tell us a little bit more about your Sook experience. 

Yes! We absolutely loved it! It was surprisingly a really relaxed and enjoyable pop up experience. We spoke to a great number of people and introduced them to The Wandering Bee as well as making some money. It really was a win win.


What sort of things do you wish you knew before booking your pop-up space? 

Where to park for unloading as we ended up spending a fortune in parking!


What would be your top tip for anyone else looking to do their own pop up? 

Our top tip would be to just enjoy it!! I know it's easier said than done, but we stressed so much beforehand about how much stock to make and take with us that when we just relaxed into it and did our best we had the most enjoyable time. You're a small business at the end of the day, don't put too much pressure on yourself!


What are your future plans? Where do you see your business in the next year? 

Within the next year I would like to see The Wandering Bee growing at the same pace it is now, gaining more loyal customers and building on our already lovely community. Eventually, I see us in a warehouse space creating all types of homeware products!


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Tags: retail space, pop-up shop, #femalefounders

Iwona Stanczyk

Written by Iwona Stanczyk

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