© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2020

Small business has its first international sale

Charlotte Grimwood
beards and the bees edit
Small business owner looks forward to reopening  Supplied

A new small business owner said customers were supportive during Alert Level 4 lockdown.

Benjamin Blackmore entered lockdown with a small business, Beards and the Bees, after he left his full-time job in February.

Blackmore said he had invested a lot of time and money into the venture, which makes and sells beard balms.

“I immediately had to put that all on hold and I guess the problem for me is I was just starting to get the ball rolling.” 

Customers had a kind, understanding attitude during the lockdown period, Blackmore said.

When he wrote a post saying the business wouldn’t be operating, he got no negative responses, reactions, or had any negative feedback from customers.

“From the responses I’ve been getting from people, it’s fine."

Last week, he had his first international sale in the US. He emailed the customer and said there’d be a long delay before the product arrived, due to lockdown restrictions. He offered a refund, but the person was understanding of the situation and happy to wait.

Blackmore had orders to fulfill in New Zealand, which will be completed when his business can operate under the Alert Levels.

He hoped to see sales resume after seeing a lot of “lockdown beards growing”. The difficulty was having stock sitting there that could expire, he said.

Beards and the Bees donates ten percent of its profits to the New Zealand Bumble Bee Conservation Trust as local beeswax is used in the products.

The name isn’t linked to the cause, however, but an acknowledgement to his grandmother, Beth, who made him the recipe for a present.

Blackmore said he asked her if he could use her recipe and start a business with it.
One of the six variants is ‘Grandma’s Original’ of lavender and rosemary is because it’s her recipe.