“This feels like a dream. Am I really here?” were the words that stumbled out whilst climbing the staircase to Mel’s studio in the Jewellery Quarter, the home of many creative businesses in Birmingham. We’d been arranging to meet up for over a year, but (my) life kept getting in the way. Finally, as I began the exciting new journey of starting up The Artisan Detour, I couldn’t think of a better person to shoot with first!
Having always been a lover of interiors myself, daydreaming often about how I would one day decorate my own home, it was exciting to discover Mel was starting her own interiors company, an online store called Honey Bee Home.
Seeing Mel’s launch collection for the first time, I remember being impressed with not only her taste, but choice of products across the entire range. Mel had successfully sourced products that were unique, yet perfectly curated to add a classic and timeless feel around our homes. Quickly becoming fans of Honey Bee Home, my mum and I snapped up a duo of white and gold pineapples! Today there are a few products dotted around our house, and we’re eagerly awaiting the new collection.
Read on to learn more about Mel’s love for interior styling, and how she finally came to realise it’s time to run away with her dreams by starting Honey Bee Home. We’ll also learn what’s coming up in the new range, but also Styled by Melissa, where Mel will share all her interior styling projects.
After graduating from (Ba Hons) English and Creative Writing, then furthering her studies with a Masters, Mel went on to start her first business, Honey Bee Copywriting. But it was June 2017 when Mel, having had the idea of Honey Bee Home floating around in her mind since buying a table to upcycle in 2013, that she finally had her it’s-now-or-never moment, and launched her second business.
“From there, the ideas for the brand had started to develop. Once I gave it my focus, it kind of took on a life of its own.”
Since Mel’s no stranger to running a business, having already been running her copywriting business for a while, I was curious to learn how her experience of setting up a homewares store went.
“It was an enormous learning curve. There is so much to consider, when you have a product-based business, rather than service based. Knowing that this brand was going to be customer-facing meant that I was so much more particular.
I had to wear a lot of different hats. Learning buying and merchandising has probably been the biggest challenge but also the most fulfilling. When I curate a collection and my customers love it, it makes the work worth it.”
Even though there was so much more for Mel to learn when setting up a product based business, the change was very much welcome. Honey Bee Home has allowed Mel to realise her potential in an area she feels most passionate about. When asked how it felt to unleash a whole new creative side to her, Mel said:
“Absolutely thrilling, to be honest. In a way, it’s fulfilled something that I'd wanted to pursue for a long time. I adore interiors and have always loved the idea of running a brand. Being the creative director of something that I have created from scratch is exciting.”
It seems all her hard work is paying off! It’s obvious to see in the short space of time Mel’s been running Honey Bee Home that things are going pretty well. Not only has she curated a successful collection, but she’s also taken the exciting leap of moving into a studio in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham. She spoke of wanting a little Beehive to base her businesses for a while, and after having a chat with a friend she’d become aware of some empty units around the Jewellery Quarter. The next thing she knew, she’d moved into the studio she’d set her heart on.
“I’d come to a point where storing and styling the stock in the house wasn’t practical anymore and I struggled to be productive there. A studio was the next natural step if I wanted to expand and improve the brand. I love the Jewellery Quarter. It has a lovely community feel; I am friends with other creative business owners who are based here. It has a lovey rich history and it feels great to say that I’m based here.”
So, we can see that Mel’s had a successful start since launching Honey Bee Home two years ago, but what’s next for the brand? I can tell you that I’ve had some sneak peeks of the new collection, and from what I’ve seen, the brand is going in a very exciting direction.
“Since the launch, I’d been toying with the idea of adding products that weren’t exclusively homeware. So I’ve taken a few months to think about my actual customer as a person, and not just their home. We’re adding a ‘gift and lifestyle’ category which means there’ll be more than just homeware available on the site this year. I’m so excited by this because I’ve hunted down brands and products that you’re unlikely to find in many other places.
It’s the same luxurious look and feel but with lots more product to choose from, so I hope it’s well-received. Dozens of orders later, the excitement of an order coming through does not go away. Long may that continue.”
STYLED BY MELISSA:
Mel’s childhood interest in interior styling has also led to starting another project, Styled By Melissa. She explains how her portfolio consists of working on residential projects for friends and family, but she plans to work with brands in the future too.
“Styled By Melissa is going to see me carve out my space in interior styling, I hope. Styling is a passion of mine and one of my favourite things about running Honey Bee Home, so I’d like to be able to do that for other brands. I also undertake interior decorating projects, so I’ll be doing more of that under the Styled By Melissa brand.”
Finally, I asked Mel what she hopes to achieve with both projects in the future?
“I’d like for Honey Bee Home to expand and be recognised as an independent brand that people really love and come back to, time and time again. I would love a pop-up shop, as it would really bring the brand to life and it’s always nice to meet customers face-to-face. I’ve already started to put together ideas of how I’d want it to look and feel. Outsourcing to talented creatives is on the agenda this year, as I’m only one person and love seeing how others use their skills to bring the vision to life. I’m working on the PR, so that the name gets out there a little more in 2019.
As for Styled By Melissa, I’d like to be booked and busy! I want people to hear my name and attach it to great work. There are a whole host of great interior stylists who I’d love to work with, so I’m hoping to connect with more of them this year.”
I hope you enjoyed getting to know the independent #girlboss behind the Honey Bee Home brand. Hopefully you’re now excited to see Mel’s new collection, which is expected to launch soon!
In the meantime, keep up to date with all things Honey Bee Home on the following links:
Photography: Yasmin Qureshi