We had the good fortune of connecting with John Wright and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi John, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor behind the success of my brand is how we (my team and I) engage with our customers, especially in person. Over 70% of our sales come from in person markets and events such as our weekly farmers markets, annual community festivals and holiday gift shows. Back in 2011 when I founded the brand I was 26 I wasn’t just looking for a way to grow my business and achieve success I was also looking for something more to emerge from within myself. As cliché as it sounds I knew I was meant for more. I knew I had untapped potential and I had a hunger to explore that. I wasn’t clear about what that was but the journey over the next few years revealed that to me and I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to do that and to also be able to extend that to others.
Ever since I was in elementary school I loved going door to door selling various things for school fundraisers. It was a fun challenge in my mind, a grand adventure to see how much I could sell and help out my school. A few different years I made top seller and felt really good about achieving that. I had attempted to translate this skill into my adult life by selling supplements, skincare, candles, and things of that nature but had very little success. I would experience a lot of resistance as most people I would approach were not interested in buying things they weren’t already thinking of. As soon as I started bringing my honeys to local farmers markets I was elated to see a totally different response. People were instantly and genuinely interested in hearing my story and knowing more about my honeys. They loved the concept of a multi-generational family business that I am continuing forward. I then realized that I could finally let go of trying to fit into any molds and I could really own who I am in this business and own my story. What came next was a natural progression I am so grateful for. I began owning who I am and expressing myself, having fun, literally being the invitation for others to do the same. That right there was the true secret sauce I was looking for in past endeavors but I always felt I needed to be something to get something.
I also realized that this new dynamic I was practicing was very counter to the way I was taught how to be successful in school and from family programming. “Go to school, get good grades, don’t ask questions just work hard, be serious, when in doubt just work longer and harder etc”. That was not at all the energy or consciousness that was going to attract my type of audience or anyone for that matter lol. It feels so empowering to know that the exact opposite of the old world oppressive corporate America top down leadership model is what is actually required for my business to thrive. This huge realization gave me the inner fuel I needed to get my business truly “launched” and to the point of sustainability.
A few years after giving birth to Bee Wild I began bringing team members into the hive to help me sample and sell at the bigger festivals and farmers markets. I quickly found a passion in inviting them to express themselves freely and authentically as they sample and sell our honeys. Seeing the new person light up when they begin to feel how much fun it is to sample the honeys and express themselves freely at the same time gives so much joy and fulfillment. Also, seeing how this impacts the customers and all the positive feedback we receive from them just affirms and validates that this is our most important factor in our success. This whole in person dynamic became the ultimate win win for the team members, me, Bee Wild, our precious honeybees and all the amazing customers that we have the privilege of interacting with.
Safety and freedom to be yourself is now a core part of our team culture. We pride ourselves on being a LGBTQ owned business and have a certificate through a wonderful organization called the NGLCC.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
In 2011 I had a lightbulb moment, I realized I had a huge opportunity I that had been right in front of my nose that I didn’t even realize was available to me. I could in fact be not just a small part in my multigenerational family business but I could evolve it into the modern times we are in and bring it to a more urban audience. First I’ll go back to the beginning to get you caught up! I was blessed to grow up in the spectacular beauty of the North Georgia mountains and have a passionate beekeeper as my father. Soon after high school, I was drawn to the bright lights of Atlanta, a city which, luckily for me, retains its deep Southern heritage. I soon became equally comfortable in two worlds: the slow-paced, nature-rich land of the mountains and the lively, culture-rich environment of Atlanta.
One of my passions is real food, and that is what excited me the most about bringing our raw wildcrafted honeys to the Atlanta audience.
In 2018 I fell in love with my soulmate, followed my heart and moved to the West Coast, San Diego to begin a new & bi-coastal chapter of my life. I still visit the honeybee farm in Georgia for one week every month and this more focused time soon led to a whole new chapter for Bee Wild as well, launching a brand new line of small batch infused honeys. Not only has this given Bee Wild a more national audience by attracting a broader customer base it has allowed for the co-creation of a more cooperative business model creating more roles and work hours for team members. This has given team members more voice in the creation of new infused honeys.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would totally take them to Torrey Pines, It’s an easy to moderate hike right along the coastline with stunning views and you can get a good dose of the trails and the beach. It’s easily done in a few hours so you have plenty of time to go see something else in the same day. Another place id take them to is Trilogy Sanctuary. This is a wonderful hidden gem just a couple of blocks from where my fiancé and I live in La Jolla Cove. Trilogy has a beautiful rooftop, with an ocean view, yoga studio, gift shop and café serving super delicious, fresh, healthy and clean vegan options. I always try something new there everytime I go because they have so many yummy options. The other place id go is Coranado Island to watch the sunset. There’s something special about the way the Island is positioned that makes it very ideal for viewing the sunset. I have never seen more spectacular sunsets anywhere on the planet that I’ve been so far!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
A special shoutout to my dad for making all of this possible, for dedicating his entire life to becoming a better and better beekeeper, for showing me what it’s like to face seemingly insurmountable challenges but not give up.
Also a special shoutout to my amazing team, there’s no way I could do all this without the passionate support and commitment from all of you guys.