Taos Bee Flower Adds to Buzz Around Natural Product Manufacturing in Northern New Mexico
Moira O’Hanlon is turning the beekeeping enterprise she’s nurtured for 14 years into a growing business. Passionate about bees and the environment, she has created Taos Bee Flower to bring the pure, organic skin remedies she concocts in her Arroyo Seco orchard to market.
Rose Reza, business retention and expansion specialist with the Regional Development Corporation (RDC), mentored O’Hanlon through the Biz Sprint startup class offered by Taos Entrepreneurial Network (TEN).
“The class spanned four weeks, and made me think about where my market was,” said O’Hanlon. “I loved it because I got great answers to my questions.”
Acting on early advice given to her, O’Hanlon took the time to get her packaging and marketing right. She said it proved to be excellent advice that resulted in bringing her first products to market with a brand identity that suits her company mission to the core.
Four products form the heart of Taos Bee Flower’s offerings currently–honeybee balm (an all-purpose skin balm), raw honey cleanser and mask, body moisturizer and propolis toner. The balm, which comes in three sizes, are packaged in compostable tubes and hand-stamped to be as kind to the environment as possible. No plastic is used in any of her packaging, and she has plans to introduce a new, refillable toner bottle in the near future. The toner is made from the propolis that she collects from the 20 Top Bar beehives on her property. It is a facial toner with anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-acneic properties that can also be used as aftershave and a deodorant.
Just 11 months in, O’Hanlon says she will need to expand soon. She will need additional equipment, and will be hiring her first part-time employee shortly. The next product she will add to the Taos Bee Flower lineup will be beeswax soap. She collaborates regularly with two other Taos-area natural product companies, Blue Feather Soap and Teaography Teas.
Citing this collaboration, O’Hanlon noted “there are so many creative people here in Taos. There’s a buzz up here around natural products made in Taos, and I’d like to help promote that.”
Currently, Taos Bee Flower products are available online at taosbeeflower.com, at La Montanita Organic Co-op in Santa Fe, and in a few retail outlets in California, on the East coast and in Texas. O’Hanlon is mulling over the prospect of opening a retail location on her property in Arroyo Seco.
Taos Bee Flower anticipates growth of 50 percent in year two. Opening the retail shop would combine her manufacturing process with a showroom, and serve as company headquarters for the employees she expects to hire over the next few years.
“I want to work on my marketing and widening the net,” O’Hanlon said. “Eventually, I hope to have the wholesale portion of the business account for a full fifty percent of our sales.”
With the support from Taos TEN, the RDC and local collaborators all in the same industry, it’s likely Taos Bee Feather will reach its goals more quickly than anticipated. The RDC is proud to support small, growing startups like O’Hanlon’s, and is looking at ways to help and sustain its future expansion.
Visit www.taosbeeflower.com for more information on the company.