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Sep 27, 2021

Tasting the Manawatu with City Slicker Honey

Tim Coulson was just eleven years old when he was given his first bee hive. Seven years later he has 50 hives located throughout the Manawatu, and his business, City Slicker Honey, is buzzing. Erin Harrison spoke to the young entrepreneur.

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There’s no doubt Tim has already achieved an incredible amount at a young age, but it hasn’t come without a lot of hard work and sacrifice. From spending weekends checking on his hives, to facing various challenges because of his age -as well as being on the receiving end of a couple of stings – Tim has overcome it all to create a unique bee business in the heart of the Manawatu.

“Our products are different because we keep our hives in various locations around the district and we don’t mix the honey. So every batch from each hive has a really distinct flavour, and it’s like you’re ‘tasting’ the flavours of the Manawatu.”

“We also place our beehives for free in people’s backyards, which are very beneficial for their gardens, and they get a couple of jars of honey for free too! We currently have a waiting list of people wanting beehives.”

Like most successful businesses, Tim has a great team behind him to support the work he does with the hives. It was actually with a group of school friends in Year 11, in the Young Enterprise Scheme class, where they decided to build the company around Tim’s love of bees. And thanks to a couple of regional wins, the cash funding injection meant City Slicker Honey was able to establish itself as a fully functioning honey business, direct to the public and also through an expanding list of local retailers.

“We definitely wouldn’t be where we are today without the help of the Young Enterprise Scheme -their business mentors are so supportive. I’d highly recommend going out and getting involved with it if you’re a young person with an idea for a business.”

Tim’s parents have also been a big part of City Slicker Honey, allowing him to set up a full processing unit downstairs at their family home and ensuring he complied with all the correct food licensing requirements and food safety facilities -Tim’s mum also came up with the name, after much deliberation by all involved.

And while everything’s coming up roses for the 18-year-old, there’s definitely been a few lessons along the way for the young entrepreneur.

Read more here.