Business mentoring helps Little Bumble beeswax food wraps business grow from local hobby to national success.
When Laura Eddington first took her homemade beeswax food wraps to her local market in Warragul, she was excited to introduce her hobby product to the community. She didn’t expect what would happen next.
“I went to the community market and basically sold out,” Laura says. “I realised this wasn’t going to be a hobby business.”
Little Bumble went from a passion project to an employer business in six months, such was the enthusiasm for Laura’s product. “People were loving it so much that we were fairly confident we needed to go to the next level, start a Shopify website and get out to markets,” Laura describes. “Within six months, we saw this enormous amount of growth.”
Laura was drawn to the idea of making her own food wraps while on parental leave with her first child. She started experimenting with a beeswax formula for wraps, which was by no means a new idea as beeswax food wraps had been around for a while, but Laura had always thought there was something missing.
“The wraps I’d used would help keep food fresher but couldn’t go that bit further. I realised perhaps the reason the quality wasn’t there was because no one understood how the properties of the ingredients made a difference in the performance of the wrap itself.”
A science teacher by trade, Laura put her expertise to work to formulate a product that could guarantee lasting freshness. Soon she had avocados lasting over a week and little to no food waste in her house.
The success has continued since the business launched in 2017, seeing Little Bumble maintain growth on a steady upward trajectory. But like so many businesses, that was interrupted when COVID-19 hit Australia. Little Bumble’s main source of revenue was markets, which were forced to close down.
“When I looked at the 12 months revenue before COVID-19, 75% was direct from markets,” Laura explains.
Making the switch from 75% sales at markets and 25% sales online to the reverse required more research. Laura began building Little Bumble’s online presence, and applied for the Victorian Government’s Business Resilience and Recovery Mentoring program. Ryan Leslie, from Aerium consulting, was paired with Laura to assist with market channel transformation and a greater focus on online sales and content.
Laura describes how Ryan “was really good at figuring out where we should go directionally,” encouraging and assisting her with re-evaluating the business, particularly how best to access her market and bring value to her customer base.
“Using online channels for marketing and distribution was essentially the shift needed. That was a great opportunity for Little Bumble to change their business model, change their marketing strategy, their distribution strategy, their whole financial strategy,” says Ryan.
Building these communication channels is vital for Little Bumble and Laura’s passion to sell a product and connect with and educate her community by spreading her message of sustainable living that also saves money on the household grocery bill.
Little Bumble has seen consistent growth online since March 2020. The year was by no means easy, but Laura feels lucky to be in the position she’s in now. “I certainly am devastated for the businesses that are struggling and who haven’t been able to get through this, but for us it’s actually been so wonderful and we’ve had opportunities and the ability to stop and think things through – it’s benefited us greatly in the long run.”
Ryan makes clear that Little Bumble’s success story was one of Laura’s making. “Laura is a pretty impressive human being – she’s got a fantastic product, she’s a joy to work with, and she’s motivated by a strong social purpose,” he says.
It’s no surprise that Laura is excited for the future. “I’m really hopeful and even during COVID-19, there’s been so much silver lining,” she says. While the initial challenges were devastating, she found a cautious optimism that slowly became stronger – the same optimism and strength that has seen Little Bumble grow from a passion to an established business with reach across Australia.
The Business Recovery and Resilience Mentoring program is a joint initiative between the Victorian Government and the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI). To learn more about the program visit the Business Victoria website or call VCCI on 03 8662 5333.