May 19, 2020

Interview With Lisa Jolly on the Importance of Trusting Yourself in Business

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Interview With Lisa Jolly on the Importance of Trusting Yourself in Business

Entrepreneurship is a wild ride that can include long isolated stretches that are demanding and often-times lonely. Starting a business and managing a family and normal relationships is a delicate balancing act requiring dedication, focus, and the confidence to trust yourself in the process...

Entrepreneurship is a wild ride that can include long isolated stretches that are demanding and often-times lonely. Starting a business and managing a family and normal relationships is a delicate balancing act requiring dedication, focus, and the confidence to trust yourself in the process.

A 2016 study by Harvard found that self-confidence is one of the fundamental traits of successful entrepreneurs. When things look bleak or unclear, this self-confidence is what helps entrepreneurs fight through uncertainty and actively tackle problems as they arise.

For entrepreneur Lisa Jolly, her energy, enthusiasm, and trust in herself have helped her grow HoneyBunch Naturals into a global product. During the process, Jolly had to learn all aspects of running a business, sometimes from scratch with no one around to help. To learn more about her mentality and process, Jolly was nice enough to share some of her story and advice for all of the aspiring entrepreneurs out there.

1. As a family and women-owned business, what is the best piece of advice you can give to other entrepreneurs?

Personally I consider my business as a sport and I try to include my family in the wins and celebrations of the business whenever I can. However, the reality is that often losses, or as us passionate entrepreneurs call bumps in the road, are sometimes too much for one better half to handle.

On that note, I’ve learned to work silently and then do a show and tell when there is actually something concrete to share and understand that family will be your biggest support but often can’t handle the pressure of entrepreneurship. My advice is to find a kid, in my instance a grandson, and share your journeys with them. Personally, I’ve made a decision to teach and show him that anything is possible with a positive mindset and determination, using my business almost as a fantasy storytelling gig.

On the other side, respect and understand that having a 9-5 job and feeling secure for your spouse who cherishes security is just as important as leading your insanely wild entrepreneurial ride.

2. How big of a role did marketing play in your initial launch?

I’m completely self-taught and my ideas are really cool, albeit sometimes hard or too crazy to understand, which could possibly be my downfall.

My marketing consisted of cold calling, product in hand to get my original break into the US market and it’s only now that I’m learning and understanding the importance of marketing socially.  Never underestimate the effort of face to face contact and picking up the phone.

Lucky for me my cold calling got product on the shelves and sales continued the upscale. Now I’m in the exciting position where marketing will be the vehicle to take the brand to the next level. Overall, marketing is very important and I’m excited to learn.

3. What has been the hardest part about launching the business?

The hardest part has been understanding other peoples’ processes and learning to be strategic (still not mastered), but I’m smart enough to engage successful people in my life who can help me with this. I work at a very quick pace and have had to learn to slow down to meet the processes of big businesses that have many employees on their team.

I’m not convinced still as I always question, ‘are we losing opportunity’, because everything takes so long.

4. Do you worry about competition or just focus on your tribe of customers and keeping them happy?

I don’t worry about the competition at the moment as I’m just a wee player, but I study them night and day to check out latest product trends.

However, I focus completely on my tribe with regards to brand culture, we are kiwis, and our ‘flight of the concords’ humor and lifestyle isn’t something easily hidden. So for me, my tribe will appreciate this or not, nothing in between.

I think it’s a big mistake to make out you are something you are not to your customers. We are proudly the naturally cool underdog risk takers taking on the competition, so jump on for a crazy ride and be part of our journey… this is our tribe!

5. What does 2020 have in store for the company?

I think 2020 will provide massive opportunity and with the Covid 19 situation, time to be better, create even cooler stuff for our brand, and learn as a team to look after each other through thick and thin.  Our product is naturally awesome so I’m thinking 2020 will bring more naturally cool customers our way.





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May 19, 2020

The Story of the Brazen Soap Maker Who Beat the Banks With Bath Bombs


Article from Shopify :

by Dayna Winter
Case Studies
Jun 2, 2016
12 minute read

The Story of the Brazen Soap Maker Who Beat the Banks With Bath Bombs

Lisa Jolly refers to her business as both a drug and a sport, sometimes in the same breath. Her story plays out like a soap opera bred with an action-comedy film, and she doesn’t mince words in telling it. Lisa, founder of The Honeybunch Shop, has no time for “PC rubbish” – she swears like a sailor, and pours out her personal and professional failures (#nofilter) on social. It’s this catharsis, I’m certain, that has carried her through a two-year entrepreneurial rollercoaster, smiling through every plunge.

“Just say yes,” Lisa tells me over Skype from her hotel room in New Zealand.

That one little word – yes – was the catalyst for big things.

I caught Lisa at the end of my day and the beginning of hers. 16 hours ahead, in a hotel in Cambridge she says, “I’m new to this video thing. Go for gold!” She’s almost Suess-like – high ponytail, rosy elfin cheeks, bouncing in her seat. Though it’s early morning and she’s soon to be a grandmother, her energy is fizzy and pre-teen.

On the heels of a landmark sales month for Honeybunch via a wild plan to circumvent the banks, she and her daughter are on a New Zealand-wide road trip, bent on individually delivering $90,000 NZD in bath bombs, by hand.

To those who don’t know her, the idea seems half-baked and borderline insane. To the rest, it’s just a typical day trip down the Lisa Jolly rabbit hole.

Harvesting Honeybunch

Lisa has been self-employed for 20 years, mainly in retail. She started her last business, Scent, with a $300 investment before growing it significantly into a franchise model. “I had no idea what I was doing,” she admits.

During its latest growth spurt, a customer from China walked into her shop with a translator, asking her to make twelve soap samples. Lisa, again, said yes. At the time, she was procuring the stores’ soaps from another supplier, and had zero knowledge of soap making.

“I hopped on a plane and flew to the South Island to meet the guy who made our soap. When I arrived and he had a woman there – he'd sold the business to her that week. I said to her, ‘Look, can you please make this soap?’ – I saw myself more as a broker – and she said no. I flew back thinking ‘OK, I'll just have to make the soap myself.’ I got on Google and rang a hippie person who was based in a treehouse (I'm exaggerating, but I'm trying to give you an idea of this person). I asked, ‘Can you teach me how to make soap? I'll pay you a thousand bucks if I can come tomorrow.’”

Over a weekend, she learned to make basic melt-and-pour soaps using a microwave and tested them on her neighbours, plied with wine. She delivered the samples to the Chinese customer, inadvertently entering the manufacturing business.

“It was on my fortieth birthday and I received this hundred thousand dollar order! I bought eight microwaves and I made about eight tons of soap in my kitchen. It nearly killed me physically. Of course, what happened then – because I already owned these four stores and eight franchises – was that I realized that I didn't need to buy the soap from the supplier anymore. I just quite liked making it, so that’s what I did”

The microwaves were toast after her first wholesale order, and she jokes, “the divorce was pending”. She upgraded her operation to four outdoor barbeques and giant pots.

The original supplier, under new ownership, suffered with the loss of Lisa’s business. “You should have said yes,” she told her. She tried to coach the supplier, to help her find new customers, but the business continued to flounder. That’s when Lisa received the call: would she want to purchase the factory?

Lisa agreed to buy it, by paying off the owner’s loan over 15 years, on the condition that the she ship the factory to Auckland and train her staff for six weeks. She crammed a 500 square-meter factory setup into 90 square meters. “The woman was horrified,” she said.

I was like a mad scientist. That's how the soap business started.

“At the time, my team was basically Amy, who was a retail assistant in the shop. I asked her – because Amy's very anal about measuring stuff, whereas I'm crazy – ’Do you want to be a production manager?’ There are two sorts of people who will work with me: one sort will leave within two weeks, because they can't handle the energy and the vision. They can't handle being promoted from a retail assistant to a production manager just like that. The other sort, like Amy, will become part of the family and really enjoy it.”

The manufacturing business thrived solely on the orders of her one customer in China. Feeling spread thin, and suffering a blow at the hands of the recession, she sold her original retail franchises to focus on the more lucrative of her businesses: soap making. The business now employs some of her family members, the most vocal of her naysayers.

“My hubby’s been with the same job for twenty-five years and joined me when he saw the business growing. Blatantly honest? My family had never supported the business. They think I'm crazy. Their catchphrase is, "Why can't you just get a job?’ yet they're always happy to go on the holidays when I have a good month. My husband, in particular, is a real pessimist, so for him to come and work for the factory was just absolute shock and horror.”

Lisa’s mother balances out her own big ideas and wild energy by tackling the more tedious aspects of the business, like wages and administrative tasks. “She's retired and would prefer to be playing golf,” Lisa admits, “but does it out of the love for me.”

Shopify Build A Business Competition

Lisa has the energy and enthusiasm of a labradoodle, leaping joyously from one challenge to the next. For her, the monotony of manufacturing bored her very quickly. She missed the connections to people.

You're covered in stuff all the time and you look like a factory worker. OK, I look a bit factory-ish, but I'm not actually a factory worker at heart."

Her patience with soap making waning, she poked around for a new challenge. “I’ve got this inner shark,” she tells me. That’s when Lisa discovered Shopify’s Build A Business Competition.

“I thought, ‘I'm just going to win this competition and start Honeybunch,’ because I've always had this plan to have an international brand. Even when I was 20, and people asked ‘What are you going to do?’ I’d say that I'm going to have an international shop somewhere, that I'm going to be internationally famous in some way. I don't care. I'm going to do it, because people say that you can't do it, right?”

Lisa launched The Honeybunch Shop, an online store selling her own soaps and cheerfully scented bath products, as part of the competition in late 2014. That’s when she popped up on our radar.

In our conversation, I told her that she had achieved international fame already – at least in Canada. At the time, I was managing Shopify’s social team, and noticed an influx in engagement from one particular merchant. Honeybunch’s Twitter account tirelessly promoted the business and cataloged, minute-to-minute, the ups and downs of her journey. She directly mentioned Shopify and the competition’s mentors multiple times a day. We couldn’t ignore her if we tried.

Her persistence paid off – Daymond John and Nate Holzapfel of Shark Tank fame, who could similarly not ignore her advances, each placed online orders. She flew from New Zealand to Utah to personally deliver the packages (a $25 NZD total value, with free shipping), and boasts that she and Daymond are now Linkedin connections. I’m not surprised – you can’t help but get swept up in her energy.

If Build A Biz was judged on effort or creativity or sleep-sacrifice (A+!), I’m certain she would have crossed  “kite-sailing with Richard Branson” off of her bucket list. It wasn’t, and she didn’t. 

I was in the fetal position for probably two months. But then I told myself, 'Don't be stupid!'

The idea however, was growing teeth. She picked herself up and decided to run with it anyway. Next up was a brick and mortar location in Hong Kong (along with a dedicated ecommerce site), fulfilling her dream of going international. She’d racked up plenty of experience with the Chinese market through her manufacturing and wholesale adventures, and it seemed like a natural first step outside her homeland borders.

People still told Lisa, “No, you can’t do that,” which, I have learned by now, is her fuel. She takes pleasure in rebelling against the haters. She says yes. “My store manager asks me, ‘Are you off?’” she laughs. This question only encourages her.

The culture shock has been a challenge, and she struggled with balancing being respectful of cultural nuances and being herself. “In China, I wouldn’t say ‘Buy my f*cking soap,’ like I would in New Zealand.”

Authenticity won out, and the Hong Kong store has been bumping, but not without the chaos that seems to trail behind Lisa wherever she goes: a flood, staff thefts, a brain hemorrhage causing partial blindness, and run-ins with immigration police.

If something crazy happens, it happens to me.

Despite all of it, the store still stands, and so does Lisa, though she’s spending more time in the air than on the ground these days, keeping things buzzing.

She opened a second China location in Nansha this year, borrowing less than half of the money she needed, and literally building it herself. In fact, when I asked about her favorite business tools, she includes, “a hammer and nails” alongside Facebook Ads and Daymond’s The Power of Broke.

Big Trouble in Nansha, China

Honeybunch Shop crossed our path once again recently when Lisa began hyper-sharing the success of her cheekily-coined campaign, We’ve Got Balls. In the entrepreneur Facebook Group Grow & Sell, she posted this screenshot of her Shopify store sales for the month:


Well, now you have our attention.

When Lisa and I connected, she and her daughter were gearing up for another day in the car. They were mid-road trip, chipping away at delivering more than 45,000 bath bombs, sold as part of the campaign.

There’s a method to the madness, I learn. Earlier this year, Lisa was featured by her bank in a national ad campaign for small business services, a testament to her long-standing relationship with the lender. A few months ago, the bank’s team turned over, and her finances were suddenly brought under scrutiny. The impersonal treatment drove her to take matters in her own hands. She became interested in the concept of crowdfunding, and took a stab at it, adding her own flavor, of course.

She announced on Facebook in March that she was going to pay back her bank overdraft by selling bath bombs – 75,000 of them at $2 a pop – and deliver them in person all over the country. “We don’t want to spend our awesome energy on jumping through hoops for banks,” the post reads, “we want to be self sufficient.”

"Basically, the Facebook post was just a heartfelt rant. I would consider it one of my strengths to be able to honestly relate to people without dressing it up.  I'm not afraid to say, ‘I'm broke’ if I'm broke. But I'm also the person to celebrate anything that's successful. People seem to connect with that, and with me.”

The post reached her existing audience – an engaged bunch who have followed her wild ride from the outset – and she boosted it with a few Facebook Ads at about $5 per day. Her tweet-crusade also resumed, harkening back to her in-it-to-win it push during Build A Business. Some reported her for spam and she was even briefly ejected from the Facebook group. “All worth it,” she tells me, “It just went nuts!”

The campaign took off when she began selling bulk orders to schools and clubs as a fundraising tool. In the end, she sold nearly two thirds of her goal in less than a month and a half, thanks mostly to persistence. Along with her daughter, she’s personally delivering every order, but also continuing to strive towards her goal.

“We’re letting people know that we're going to be here or there, at this time or that, having dinner. ‘If you come within half an hour you can come get a bath bomb’ – things like that. We're just making it up as we go.”

Storytelling and Success

Lisa’s wins have made her a beacon for would-be entrepreneurs. After her recent Grow & Sell post, she received more than 100 personal Facebook messages from people seeking help with their own businesses. They’re asking her, “What business should I start?” She’s incredulous: “Do what you love, of course.” She’s also found success in sharing her story, and advises others to do the same.

"Not everyone has to be a technical whiz, or understand code. If you engage with people, they will want to be part of your business. Just tell your story!"

Her gift for networking and her infectious spirit have brought people together – she’s amassed a global sisterhood of women who share her entrepreneurial vigor.

“We are really strong group, always helping each other, chatting, messaging. I will finally come to America, maybe after all of this bath bomb stuff, and try and get these women in the same place.”

While Honeybunch is well on its way to paying back the banks, Lisa is poised to sell the factory – securing a strong supply agreement with the new owner. She has three offers on the table as of today. I suspect she won’t be content to stop there, and focus solely on her three retail stores – there’s a new scheme brewing, another madcap adventure is penciled in. “Are you hiring?” she asks me, laughing.

Lisa Jolly turned up her nose at every rule in the book (and in fact, she’s now writing her own), feeling her way through marketing and business and international relations with no formal education. And no fear. There are no hard, tactical lessons to be learned from her success. The formula is less math, and more magic.

You don’t have to be anything special – you just have to really want to do it, then do it. Be happy and stop trophy hunting.


Author -- Dayna Winter is a Storyteller at Shopify. She follows more dogs than humans on Instagram and isn't a real redhead.

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The dream team
April 22, 2020

The dream team

Hi there Honeybunches,
What a whirlwind of a year its been!! We've taken on some huge overseas contracts, given the business a complete makeover, and have a fab new team at the frontline.

Firstly, Lisa is the founder of Honeybunch. She is the brains and creative genius behind our brand. If she can dream it, she can make it happen (even when she has no idea what she is doing).  She is a mum to 3, and Nana Bubbles to 2 and has more ideas that you can poke a stick at!
Hayley joined the team last year as our Online Operations Manager. With a background in teaching and theatre, she has been winging it ever since. She is a mum of 2, and her little girl Kenzi has done her fair share of Honeybunch modelling! When she's not organising our online store, she can be found at her local theatre, directing and performing......or in the office, winding up John.
John took the leap and joined the team in January as our Warehouse Manager, taking responsibility for all our international orders, and keeping us girls in line. John is a dad of 4 boys, which is probably where his patience for the girls comes from. A man of hidden talents, in the weekends you can catch him DJ'ing at local bars and clubs!
Together, we make up a dream team. None of us have any clue what we are doing, but so far we are making it work, and learning as we go.
Our Honeybunch Naturals range has taken off in the overseas market, highlighting the popularity and importance of Manuka Honey around the world.
We hope that this find you all safe and well during these tough times, and look forward to bringing the goodness back into your homes as soon as we can!

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Manuka honey ... why?
April 17, 2020

Manuka honey ... why?

We have landed in the overseas market with our Honeybunch Naturals range, and the customers are going crazy for it. Why?? Manuka Honey!

Now more than ever, Manuka Honey is being highlighted for its antiviral properties. It contains Methylglyoxal (MGO), which at certain levels can contain bacterial growth, act as an anti-inflammatory, as well as other enzymes which boost immunity, to help fight off viruses.

But we've heard enough about viruses lately right? So what else does this liquid gold do?

Well, other than a sweet treat, it can be used for minor cuts and burns. Those same antibacterial properties help to keep wounds clean, aid healing, enhance the growth of new tissue, and decrease pain in burns. It can even be used for treating acne and mild skin conditions.

Oral health? You got it. Manuka honey has been shown to attack the bad bacteria in the mouth that cause gingivitis and tooth decay.

Sore Throat? No problem! As well as antibacterial benefits, Manuka Honey coats the throat for a soothing effect. It is even proven to suppress coughs! This is a great aid for those suffering with respitory issues too.

For those suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Manuka Honey can aid in relieving symptoms with the anti-inflammatory properties it possesses.

Is there anything this super food can't do?

We are super proud of our Manuka Honey infused products, and love seeing them helping people around the world.

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A moment to celebrate the chaos ...
November 04, 2019

A moment to celebrate the chaos ...

I have to say I’m a seasoned entrepreneur... now a Grandmotherpreneur ...if that’s such a thing.. well it is ... a crazy thing! I always said I would wait until I go ‘hard’ (a kiwi saying) to take my beautiful brand to the world ... and surprise surprise ... my oldest daughter Grace blessed us with 2 amazing grandsons.  The shock I had to say was real ‘I’m too young to be a grandma’ ... but the rest is history and I am so proud of my daughter being a wonderful Mother and myself and the hubby just love the boys to bits ... especially now we can give them back!  The boys call me Nana bubbles ... originally because we would have bubble blowing contests and fire water pistols out of the car as we drive ... now I think because they think I may be slightly nutty! 

Monday morning and a wee reflection back on this last week, but how can I not smile when I open the photo folder file from the Christmas photoshoot last week... all mixed in with our first shipment of honeybunch pure products landing on Hawaii, with myself making some of the artisan range whilst our lovely chief Mum Misty takes a well earned family break and me trying to contain my excitement.  

This photo sums up my life at the moment, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m not a corporate peep just a crazy granny I guess, a Mum and still consider myself a hot mess, so roll on Christmas and I can’t wait to show that our not so perfect chaos is actually naturally the coolest brand yet. 
Thanks a bunch honeybunch!

Thanks for 🐝lieving in is!

Lisa x 

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Off to Portland
October 16, 2019

Off to Portland

It’s has been an absolutely exciting year full of ups and downs and it’s taken me some time to realise how special my Honeybunch brand is.

Some people may call it luck, but I would call it a wealth of experience from myself being a Mother, of three children, now young successful adults, but at the time ... 3 under 3! Ironically I had self proclaimed that I wouldn’t have children and I would focus on my career before my babies turned up, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m now blessed with 2 grandchildren, and it’s my mission to show them that anything is possible.

I want to show them that the world is big and fabulous and if you have something amazing to offer then you should go get it... and here I am, on a plane, heading to Portland from New Zealand to present Honeybunch Pure Naturals to another amazing business with the help of my new found support team.

I have my bags packed with Honeybunch New Zealand goodness and I’m buzzing with excitement to show and tell the range.

I believe in this range whole heartedly, it’s special, incorporating Mother’s who make up our ARTisan team, the most amazing manufacturer in New Zealand, who happens to be married to a famous kiwi, and my lovely small crew who are so excited to see something fly.

An awesomely talented photographer who also is a Mum working from her home and doing amazing things and of course a bunch of children and babies who keep it real.

For me, Lisa, knowing I can create, design and deliver the best and the most transparently beautiful natural products to the world is so exciting.... I can’t wait to test our innovation with new products never seen on the market yet and I’m so very happy that I can bring Honeybunch to your family.

Thanks a bunch Honeybunch for giving our 🐝eautiful brand a chance.

❤️🐝 Lisa x



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