From hobby to revenue generator, a family-run honey business has shown how digital tools can generate increased sales and customers quickly —even during a global pandemic.
Ahmet Taskan has always been fascinated by beekeeping. As a child, he would sit out in the yard for hours watching his grandfather tend to the hive. As an adult, he took up the hobby himself and shared it with his family. And for nearly two decades, that’s all it was—a hobby. But Ahmet has a knack for entrepreneurialism. One morning during breakfast in the garden— while enjoying a meal of his own fresh honey—Ahmet spoke with his children about turning this family hobby into a family business. Why not pre-select the best honey, he asked, and sell it? “The honey from our garden was so good and tasty,” Ahmet recalls, “I thought everyone has a right to try some for themselves.” They decided to give it a try.
The business was slow-going at first. In fact, from its founding in mid-2019 it was little more than a side project. Then, the pandemic hit. Suddenly Ahmet and his family found themselves with rare commodities: they were all at home and had a lot of free time. Together, they decided to kick the business into high gear. The Taskans each took a role: Ahmet procured the honey, his wife packaged it, his daughter ran the website, and his sons helped him handle the marketing.
“We attended Google Digital Workshop webinars to learn how to reach more customers online and we began using tools in the Google Workspace, Google Ads, and Google Analytics,” Ahmet recalls. “We found the return on investment to be amazing. In just four months we were able to increase our web traffic by over 60%, our customers by more than 150%, and our revenue by nearly 200%.” The family-run company broadened its visibility on social media and began organizing webinars to provide customers with background on the products themselves. “We think it’s important to let our customers know where the honey they’re buying is coming from and to give them confidence that it is only from the highest quality sources,” Ahmet explained. “Digital tools offer the best way to tell that story.”
Eventually, not only was Honingwinkel selling its own honey online but other high-quality brands as well—and not just through the company’s website but also other online sales platforms such as Amazon and Google Shopping. The Taskans provided customers with ways to share their own feedback too, such as embedding the digital ratings platform Webwinkelkeur directly into Honingwinkel’s website. So far, with a Webwinkelkeur rating of over 9.7 out of 10, the Taskans’ customers seem to be pleased. Looking ahead, the family is now focused on cultivating an even larger community on social network sites such as Facebook and Instagram.
While the middle of a global pandemic hardly seems the ideal time to get a business off the ground, for Ahmet and his family the timing couldn’t have been more sweet. “This was a group effort and digital tools made it all so much easier and more affordable than any of us were expecting,” Ahmet says, “I’m happy that I’ve been able to share my passion with so many during such a difficult time and I’m grateful for an experience that brought us closer together as a family.”
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