Hayley and Roger were in their early teens when they met at a youth group and would send messages to each other through handwritten signs when Hayley’s bus would stop in front of Roger’s bedroom window each morning. They were married in their early twenties and after some worldly travel settled in Canada for three years. After returning to Toowoomba the story of Settler Hives began. We caught up with Hayley to tell us a little more about it.
Photography via Sabine Bannard @_housefrau
How did Settler Hives come to be?
Roger and I always knew we wanted to work together - we just didn't know in what way. Settler Hives started as an lnstagram account to show our hilarious amateur attempt of beekeeping. We got our first beehives when we were living in a barn on a blueberry field in Canada and just loved the whole feel of it. Not wanting to be commercial beekeepers we kept brainstorming what we could do to help the 'loss of pollinator' scenario. There is an occurrence called Colony Collapse Disorder, which is where the honey bees of a particular colony simply disappear and no one fully knows why. A year after getting our backyard bees the lightbulb went off – seeds! To feed the bees.
Talk us through your catch phrase – feed your soul, eyes and colony
Our mission with Settler Hives is to inspire others to live simply. Our little mantra at the moment is 'savour life outdoors - feed your soul, eyes and colony'. Go and breathe that beautiful air outside and enjoy the sunshine together, plant your feet on the earth and get your hands dirty. Enjoy the ultimate satisfaction of growing something beautiful that really does change the world, feeds the bees and ultimately feeds your own tribe. About a third of the food we eat relies on pollination, so imagine where we’d be if we lose the pollinators?
How important is sustainability to Settler Hives?
We are constantly thinking this through and improving when we come across better options. Our packaging has been carefully considered to preserve the life of our seeds, keeping them tucked in safely for at least two years without exposure to the elements such as moisture, light and varying temperatures. We also chose a resealable ziplock packet to store away for later - you don't have to use all the seeds at once - and our local printer uses recycled materials and vegetable-based ink.
We have sourced our seeds from the best seed houses in the world, and almost our whole range of garden greens comes from Australian soil. Every packet of Settler Hives seed is prepared by hand.
Who is the target market for your seeds range?
Everyone! You don’t need to have a green thumb or a big garden to really help the bees. Our seeds come with instructions and many can be planted in small pots that live on a veranda. Our advice to first time gardeners is just trial and error – but don’t be afraid to have a crack!
What does the future hold for Settler Hives?
Our key immediate goal is to move our current packaging to be home compostable packaging. Sustainability and reducing our footprint on the earth is important for Settler Hives.
Do you have any advice for those thinking of starting their own business?
Actually just start. Back yourself, but also be a sponge of opinions. You'll cringe one day looking back ... but DO IT ANYWAY! Take opportunities when they come. Know your target market like the back of your hand (not just your product). What's your point of difference? This will help you continue to improve your product or service.
Australian made is a key value for Bindle, so we’ve got some short, sharp questions about our great land.
Favourite memory growing up as a kid in Australia?
For me, it’s as simple as being outside. Bare feet on the grass, the warmth of the sun and fresh air. Whether it was climbing rope ladders attached to trees or setting up lemonade stands in the backyard, it was just the life lived outdoors.
Favourite place to holiday in Australia?
We’ve recently just been on the most incredible trip. We packed everything up into a van and took three months to travel from Queensland across to Western Australia and back again. The diversity of the Australian landscape really has to be seen to be believed.
You can find Settler Hives seeds in our Let It Grow Bindle – the perfect gift for anyone wanting to grow a green thumb or reacquaint themselves with nature.