Eco urbanites make bee-line for new hive

After Natural England created a bit of a buzz earlier this month when it promoted beekeeping as the next big urban activity, Smarta has been impressed to learn about one business which capitalising on the trend.

While businesses from pizza delivery services to discount clothes stores are prospering from the recession, animal home manufacturer Omlet has spotted an opportunity as a result of a somewhat lesser-known downturn: a decline in the bee population.

Last year nearly a third of the UK’s 240,000 honeybee colonies were destroyed, prompting a campaign for more beekeepers to help replenish the stocks – and that’s where Omlet, an animal housing company, has stepped in.

Already offering products to house rabbits, chickens and guinea pigs, Omlet’s latest release – the Beehaus – is being lapped up by concerned, eco-friendly urbanites.

Traditionally a rather costly and time-consuming hobby, the Beehaus has conveniently economised and simplified beekeeping at a time when it’s most needed. Its new, smaller and more practical hive is easier to use in small urban gardens and comes with a free starters’ pack.

And what better for a new product than a ringing endorsement from its representative charity? Much to Omlet’s delight, Tim Lovett of British Beekeepers’ Association has been quick to hail the Beehaus: “Many of our new members are in urban settings, the worried wealthy, so to speak. They are environmentally-aware people.”

‘Environmentally-aware people’ equals valued customers for Omlet co-founder Paul Jonannes, who says: “We’re aiming for the hobby beekeeper, those who want to live their self-sufficiently dreams a little.”

And why not? If this recession is proving anything, it’s that people will still spend money where, in their opinion, they’re receiving value. For some, that value comes solely in price, for others it’s about quality or ethics.

Smarta reckons a product delivering on all three is onto a winner.

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