100% Pure New Zealand Honey founder Steve Lyttle left school at 15 and set to work as a commercial beekeeper with beehives gifted to him from a family friend. Steve and his brother Peter ran a successful operation before Steve started his current business, focused on honey packing and exporting, in 1996.
“After 20 years of highs, lows and hard work we’ve been able to grow this honey business into one of the largest in the South Island,” says Steve.
Steve has now stepped back from the business and a good succession plan has meant Chief Executive Sean Goodwin is now able to lead and grow the Timaru-based business.
“It’s a privilege to be able to join a family business that has the heart and values from a founder like Steve,” says Sean.
Early on the going was tough, with little profit being made. The business was growing and developing organically and there was no clear strategy.
“For the first six years we were really struggling with cashflow, living hand to mouth every day,” says Steve.
“Then in year seven we turned a corner, the international market really kicked off, Manuka honey become popular and the financial pressure we had been under eased considerably.”
The business is export focused, with products sold in 16 countries. The road to becoming established in these countries wasn’t always smooth but with patience, the effort has paid off. Asia in particular has proven to be a strong market due to the population base and growing interest in health and wellness.
“We carefully choose where we spend our energy and always think about the future to reap the best long-term return,” says Sean.
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