Savannah Bee Company
Ted loves honey bees. He never thought he’d make a business of it, but when he launched an online store, ShipStation made the swarm of eCommerce sweet.
WHERE THEY SELLSavannahBee.com
Ted Dennard is passionate about honey bees. Introduced at thirteen, he kept bees throughout high school and college. In the Peace Corps, he spent time in Jamaica teaching beekeeping to hundreds of people. Ted returned home to Georgia to devote time in the beehives and gave away all the honey he harvested.
Ted’s roommate convinced him to sell honey jars in her new furniture store. The demand grew and several stores called requesting his product. At first, Ted felt indifferent about money and the struggle many small businesses have to go through. In 1999, Ted attended an international beekeeping convention in Vancouver. Inspired that he could make a positive impact, Ted dreamed of turning his hobby into a business. He took the leap and founded Savannah Bee Company in 2002.
Welcome to the Hive
In 2008, Savannah Bee Company opened its flagship store in downtown Savannah. They launched their first eCommerce site in 2010. A swarm of online orders came in 2014, demanding a better way to deliver products to their customers. That summer, they launched with ShipStation.
“ShipStation has streamlined our order processing”, says Andrea, the eCommerce Fulfillment Manager. Before ShipStation, their complicated fulfillment process had full potential for error. Andrea says it was very manual. “There was a lot of copy/pasting of information; going back and forth between programs.”
“It’s a sophisticated but intuitive and easy to use tool.”
Each individual order took three minutes to fulfill before ShipStation. Andrea says it would get crazy during the holidays. “We dedicated one person to process orders for fifteen hours a day―just to keep us from falling more than three days behind.” Savannah Bee Company uses automation rules, filters, and tags to ship orders fast. Andrea remembers the first time she processed a batch of hundreds of orders. “I stood there in amazement watching all the shipping labels spitting out of the printer. It was like a miracle!”
For the Love of Honey
Ted uses his expanded reach to educate more people about the wonders of the honey bee. The company supports the Bee Cause Project, a non-profit that has provided observational hives to over 220 schools in 46 states. He speaks to organizations and loves teaching kids about honey bees. “The company opens up the minds of children and often finds and opens that childlike mind in adults,” Ted says. “This is all done by sharing the amazing world of the honey bees.”
Savannah Bee Company’s passion for honey bees is clear in Ted’s company. They even brand their shipping materials with their mission in mind. “I use shipping notification emails and packing slips as a branding and marketing opportunity,” says Andrea. They might include a featured blog post, new products, or facts about honey bees. When ShipStation launched the branded tracking page, they immediately put it to action.
“We use the branded tracking page, shipping notification email, and the packing slip as a branding and marketing opportunity.”
Since using ShipStation, Savannah Bee Company has seen tremendous growth. They’ve seen a 153% increase in order volume and a 149% increase in sales over the past few years. They take pride in offering a high-quality product that stands out from what you find at the store. “We make decisions about sourcing honey based on purity rather than on profit. Our honey is the best you’ll ever taste.”
“The Bee Company is much more than selling products,” Ted says. “It is a place where dozens of people work and support each other in a healthy environment.” He’s proud of his team and how they’ve been able to turn his passion into a thriving ecosystem. “Often it seems that my role is more visionary where I look to the future, communicate the image I see to my team and inspire them to make it happen.”
“ShipStation makes branded communication feel more personal and specific to Savannah Bee.”
In 2016, they had to shut down for a week because of Hurricane Matthew. “There was a mandatory evacuation,” Andrea says. A day before her return, three people came back to Savannah. There wasn’t any damage to the building, but the internet was down leaving her team with not much they could do. Andrea made her phone a hotspot and logged into ShipStation on her iPad. “Packing slips and labels printed out on my desk 260 miles away!” She says that the flexibility of the ShipStation Mobile app helped save the day. “The fact that ShipStation is web-based and you can access it from anywhere is definitely a big plus.”
ShipStation has streamlined our order processing.
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