Ramya, tell us about yourself and your store.
I am Ramya Sundaram and I am the founder of a Honey Brand called Honey and Spice. We sell 100% pure raw Honey which is sourced from the forests of India. We also have a range of flavoured Honey which is pure Honey flavoured with organic spice extracts.
How did you come up with the idea of setting up an organic honey brand?
This idea of starting a honey brand came to me on one of my trips to the Western Ghats, when I met a few tribal people whose main profession is honey harvesting. I started researching about these Honey hunters and realised honey hunting is one of the most ancient professions and still followed by various tribes across India. However, they do not have reach to a bigger market. So the idea was to applaud their efforts and make pure honey available to the masses.
So you source your honey directly from the tribal honey hunters?
Yes, I realised the only way to get pure honey is to collect it from the forests directly. Initially we worked with a few NGOs to source the honey from the tribals but now we have our own direct sources.
Why is wild honey considered pure? How different it is from commercially-produced honey?
Not many are aware of this, but most of the Honey sold in the market has harmful antibiotics and sugar syrup. In commercial Bee keeping, the Honey Bees are fed sugar syrup to make them stay in the boxes during certain seasons when there is a lack of nectar producing flowers. Apart from this, antibiotics are mixed to the sugar syrup to protect the bees from certain infections. And consuming these antibiotics is extremely harmful for us.
Do you process or add any preservatives to your honey?
No, we sell 100% raw Honey which means we don’t process the Honey in any way. Honey is usually heated to increase the shelf life and to standardise the taste. Unfortunately, this heating process destroys all the beneficial enzymes in the honey and reduces the health benefits to a large extent.
How does your typical day look like?
We personally pick each batch of the Honey from the source and each bottle is packed by us. My typical day involves consolidating all the orders on our Ecommerce store and other platforms made on the previous day and filling and sealing the bottles accordingly. Then we schedule a pickup with our logistics partners and they come and pick the Honey jars for delivery periodically. Other than that I handle queries from customers and restock Honey jars sold in the various organic stores.
Would you call your venture a success?
What started as an experiment has turned out to be our passion now. From selling at flea markets to gourmet retailers, it has been a beautiful journey. As for success, I would say we are happy with the rate of growth we have achieved and we are totally committed to this. People have started appreciating our products and our order volume has grown manifolds- what we used to receive in a month, we are servicing in a day now!
Do you ship across India?
Yes, we have some wonderful logistics partners and so we are able to ship our Honey jars across India.
Amongst the selection of honey that you have, which honey would you recommend to whom?
Who won’t be a honey lover! We usually recommend Wild Honey as its multi floral and contains loads of nutrients. Anybody who’s using honey for health and medical reasons can go for Wild Honey. Kids usually love Cinnamon and Ginger Honey. Ginger honey and Tulsi Honey works wonders if having a sore throat.
Wild Honey is in its natural form. Ginger Honey and Tulsi honey are flavoured by the beekeepers where they grow organic tulsi and ginger. Whereas the cinnamon honey and vanilla honey is flavoured using cinnamon sticks and vanilla pods respectively. We infuse them for days in the honey.
Below is a snapshot of Ramya's store on Junglee.com. Click on the image to browse her products.