In the lush landscapes of New Zealand, amidst the native flora, thrives a unique creation of nature and labor of love known as Bees & Trees Mānuka Honey. This tale begins with Mike Everly, a man whose life journey exemplifies resilience, innovation, and a deep-seated love for nature's gifts. At 62, Mike's story is not just about a career transition but about reinvention and passion.
Born in Amityville, New York, and a graduate of Georgia Tech, Mike's career path was as diverse as it was successful, spanning from oilfield engineering to management consulting with Ernst & Young, and then commercial real estate. But beneath the surface of this accomplished professional life was a yearning for something different, something more connected to nature and wellness.
The pivotal moment came during a consulting stint in New Zealand with Air New Zealand. The country's stunning landscapes, friendly people, and rich culture left an indelible mark on Mike and his wife Shannon. They vowed to return, and in 2009, they did, settling in the quaint community of Richmond at the top of South Island. It was here, in this simpler, more connected life, that the seeds of Bees & Trees were sown.
Mike's curiosity was piqued when he learned about Mānuka honey and its burgeoning global market. With a desire to be part of something sustainable and valuable, he made a passive investment in beehives. This small step was the beginning of a profound journey into the world of beekeeping and Mānuka honey production.
Today, Bees & Trees is a testament to Mike's vision and hard work. Managing between 1200-1500 hives with a dedicated team in New Zealand, the company represents the pinnacle of quality and care in Mānuka honey production. The beekeepers, amidst the remote eastern Taranaki hill country, engage in a delicate dance with nature to produce this liquid gold. The honey is then extracted, aged, and packed with the utmost care, ready to be shipped to customers who value its purity and health benefits.
Mānuka honey, as Mike discovered, is no ordinary honey. It's a superfood, renowned for its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic, and antifungal properties. It's a product of rigorous scientific research, with hundreds of published papers attesting to its health benefits. But for Mike, it's more than just the science; it's about providing a product that enhances wellness and quality of life.
When Mike & family returned to the US in 2012, the Bees & Trees retail brand was born. Longtime friend, and former colleague at Ernst & Young, Shawn Seale, joined Mike to partner on the development of the brand and market for Bees & Trees. Shawn’s career was also evolving as he retired from his role as Chief Financial Officer for a publicly traded commercial real estate company in New York.
Running Bees & Trees is not just a business for Mike & Shawn; it's a lifestyle, a passion, and a commitment to sustainability and health. Despite the challenges and the distance, they manage the company, and each interaction with their customers with a personal touch, ensuring each jar of honey holds the essence of their dedication and New Zealand's natural beauty. The company is 100% focused on serving US customers, being in a unique position as the only US based Mānuka honey brand with their own beehives and honey production facilities in New Zealand.
Mike's journey from the corporate world to the remote hills of New Zealand is a story of transformation, a testament to the power of following one's passion, and a reflection of the beauty that comes from harmonizing with nature. Bees & Trees Mānuka Honey is not just a product; it's a piece of Mike's heart, a slice of New Zealand, and a beacon of health and wellness for all.
To read a more detailed version of Mike’s journey, and that of the company, check out this recent interview
From Our Bees & Trees to a Jar in Your Home
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