Secrets of Success from Two Bee Businesses in Quebec
Virginie Tardif and Vincent Phillipe-Picard are living an incredibly free and purposeful lifestyle in Quebec, Canada. They were recently interviewed as one of three entrepreneurial couples by Bobr Times.
This young couple has a business called Melifera. Most people reading this blog post will sense that the name of this business suggests it has something to do with honeybees.
Melifera is a nomadic beekeeping school that goes all over Quebec, setting up beehives for people that are interested to learn about beekeeping on an amateur basis.
We have often blogged that hobby beekeeping can be the best way to dip your toe into the water, or the honey in this case, to see if beekeeping is for you.
This project has transformed the lives of Virginie and Vincent. After two years as a couple, they each gave up their jobs and embarked on this nomadic adventure.
They wanted to be able to visit their customers that live in the Outaouais and in Rimouski, according to Virginie. They adapted or transformed their van, and this enabled them to experience van life.
They travel around 2,500 kilometers every two weeks since starting this business, and help their clients to become independent beekeepers. In the beginning the travel was a most difficult aspect of their new business.
They initially met with some push back from friends, parents and creditors, all of whom thought it was one thing to start a business as a couple, but that living like nomads in a mini space van would be very risky.
So, what is the secret to their success?
This young couple advises others wanting to start a business together to expect to face skepticism or even opposition from others. It is vital to believe in your idea and let nothing stop you from implementing it.
To see a picture of the Melifera van you can click here.
This 3:06-minute video by CRAAQ highlights Quebec's bee industry:
In a completely unrelated story from Quebec, two other entrepreneurs are turning the world of beekeeping upside down by marketing a protective cover for hives that reduces winter bee deaths.
The company is Espace Abeille or Bee Space™ and the brains behind it are Olivier Lebrun and Jimmy Riopel-Thibault. They both graduated in product design from Université Laval, and in 2017 they placed second in an international university competition to package products. Their project was to package honey. After that, they got some training in beekeeping for a few months with Alvéole in Quebec.
This is when they became aware of the desperate need to protect bees in winter. They wanted to create a product that not only made life easier for beekeepers, but also had an environmental impact.
The protective cover leaves a space like an air layer, even though it is attached to the hive. This allows condensation to be reduced in the hive and provides better protection against frost and moisture, according to Mr. Lebrun.
Winter 2019 brought bee colony losses of around 33.8% to Quebec beekeepers. In comparison, according to the Canadian Association of Professional Beekeepers, 36 beekeepers tested the Espace Abeille cover, and they only suffered an average loss of 20% of their bees.
This is important information because over 20% of wild bee species in Canada are vulnerable now, so protecting local colonies is more vital than ever.
One beekeeper in the Ottaway region that tested the cover, François Lambert, is pleased with the practicality of the cover sold by Espace Abeille. According to him, it is easy to use and saves valuable time when protecting your hives in winter.
Prior to using the cover, he had a 50% bee colony mortality rate when using conventional winter protection last winter. In comparison, he only lost 10% of the bees involved in testing the Espace Abeille cover. He plans to acquire more and use them on all his 25 hives for next winter.
You can read more about this company, the amazing winter cover, and more here.
Bees and beekeeping are thriving in Quebec.
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