Photo Courtesy of Kristy Allen
Kristy Allen of the Beez Kneez
2204 Minnehaha Ave., Mpls.
As a member of a beekeeping family, Kristy Allen has always had a passion for these buzzy creatures, but it wasn’t until 2010, after working on farms in Ecuador and Arkansas, and her family’s farm in northern Minnesota, that her uncle asked if she’d be interested in selling their Bar Bell Bee Ranch honey in Minneapolis. The Beez Kneez was born.
Armed with a bicycle for deliveries but no training in business, Allen turned to WomenVenture for guidance. “Being a business owner is not an easy thing,” she says. “As a woman in the business world, which has the tradition of being a white man’s world, you have a little more against you. It’s nice to be around a group of women and see what people are trying to do to be self-sustainable.”
The money Allen makes by delivering fresh, locally made honey to customers around the Twin Cities helps support education programs and the first-ever community beekeeping center, The Beez Kneez Honey House in the Seward neighborhood.
She hopes this award will inspire others to be socially responsible in their business practices, too. “If we can figure out a way to rethink the way we do business so that it benefits more than just one company or one person, I think that’s a revolution,” she says. “If you look at one individual bee, they’re not very strong. They’re small and squishy and only have one stinger. But you put a whole hive together, and that’s like a super organism. They’re really strong and capable of doing amazing things.”