Making a beeline to self-employment: Ivy Lawson traded in her career to become a bee farmer.

Author:Brown, Carolyn M.
Position:BIZ
 
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IVY LAWSON SPENT CLOSE TO 20 YEARS COMBINED, as a quality control engineer at Raytheon and later, as a software engineer at IBM, respectively. Then, in 2007, she quit her corporate gig to pursue something different. The following year she moved back to Jamaica--she'd immigrated to the United States in the mid-1960s, when she was about 4 years old--to do a feasibility study on a bee farm. Lawson ended up staying on the island for three years, falling in love with the honey. Upon returning for a visit to the states in 2010, she filled several jars with raw, organic, Jamaican honey, and handed them out to friends and family, who loved it as much as she did.

A light bulb went off. Lawson decided to write a business plan and learn about exporting and selling Jamaican honey in the U.S. Using her own money, in 2010, she launched Boston-based Logwood Co. L.L.C. with 50 hives. She also started picking up three- to six-month engineering contracting Jobs to expand and purchase more beehives in Jamaica for $30,000. By 2011, after 18 months of meeting with buyers and filling out extensive paperwork, Ivyees "Everything Honey" was approved as a North Atlantic regional vendor for Whole Foods. To expand her business yet again, in 2014, Lawson obtained a $2 5,000 loan from Eastern Bank. Today, approximately 33 Whole Foods and organic grocery retailers throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York carry Logwood Co. products.

A certified minority and women's business enterprise, Ivyees "Everything Honey" is a fully integrated honey producer, which farms its own bees from its own hives in Jamaica.

With thousands of hives in Jamaica, Lawson notes the combination of rain, sun, and soil that come into play for the pollination. "Jamaica's mineral-rich, bauxite soil permits us to grow unique tropical vegetation that honeybees love to pollinate." Ivyees also sources honey from other Caribbean nations, producing three to four distinctive flavor varieties of all-natural, organic honey. Lawson points out that Caribbean honey is unique, because it derives from bees that pollinate tropical flowers, giving it a very different taste from the clover or dandelion honey sold in the U.S. What's more, Lawson's honey is not processed; the raw honey goes straight from the hive to the jar, allowing it to keep all its nutrients, as well as its taste.

Lawson and five part-time employees are responsible for filling, labeling, and packaging each jar. She currently packages her...

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