Bee-utiful end to job loss for Bay resident
WHEN life hands you a lemon, turn it into lemonade - or in the case of Hervey Bay's Charlotte Palmer, a colony of bee hives.
The Hervey Bay resident's life was turned upside-down overnight last November, after technology overtook her role as a TAB operator and she was made redundant.
But instead of burying her head in the sand, the single mum took life - and her future - into her own hands.
Ms Palmer has turned her bee-keeping hobby into a thriving business called Bee-utiful Honey Hervey Bay, with no view of slowing down any time soon.
"Losing my job in November when my work closed down was one of the best things that could have happened, even so a little daunting at the time,” she said.
"At the age of 45, single parent of three, the jobs were slim pickings against all the school leavers who are much cheaper to employ.
"I used to play around with the bees as a hobby because one of my friends and his wife had some hives and now we produce between 35-50kg per fortnight.”
Ms Palmer said her dream had become a reality thanks to the team at Sarina Russo Hervey Bay, who introduced her to the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme.
"When one door opens, another closes,” she said.
"So I went straight to the Sarina Russo Hervey Bay office and screamed 'please help me'.
"I took part in an interview where I pitched my idea of producing and selling natural honey.
"A few days later I was paired with my mentor, Malcolm Connolly, and the rest is history.”
Ms Palmer's business idea, backed by Mr Connolly's mentoring, cultivated Bee-utiful Honey Hervey Bay.
"NEIS opened up so many opportunities, more time to grow my business, do what I enjoy with being hands-on, being creative, marketing and promoting, learning new skills, learning more about business and meeting like-minded people,” she said.
And she's also playing her part in slowing the onslaught of technology taking over the planet.
"I really wanted to make my business personalised and bring back some of the old-fashioned service that used to exist,” Charlotte said.
"I deliver all my honey myself and I also have stalls at most of the markets which is another great way of securing exposure and new clients.
"My daughter Megan helps me with the bees and she comes to the markets with me too.”
Visit Ms Palmer's Facebook page at Bee-Utiful Honey Hervey Bay.
You will also find Bee-utiful Honey Hervey Bay at the Hervey Bay Crafters Mother's Day Craft Fair at Hervey Bay RSL on May 4 and 5.