Henry’s Humdingers is a company founded by Henry Miller, a young entrepreneur that manufactured and distributed spiced raw honey.
How Did He Come Up With The Idea?
Henry Miller learned all about bees while sitting next to a beekeeper on a plane who told him about Colony Collapse Disorder. This is a phenomenon in which worker bees suddenly abandon their hive, leaving the queen bee and some nurse bees to care for her and her young, along with enough resources for her to survive. But without bees, the hive cannot sustain itself.
After learning about this, Henry asked his parents to get him a bee hive for his twelfth birthday which he got. Soon enough, he had too much honey and not enough space to store it or know what to do with it. That’s when he decided to sell it. He began selling the honey and donating the money he made to the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees.
Then, he came up with the idea to tweak traditional sweet honey and make it flavored and spicy to sell it in the market. In a short span of four years, Henry’s honey business was going nationwide.
He was stocking his flavored honey at over 300 stores in 31 states and was unable to meet the growing demand due to a lack of funds. He approached the popular TV show Shark Tank on ABC, seeking an investment to expand his business.
How Did The Shark Tank Pitch Go?
Henry pleased the Sharks with his confident and endearing demeanor and his desire to preserve the bee colony. They were impressed by the number of sales he had made since the start of his business, which was about $67,000 in just three years and $50,000 in the past year.
He told the sharks that his family had already invested $150,000 in his business, and now he was seeking $150,000 more with a 25% stake in his company.
Here is What the Sharks Had to Say
Kevin O’Leary felt that the market for his product wasn’t large enough, and as soon as larger honey distributors discovered this niche, they would take over the market, and Henry’s business would fail.
Mark Cuban was impressed that Henry landed an account with Wegmans by going to food trade shows and wanted to know more about Henry’s marketing strategy.
Lori liked Henry’s dedication to bee preservation and his desire to save them from going extinct. But she also felt that there might not be a large enough market for spicy honey and did not make an offer to Henry as she was afraid she would lose her money.
Barbara Corcoran was charmed by Henry, and she felt that due to his personality and intelligence, he would be able to do well with crowdfunding and didn’t require help from the sharks.
While Robert Herjavec had a connection with a very prominent honey distributor in Canada, he didn’t think Henry’s product would be a good fit for them. But before he left, he was asked by Mark Cuban if he wanted to make a deal with him. He offered $300,000 for a majority share of 60% of the company.
Robert felt that value wasn’t large enough for the work and investment involved and raised the offer to 75% for $300,000. He said they would take over the company, build it and take over the development while letting Henry have equity.
Henry took a moment to think about it and then accepted the offer. But after leaving the show, he eventually declined the offer and decided to keep the business in the family.
What Happened After The Shark Tank Pitch?
After his Shark Tank episode aired on Television, Henry gained a 300% increase in his business due to the exposure it got him. Henry appeared on QVC and other shopping networks, and his business gained even more popularity. He introduced new flavors such as Apple Pie Spice, Strawberry Roasted Garlic, Cranberry Orange and Pumpkin Pie Spice honey.
In January 2019, Henry announced that he had closed down his business five years into the business. He said they had to shut down as the business wasn’t making profits for a while, and there were many unforeseen costs.
His biggest supporter and helper in the business, his mum, was fighting cancer, and he felt that there was no one that could replace the work she put in for the company while Henry was away at college.
In an unfortunate incident, their family farmhouse caught fire in April of that same year and burned to the ground. This was the end for Henry’s Humdingers LLC.
Our Review of Henry’s Humdingers
Here’s what we think of the idea:
Pros of Henry’s Humdinger
- It’s a niche but very popular market among people who are into organic and homegrown natural products
- It has a great story as it involves preserving the bee colony and preventing them from going extinct
- Honey is loved by many and is a safe business product
- It can be used in candy making, cooking, and baking, to add to sauces and canned food.
Cons of Henry’s Humdinger
- They weren’t able to buy in volume to reduce the cost of the honey due to rising prices
Who is Henry’s Humdingers For?
Henry’s honey attracts people who are especially fond of natural foods and like to consume natural and organic food. He gained a lot of attention from wholesale customers at natural food expos.
Restaurant chefs, candy manufacturers, and people who like to cook can be used to add a unique and natural flavor to their cooking.
Are There Any Alternatives?
Ada’s Honey: Honey from Ada’s honey was Henry’s Humdingers’ biggest competition. It was raw honey produced in Colorado managed single-handedly by a beekeeper.
Our Final Thoughts
While Henry did not close a deal on Shark Tank, he said he was very grateful to ABC and all the sharks for giving his business the boost it needed. He had no regrets. Mark Cuban continued to keep a check on him time and again when he was running the business and also became one of his college references.