Welcome to our Spark! Meet the Founder series, where we introduce you to the amazing entrepreneurs who are participating in our 2022 Spring Spark! program with a quick Q&A!
Spark! is a small business accelerator that puts the right people, opportunities, and access in place for local entrepreneurs in Arkansas to take their venture to the next level.
Please meet Lauren Anderson, founder of Calm + Confidence. Calm+Confidence places honey bee hives and native pollinator habitats throughout Arkansas to engage all communities in biodiversity preservation.
The Venture Center: Tell us about Calm + Confidence!
Lauren Anderson: Calm+Confidence places honey bee hives and native pollinator habitats throughout Arkansas to engage all communities in biodiversity preservation. We partner with schools and area organizations to show the public the importance of pollinators. Along with creating a network of bee-minded locals, we train apprentices to be the next generation of beekeepers.
Why did you choose to be an entrepreneur?
For Calm+Confidence, our beekeeping journey began as a senior project required to graduate high school. As a high school teacher, a student and I began a beekeeping club on campus which ballooned over time to placing hives at community gardens, parks, and private homes.
Over time, our waitlist expanded and it become a viable business. During COVID, I relocated from Tacoma, WA to Little Rock to care for family and saw the same demand for honey bee hives. I left teaching officially to run this business full-time.
Calm+Confidence allows me to continue to work in the area of education but be outside of the classroom. I can engage and train ages from 3 to 80 and build a welcoming, diverse community of beekeepers.
What are your biggest challenges as a business owner?
Running a business! With a decade in education, I understand how to develop events and educate the public. However, with no formal business training, I am unclear about business jargon and how to manage inventory, pay employees, and formalize my business plan.
What do you hope for the future of your business?
I am most excited to see us grow. We are starting to expand into Northwest Arkansas as well as smaller towns towards Pine Bluff. Seeing that people want to work with Calm+Confidence to build a network of sustainable beekeepers is incredibly hopeful.
What are you proudest of so far?
Over Earth Day weekend, we held a day of workshops where apprentices highlighted talents they’ve learned (extracting honey, building habitats, opening a hive, etc.) to show the community. Watching the apprentices lead these events after only a year of training in beekeeping, showed me that our model is working and that we are creating an empowering program that can teach anyone to be a beekeeper. The greatest moment for a teacher is when you step back and the students begin to do the teaching.
What do you hope to gain from Spark!?
Advice and guidance in creating a viable business model. Systems to track inventory, understanding how to scale, and simple vocabulary. I’m excited to get a crash-course in running a functioning business.
Huge thanks to Lauren Anderson for participating in Spark! We can’t wait to see your business grow!
You can support our Spring Spark! Cohort of entrepreneurs by cheering them on at the Spring Pitch ‘N Pint pitch contest June 23rd – first round is on us!