We had the good fortune of connecting with Brianna Kidd and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brianna, how do you think about risk?
When it comes to starting a business in rural Northeast Georgia, there were tons of risks involved. August of 2013 we opened our doors in Canon, Georgia with the town only populated with 833 residents. I was 27 years old, a newlywed, and a college graduate. I wanted to be successful but knew I couldn’t do it alone. So my brother and I teamed up to open a raw honey and natural body care company. We had dreams of opening a meadery, honey winery, but knew we had to establish our brand first. So bring on 100 beehives and let the product developing begin. We grew our brand and opened Southern Origin Meadery in May of 2017. We have always taken risks, but this one was by far the biggest. We waited months to make sure we were ready for our launch. We wanted every detail to be perfect. Waiting months costs money and my father was always ready to open, but I knew once people step foot in your door they will form an opinion that will shape the way they view your business. So, spend the money to develop the products until they are right. Make sure your presentation is your vision and don’t sacrifice your look…it’s what makes you stand apart. I view risk as something vital if you want to succeed in owning a business. You have to keep improving your process, facility and products. The second you become stagnant is when things stop working. Keeping things fresh with unique offerings is always risky, but when done correctly you will take your business to the next level!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My family opened Blue Haven Bee Company in August of 2013. We started with a little over 100 beehives and made raw and unfiltered honey and a line of luxurious body care. Each honey was packaged and labeled in house along with our unique honey body care items. We always wanted to make mead, honey wine, but after attempting to make it, we knew we had to find the right fit to grow this segment of our business. So for the next four years we grew our honey company and apiary drastically! You can find our products in over 250 stores including high end hotels and mom and pop shops. After meeting our vintner and experimenting, we knew we found the perfect addition to our family business. So, we made two 250 gallon batches of mead and started working on this new segment of our business, Southern Origin Meadery. We now offer 12 varieties of mead, ranging from very dry to sweet. We have two tasting rooms and are distributing all over Georgia with hopes of growing into South & North Carolina very soon. We found our passion. The finest mead and honey you’ve ever tasted! Mead is the oldest fermented beverage in history dating back to over 6,000 years ago. It’s a process of fermenting honey, water and yeast. You can add herbs, fruit, and other grape wines to make unique blends that satisfy any pallet. You can make killer cocktails or sip on their own, but we must warn you, watch out they’ll sting you! We are different than other companies because we only use the finest ingredients to make our meads. We do small batches and let our aging range from six months to two years. If the mead doesn’t taste divine, we tweak and let it age longer. Quality is at the forefront. We are also a family business and harness each others strengths. I believe this makes us stronger. This is our livelihood and we work hard to make it work in the sleepy town in Northeast Georgia. We sacrificed a ton to get to where we are today. I watched my friends get “real jobs” and buy nice things. We put every dollar back into our business and didn’t pay ourselves very much for years. I lost friends because we couldn’t hang with their lifestyle. It was some of the hardest years of my life and even now we are finally seeing what we worked so hard to build. It took years of not giving up and sacrificing to get to where we are today. I think it makes my drive that much harder. I’ve worked so hard to build this business, nothing is going to tear it down!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Northeast Georgia has a lot to offer if you want to explore off the beaten path. I would hands down stay at the beautiful Beacon Bed and Breakfast on Lake Hartwell. The owners are a dream and so is this establishment. Every finish is stunning and the rooms are top notch. They have the cutest farm critters and make gourmet breakfasts that will make your mouth water. Located right on beautiful Lake Hartwell, this place is a must visit to get away from the hustle and bustle.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The people that deserve this shoutout are my parents. Without hesitation they stepped up to the plate to help fund and start our business. My mother, Karen Brown, is the backbone of the business. She keeps us all together. From being the perfect buffer to making our decor stylish, this woman is the best mentor you can have. She is my cheerleader and a wonderful example of a good mother. She helps me with my two girls and pushes me to places I’ve only dreamed of going. She keeps our family unit strong and we couldn’t have made it almost eight years in business without her. When people think they have the best mom they only think they do, I know for sure I truly have the best mother on the planet. My father, Monroe Brown, is the work force that keeps us going. He works seven days a week. From keeping bees to bookkeeping, he does this and everything in between. He is the epitome of hard work. He keeps things going and has never stopped believing in his children. He is selfless with this things and always puts us first. We would never be where we are without his hard working, go get ’em attitude. I am lucky that he is mine!
Phil Pyle from PyleStyle Photography Products Portrait- Laura Sadun
Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlana is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.