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Emma Thompson also known as Missbeehaven from Ballygowan in Northern Ireland, has an insatiable passion for the world of bees. Her passion is so contagious, that she has nearly a swarm of 50,000 followers on her TikTok.  

Her documentary style videos are raising much needed awareness of the importance of bees in our everyday life. Emma is often seen out and about with her father, educating people about bees, the pair bring along their observation hive, and provide people with a very immersive learning experience.

The busy beekeeper began her beekeeping journey eight years ago, and it all started because of her battle with acne. After getting the taste for raw honey and finding that it had the power to cure her acne, Emma got researching everything to do with bees. 

“Suddenly my new obsession was honeybees, which is totally different to the typical obsession of spending my money on clothes and shoes’, Emma soon found herself on a journey, but she didn’t know where it was going to take her.

“I never thought once of starting my own business and then suddenly I was at the point of saying, what do we call ourselves?”

Emma’s father, David, joined her in the beekeeping journey and now have five hives based in Downpatrick and Dundonald. They soon had their own crop of honey, which was waiting to be given a name.

“I needed a brand, something to sell, so then I came up with the name, Beehaven, as I have always been misbehaving”.

“My first business name on Facebook was Beehaven honey, because I didn’t realise that there was going to be another product than honey. Never thought that this venture was going to do anything but cost me money.”

Yet four years after getting rid of her Acne, Emma was diagnosed with Cyclothymia, which is a mood disorder, like bi-polar. At the same time her acne had resurfaced.

“What am I going to do? I can’t go back to this acne. I suddenly had some inspiration to mix some oils and put some honey on my face. My spots disappeared over night, and I never had them again”

Soon this inspiration led to the expansion of Emma’s business to include, shampoo bars, lip butters, skin balms and face creams, which were all formulated by Emma, and now a prominent back bone to her business.

“I am three years into my business, and I haven’t taken a single wage from it, as I have reinvested £100,000 back, to get to where I want to be, and hopefully this year I will be able to take a wage from it’.

Emma’s business has seen some good commercial growth in the last eighteen months,

and she is hoping to be able to include her daughter full time in the business by next year.

Yet this journey of success doesn’t come without it’s struggles for Emma, even stemming back to when she was in school. 

“I struggle with my dyslexia and after primary three I attended additional classes for kids with dyslexia instead of the normal English lessons. In the eighty’s, dyslexia was treated very badly, in fact my head mistress used to slap me for not being able to do structured reasoning.

I left school at the age of sixteen without the ability to subtract on paper or even add. I taught myself to read after school, by reading books and through being a sales rep, I taught myself to work out how to calculate profit and return. If only my business teacher could see me now”.

It’s not only the battle with her dyslexia that has been a struggle for Emma, but also her anxiety, which often keeps her awake all night.  

“I normally worry about three to four things on the daily. I am not settled unless I am worrying myself sick about something, it is as if I nearly hunt out my anxiety”

Emma admits that her biggest anxiety, is that her business will be taken away from her. After doing some research she found that she had similar traits to Imposter syndrome. This is the constant feeling of self-doubt and personal incompetence, despite the knowledge of success and accomplishment.

“I am just waiting for that knock on the door and that would be the end of all my hard work, and in fact this feeling seems to get worse with the more successful I get. My inner thoughts often tell me, that Emma from Ballygowan shouldn’t have this success, because she has never done anything super special to deserve it”.

Emma admits that she never wanted to speak about how she was feeling, as she was feared to speak her problems into existence. Yet she decided to speak out about her struggles, with even explaining to her followers on TikTok what she goes through each day of her life.

“People who don’t know me on a personal level would perceive me as incredibly confident, because the way I portray myself, yet that is more the sales rep Emma. I am not confident at all and very insecure. I deal with that by just relating back and by saying to myself that is how I view myself, and it’s not how other people see me”

This constant battle for Emma can be a struggle, yet she doesn’t let that get in her way of success. Her approach to life is admirable, and her journey really underpins the power of determination and strength, even when she has been put down. All you got to do to, is to ‘beelieve’ in yourself, your strength, and your passions.

If you are on TikTok, give Emma a follow to show your support at @missbeehaven123.

Or search for Bee Haven Bodycare on Instagram or Facebook. You can also visit Emma’s website at www.beehavenbodycare.co.uk

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August 2022
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