MELISSA ELM & Katie SANCHEZ
FOUNDERS, BEE FREE HONEE
Melissa Elms has been in the consumer packaged goods industry since 1995. Primarily concentrating on brand development, sales, marketing and distribution initiatives in the organic/specialty food and beverage industry. She has been the Chief Operations Officer of a large sales and marketing firm, an executive at UNFI (a publicly traded national distribution network), an executive at Langer Juice Company, developing natural and organic brands , as well as the Vice President of Sales for the first Non-GMO verified cocktail mixer company. Currently, Melissa is the energetic and passionate CEO and Co-Owner of Bee Free Honee®. She likes to call herself an EntreFEMMEur, as she leads the women owned and operated organization towards a $100 million dollar revenue goal.
Melissa is hyper-focused on spreading the news about the most disruptive and fastest growing sweetener in recent history, Bee Free Honee ® The company is the only alternative Honee company to rock the market with a 100% plant based, sustainable and vegan Honee made from Apples, yep apples...no hives required and no bees harmed for this Honee! The company has a great social mission : "Saving Bees One Apple at a time" and Donating a portion of the sales from EVERY bottle sold to organizations that meet the company criteria for plant based living and pollinator recovery efforts. Recently featured on ABC Shark Tank, this innovative Honee company is the only food company to ever receive funding from three "Shark" investors : Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran and Chris Sacca. Melissa is an avid foodie, thrill seeker and animal lover ,especially of her two miniature doxies :Bella & Raisin.
Revolutionary foods are hard to come by these days. It seems that there is a lot of variation of the same things out there. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of people looking to change that. There is a food revolution brewing and Katie Sanchez is excited to be a part of it.
Bee Free Honee® is Katie’s contribution (but expect more to come!), it is a plant based “honey” pushing through the industry, making waves and leaving its mark. Katie doesn’t come from a business background; she comes from the world of culinary arts and has figured out how to make a business from scratch. Her methods have not always fit the formula, she learned about business by checking books out at the library, asking questions, and a lot of listening; and Bee Free Honee® was not born in a lab - came to be by accident while Katie was trying to make apple jelly but was too rushed to stop and read the directions.
A fortuitous chance meeting with Melissa Elms, a veteran in the natural foods industry, changed the life of both Katie and Bee Free Honee®, they became business partners, went on ABC’s TV program Shark Tank®, got a deal with three sharks (Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, and Chris Sacca) and are now setting themselves up disrupt the honey market.
The goals Katie has are not lofty; she wants to save the pollinators – all of them! - by allowing honey bees to keep their natural, nutrient rich food and encourage consumers to find alternatives. This is so bees are not fed sugar water and corn syrup in place of honey, because that is what’s happening. She wants to start the conversation on how large produce growers can support their own hives so bees do not need to be trucked around the US being exposed to all climates, pesticides, and parasites. In supporting our bees more effectively, we will in turn, support other pollinators as well. But we can also encourage city municipals, that when planning landscapes, why not simply plant pollinator friendly plants instead? We want to work with states to put down flowering plants along the highways so pollinators have constant food supply as they migrate. There is so much work to be done, so many solutions available, but Katie is not deterred…on the contrary, she is looking forward to the challenge and the change.