Miles Kovarik, staff writer
Both of the founders of Honeywear Inc., Christen Ward and Kristin Keliher, attended Warren Wilson. After graduating, both had kids and chose to research, create, and market a new line of environmentally friendly baby carriers.
Ward explained that, after having lost faith in all of the baby carriers she came across, she decided to make her own. Ward bought different types of baby carriers and, using the best designs from each, created her own design, calling it the Baby Bee Sling.
Ward, a psychology major, choose to integrate psychology by creating a product that put babies closer to their mothers. Because babies are closer to their mothers, they take in language faster. At the same time, a mom can still have two hands free for working.
Because their product was successful, Christen decided she was going to look for money in order to market her product. Once she had this goal in mind, an email explaining the Forbes contest showed up. The Forbes contest asks companies to present their business plans for a chance to win $100,000 dollars to market their product. The first step of the process is to present an “elevator pitch,” or a 30 second explanation of the company. In the next step, Honeywear Inc. and the other top five companies fly to New York to present a 10-minute speech and then a 10-minute question and answer session. Currently, Honeywear Inc. is in second place. Ward explained that she wants her company to be first in the lineup. Votes from the Warren Wilson Community could get her company into first place.
The products are local, organic, and environmentally friendly. This means that while some companies claim to be local or eco-friendly, they still buy products from India and China created in sweatshops. Ward explained that she and Keliher look into every stage of their production to see if they can make it more sustainable. One process Honeywear Inc. focuses on is buying products within the United States.
Usually, products shipped from overseas are sprayed down for bugs and parasites. Honeywear Inc. still has to buy some products from overseas, such as silks, but even those are labeled “Organic, Don’t Spray,” so they avoid being sprayed down with heavy chemicals.
Another environmental focus the company has is hiring local seamstresses to make the product. Ward explained that they currently employ seven local seamstresses, and with the money from the Forbes contest hope to triple this amount.
Ward explained that she is committed to her work because of her four children and her husband, Kevin Ward. He is one of the big inspirations for her working with organic products. “He enforced my sustainable values which were already growing in me,” Ward said. He owns a green building company that employs sixteen workers.