Insights and Studies

WATCH: Honey Stinger's Tips for Founding, Growing, and Scaling

During Expo East, Repsly’s own Allen Bonde met with JD Robinson, Grocery National Sales Manager  from Honey Stinger, to get the inside scoop on the company. On the Repsly “red carpet,” we had the chance to talk to JD about the company’s tips for achieving success and learned more about how the brand got a running start.


A Unique Founding Story 

Honey Stinger’s beginning isn’t your average tale of a startup, but instead, of two tri-athletes searching for a delicious and energizing product to fuel their races and nourish their bodies. JD comments that Bill Gamber and Rich Hager, co-founders of Honey Stinger, believed that they needed something “better for them and better tasting.”

Who says you have to sacrifice flavor for health? Gamber comes from a beekeeping household and sought a solution that aligned with his family tradition. The honey-inspired products became the perfectly delectable solution to fit the needs of snack-ers and athletes alike, and conceived a brand of healthy, energizing products.

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Revolutionizing the way honey is used while still staying true the brand’s sweet roots, the duo sells a line of energy bars, gels, chews and waffles in addition to the classic sticky syrup. The recipe for Honey Stinger’s products isn’t quite as simple as JD’s two proclaimed ingredients for company success, which he accredits to “being gritty and getting after it.” But, the real secret, he says, is “keeping our nose to the grindstone and hustling.” Looks like the Honey Stinger team is a bunch of busy bees grinding their way to energy snack victory. Without taking their eyes off the prize, they continue to better their line of products and happily deliver on the promise of taste and quality.

For anyone looking to get their company to take off, JD recommends “…knowing your customers and knowing your shelf space.” Understanding the buyer who wants the product and the way the product appears on the shelf sums up JD’s philosophy for building a brand that thrives. A stronger customer network alongside a product that looks the part will have customers flocking to stores before you know it.



Here Are Three Big Takeaways From Honey Stinger’s Story:


1. Perceive A Need

Necessity breeds the best ideas. Take a page out of Honey Stinger’s book and look at how the founders took an idea inspired by something missing in the market. Bill and Rick, wanting a satisfying product for their racing lifestyle, believed they could develop a product that exceeded expectations and current market options. The co-founders provided for the lack of quality energy products through their own creativity by reinventing honey’s place in the market and replacing tasteless, unhealthy energy snacks.


2. Stay True To Your Roots

Use what you have and do what you know. The Gamber family’s ties to honey presented the perfect foundation for building their company. Incorporating honey fuses family tradition and athletic passion in the quest to create a better snack. Finding the connections to the product will make it not only more meaningful to you, but to potential customers as well.


3. Stick With The Grind

Always work hard. The daily grind leads to big payoff. Maintaining a pace and can-do attitude can take your company to the next level. While it is important to know your competition, focus on building your brand, promoting your product, and delivering. Keeping your head down in the company and chugging along to exceed expectations will help your business thrive.


Pro-Tip: To complement Honey Stinger’s energy boost, JD shares his favorite product outside of the company’s own line: Nuun Hydration. Get hydrated and get energized with this dynamic duo.

Recap: Take JD’s advice and Honey Stinger’s achievement to inspire your pursuit in CPG! Get gritty, keep your eyes on the prize, and find out what the market needs. Knowing who you are, your product, and your target consumer will simplify the road to success for years to come.


Gabrielle Downey

Gabrielle is a Content Marketing Journalist at Repsly with an enthusiasm for creativity and innovation. While pursuing her passion for writing, she is studying economics and philosophy at Boston College. She spends her free time exploring Boston in search of the best cup of coffee and cannoli.

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