Ideas Coming to Life: A Behind the Scenes Q&A with Nathan Sheets
It’s true that Nature Nate’s Honey Co. started with a post-honeymoon hobby, but it also started with a dream to make everything better—with honey. Nate has had his innovative sights set on creating the most delicious products on the shelf for years, and in January 2018, he and our Nature Nate’s team saw his ideas come to life. We asked him about his inspiration, the process and how it all came together.
Q: WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE NEW PRODUCTS?
A: The first new product we ever launched came out of my own habit of how I ate my pancakes in the morning. I put honey on my pancakes along with strawberry jelly, creating almost a crepe-like pancake. My wife Patty suggested I make a syrup, so I ran to the store, bought produce and just started cooking in my kitchen over the next week. From there we evolved into the ideas of the new products you see. The initial inspiration laid a foundational belief that we could truly make better-for-you products that consumers would enjoy. We looked at items that historically contained high-fructose corn syrup and other added sugars, and ventured to use honey instead.
Q: IF YOU HAD TO PICK A FAVORITE FLAVOR AND APPLICATION, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
A: My favorite things to make right now are peanut butter energy balls. They consist of Nature Nate’s Honey Peanut Butter, oats, flax seed and mini chocolate chips. I compress them in to a small sphere shape and eat them on-the-go. They are fantastic and easy to make.
Q: THERE IS A PHOTO FROM A 2015 BRAINSTORM SESSION WHERE YOU AND THE TEAM DREAMED OF WHAT THE NEW PRODUCTS MIGHT LOOK LIKE. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO SEE THEM COME TO LIFE?
A: The best way I can think to describe it is like having babies. There is anticipation in the development process, excitement for what is to come and also the actual birthing process. I’m a dad, and I’ve experienced the ups and downs of watching four children grow up. You work hard for a long time without ever knowing how they’re going to turn out, but then they grow up and you just feel so proud. It just takes patience and perseverance to do things the right way. The same goes for new products: We all have ideas and want them to magically come to life, but it takes a long time. You can’t give up because seeing them on the shelves is such an amazing feeling.
Q: WHAT DOES “HONEY MAKES IT BETTER” MEAN TO YOU?
A: Two things. First, “Honey Makes It Better” means it’s better tasting and better for you. An example of this is our Honey Maple Syrup. Nature Nate’s Honey Maple Syrup replaces all the high-fructose corn syrup that is often found in other maple-flavored syrups. We use real maple syrup and raw and unfiltered honey. Another example are our nut butters. They taste great and with the addition of honey, they contain nutrients and enzymes found in honey.
Secondly, “Honey Makes It Better” also means that honey makes life better. We are able to steward the resources given to us to make a difference in people’s lives. Whether it’s serving women dealing with cancer or partnering with hurricane relief efforts, honey helps make lives better because we are able to offer hope in difficult situations. We want to be intentional about making a positive impact in the lives of other people.
Q: HAS THIS PROJECT INSPIRED YOU FOR FUTURE NATURE NATE’S ENDEAVORS?
A: Definitely. The process of the past few years has taught me that taking your time is better than rushing. This totally goes against my go, go, go mentality, but I have learned that rushing can come back to bite you and speed doesn’t always win.
Q: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE LOOKING TO TAKE A STEP OF FAITH AND TRY A NEW AND CREATVE IDEA?
A: If you aren’t failing enough you aren’t trying enough. Every failure is one step closer to success. Don’t be afraid to fail.