At Home with Settler Hives
The humble bee is amongst one of the most important creatures on Earth. These amazing insects pollinate over 80% of all flowering plants including 70 of the top 100 human food crops. And yet, since 2013, in parts of the world, the bee population has fallen by a third – a phenomena known as colony collapse disorder. While in Australia, the bee population remains relatively solid, caring for these hard workers, is still crucial.
Thankfully, Toowoomba locals Hayley and Roger Mason have stepped up to the mark with the creation of their business Settler Hives – beautifully branded, high quality seeds with the aim of regenerating the bee population. We were lucky enough to speak to Hayley and find out a little more about the inspiration behind her business.
Selling seeds hasn’t always been on the couple’s mind. Flash back a few years and you would find them, living in a barn on blueberry fields, in a small town just outside of Vancouver. It was there, that they got their first beehive and Settler Hives began.
“Roger had always talked about wanting bees and I’d always looked at him and laughed until one day the penny dropped and I said ‘yeah, we should get bees’. He was telling me that colonies had been collapsing around the world and no one knew why and then finally, one day, it meant more than just hearing it”, Hayley said.
However, their Canadian adventure came to a hasty end when their application for permanent residency was declined, and within four weeks, they were forced to pack up their things and jet back to Australia, leaving their lives in a state of flux.
“There was a good few months of me thinking – ‘what can we do?’ Then one day in the car, we were on a road trip, it just landed in my brain. I turned to Roger and I squealed “Seeds!”
Although Settler Hives is a very young business, you’d never tell. Haley and Roger have put together a thoughtful and carefully curated selection of immaculately branded seeds. Their range includes edible flowers, herbs, garden greens, natives, cut flowers and flower nectar – wildflower inspired beauties like dahlias, zinnias, lavender, and paper daisies.
“When we started Settler I wanted to show people more appeal in the slow life – to pick it up in a different light to what most people would picture.”
That earnestness and excitement shines through when you’re speaking to Hayley and is something, she says, that is echoed in the bee-keeping community –
“We started looking it up and researching. We got really inspired by other people on Youtube and Instagram; they were so passionate. The community of bee keeping is so open to sharing knowledge. The whole point of bee keeping is that it’s good for everyone.”
The best thing Australians can do to support bees is to grow flowering plants in their gardens and Settler Hives have made that easy for anyone to do. They wanted to simplify it, to take out all of the jargon you usually get with plants and seeds. Their product descriptions are fun and exciting and planting instructions are straightforward; none of the “partial sunlight” vagueness that can sometimes leave you feeling overwhelmed.
“Roger and I always say it’s a feel-good. Yes, we’re selling a product, but we’re also selling a feeling. It’s good for you to enjoy, it’s good for the bees and it eventually will come full circle. Imagine the ripple effect of that change, even if everyone just had one pot in their yard.”
Take a peek at @settlerhives on Instagram for inspiration and to purchase some seeds of your own head to our salon where they will soon be stocked!