Are you from Kentucky? If not, where?
I’m from Harrodsburg, Kentucky, which is about 40 minutes from Lexington. I have lived in Lexington for the past four years, and I will be a third-generation University of Kentucky graduate!
How did you get the idea for Queen Bee Peanut Butter?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I felt like my senior year was lacking in purpose. My classes and marketing internship were moved online. I needed a fun outlet, and I had a thought, peanut butter! I’ve always loved peanut butter and thought it would be fun to experiment and create new flavors.
What flavors do you currently offer?
Marshmallow Creme, Sugar Cookie, Monster Cookie, Honey Nut, White Chocolate, and two monthly flavors. These are all amazing on their own, but my favorite way to use them is on a rice cake, on ice cream, or to make fudge.
Can you talk about the process of creating the flavors?
The first batch I made was not good at all! I continued to research and develop my own recipe that made the perfect base. Then I began to add flavorings and other ingredients.
How did you initially generate interest in your products?
Once my friends and family tried it, they were hooked. They said, “Emma, you have to sell this!” I posted the peanut butter on my personal Facebook page and started building my customer base. My business began to expand, which is when I created social media accounts for Queen Bee. I eventually became a certified Kentucky Proud product, which helped with promotion. Through social media marketing campaigns and word-of-mouth marketing, I have tripled my weekly order number in six months.
How did Gatton help prepare you for the success you've had?
My business would not be as successful as it is if it weren’t for Gatton. My courses have taken my love for small business and entrepreneurship to the next level. My professors have been incredibly encouraging and constantly encourage us to dream big. It was always my dream to own my own small business, and through the knowledge I learned at Gatton, I have been able to do that. It’s also great to still be a student during the startup phase of my business. I’m able to get professors' opinions on ideas, and I’m even using Queen Bee for a small business management project.
What have you enjoyed most about your time at Gatton?
I’ve enjoyed getting to know my professors and witnessing their passion for helping students achieve their goals. It’s obvious that they want the best for us, and they’re willing to do whatever they can to help us. I’ve also loved being a part of Women in Business Leaders. It has been an encouraging support system in my small business, but also in my life as a whole.
Do you have a favorite recipe or treat using your products?
When people buy my peanut butter for the first time, this is a frequent question they ask. Yes, I have fun recipes, but eating peanut butter by the spoonful is my favorite way to enjoy it!
What superpower would you like to have?
If I could have any superpower, it would be to fly. I love to travel and see new places, and I think it would be amazing if I could just fly to any location at any moment!
What is your favorite quote or motto?
“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.” Isaiah 43:18-19