The B Hive Origin Story

The B Hive, by nature is a very outward focused business. My goal and passion is building up other brands through various marketing strategies and tactics. This is great for them, and great for me, because I get to do what I love every day. However, this means that I don't spend (enough) time talking about the B Hive itself.

Today I'm going to change that up a little bit! Rather than using this blog space to talk about new strategies or sharing insights to help your brand (all still so important) I'm going to share a little bit about myself and what led to the creation of the B Hive!

Some of you may not know that I am in fact a born and raised Burlington native. You likely know my parents, grandparents or a cousin of mine. Our roots are very strong in SEIA. (My great grandpa had a farm just north of town. My grandpa and grandma raised their five children on this farm. My mom attended Mediapolis. My dad attended ND as did his siblings. His mom was a saint at the Workforce Development Center and his dad retired from the US Postal Service. My grandpa's brother stormed Normandy ((the first wave)) on D-Day, came home and pitched to major league players for the STL Cardinals. I have family in the local police force, I have relatives who own Iowa's chip, the beloved Sterzing's, family who engineered antennas sold at Winegard, family in education, family in health care and more.) As you can see, love for this community runs strong in our blood, as does determination, hard work and resilience.

I graduated in the class of 2010 at ND with not one, but two silver cords. I'd tacked up more than 950 hours of silver cord, while working two jobs + taking special orders for my first entrepreneurship experience (Made by Mallory). For those who know the history of Burlington over the last 20 years, you can recall how much our community, especially the downtown, was struggling at this point.

I was young (I still like to think I am today!) and had big dreams and vision for myself, which included thriving in a happening city overflowing with opportunity. This vision didn't seem to meld with what was happening in Burlington. When I graduated, I swore I was going to leave this town behind. I even started down that road.

So, what brought me back??

Well, before I can dive right into that, I have to share a little more history. During my studies, I took my baking business more seriously - participating in the Cedar Falls Farmer's Market, partnering with Scratch Cupcakery and offering them an entire gluten free line with more than 30 flavors, and even made the cupcakes for a New York woman's wedding!! That experience fueled my joy for entrepreneurship, and gave my hands on experience with building a brand and marketing it. I was the lead on two major PR campaign competitions in college, and my team won BOTH. We helped a new business successfully raise awareness and host an incredible launch for a wine bar and gave another business the tools to build their own employee app.

While in college, I accepted an internship with a brand agency in Denver, Colorado. I was their youngest intern, and with that knowledge, I had a personal chip on my shoulder to prove they made the right choice when selecting me as their intern for the summer. My hard work paid off quickly. I was tasked with managing the Pinterest account for Stetson, generating leads and communicating with audiences on behalf of NCM Fathom for upcoming events and even assisting in the major public relations and advertising campaign for Children's Colorado whereby we raised an astonishing $3.2 MILLION promoting their annual Courage Classic Bike Race.

When I graduated from UNI, degree fresh in hand, I was welcomed back to Denver to resume my 'post' with this branding agency. However, by 2015, some serious improvements were being made in my home town.

I wasn't ready to commit to coming home yet, and felt that I needed to learn a few more skills to add value to my tool belt. I landed a position at GoDaddy, and quickly learned all things domains, hosting, web development, optimization, SEO, SSL, email encryption and more. I worked there for a year and kept checking the Greater Burlington website for the latest updates on the community and downtown revitalization efforts. I was so excited to see that the community had made an about face, and I decided that I should help fuel that momentum. I knew that there would be loads of changes in the landscape of marketing and connecting with target markets, and wanted to be sure to help these businesses prepare and plan for this. I wanted to ensure that the comeback would last, and not be a temporary thing for our town.

In the late summer of 2016, I packed up my life and headed HOME. I'd done research and there were no brand agencies or multi-marketing firms for me to submit my resume to, so I was going to launch my own. Thankfully all my experiences to this point had slowly been preparing me for this. I imagined that I'd get to work with 5 businesses per year but little did I know what would come!

In January 2017, the business officially launched. Today (April 2019) it's grown from a less than part-time passion project into a full blown, living, breathing business. I've hired team members, brought on interns, served more than 30 businesses in SEIA, the state, nation and even globally. I've added more services, too, but the goal and mission of the Hive has remained the same. We are here to provide value to businesses. We are here to help build brands. We are here to foster continued growth in our community. We are here to drive opportunity and encourage (healthy) competition to benefit businesses AND the community.

I love Burlington. It's my hometown. I've seen it during the good, bad, ugly, and it's comeback.

But here is the thing. I can provide all the services and ideas in the world to businesses. But if we, as community members, do not fully invest in our small businesses, we risk losing them. I can promise you that these business owners have a tough road ahead. It's HARD for the little guy to compete with Wal-Mart, with Target, and especially with Amazon. Think of your local shops before you click that checkout button. Chances are pretty good that you can get what you need right here in our community. And when you invest in a local business, you're investing in the survival and future of our vibrant town. Your dollars will be reinvested RIGHT HERE. Our local small business owners are doing their part. Are you doing yours? <3

- Mallory Riffel

Owner + Chief Strategist, B Hive Branding

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