They Keep Bees: two unique services, one brand
How we merged two disjointed services.
They Keep Bees is the brain child of Ang Roell, a queer bee keeper and self proclaimed stoner academic who is nothing short of brilliant. When Ang first came to me, the website was jumbled, offering two main services: beekeeping and workplace consulting. While beekeeping was very literal, their workplace consulting focused on restructuring the power hierarchies of workplaces so that they leaned on more equitable power sharing models. They often used bees use of collective consensus building as a tool for communication.
But for the audience navigating the site?
They were left constantly questioning if Ang was talking about literal bees or metaphorical ones.
Before we dive too far in, some quick performance stats:
Approximately 300 unique visitors monthly (better than 64% of sites in this category according to Wix, approximately 400 total visitors monthly)
Average time per session: 3 min 37 seconds (better than 89% of sites in this category according to Wix)
20% returning visitors
36% of visitors are from organic search
Average ecommerce order: $60
Site performance over 1st year of launch
Skim Friendly Text and User Friendly Navigation
One of the biggest things we did was to fully restructure the menu architecture, making a clear concise menu that divided the two main services. We united both under a singular tagline whose ethos punctuated every part of their work:
We cut through the extra words, making each page shorter and more clearly divided with header tags and large section labels. While their work requires a lot of text, we made it skim friendly and digestible.
Some of my favorite copy is from their Consulting page:
Reimagining Business Structures
Taking cues from ecology to cultivate work cultures of cooperative power
Do you know how bees communicate?
Sure, most know that they dance out their news [outlink], but that’s just the beginning of what is remarkable. Bees share information through dance, investigation and verification. Then the bees work together to build on each other’s knowledge, building consensus before making decisions.
I never intended for my beekeeping work to spill into organizational consulting
The longer I’ve worked as an apiarist, the more nature taught me about organization decision-making.
I’ve worked as the Executive Director, Evaluator, Developmental Specialist, and Educator. Throughout these roles, I’ve led strategic planning efforts, designed evaluation systems, managed large grants, and crafted innovative programming. I’ve collaborated with community partners for using grassroots strategies. In all of these roles, I’ve seen how organic modeling can improve the workplace.
We’re in a state of constant production, preventing us from pausing to reflect. When we fail to stop, we can’t evaluate the impact of our actions. In organizations, that can lead to burn out, ineffective teams, and interpersonal conflict.
We wanted to avoid the tired and overdone yellow color pallet with honeycomb patterns. We instead pulled colors from Ukrainian scarves. Ang's slavic background is vital to them and is a background rooted in a rich agricultural and beekeeping heritage.
eCommerce and Donations
Ang has always offered products, from beeswax to honey, classes to zines, but the previous shop site was hard to navigate and accepted very few payment methods. We expanded payment methods, populated more products including classes, and categorized the larger options. We were able to add automated digital downloads for zines and offered one available by donation. We also added a donation button to the bottom of the page. Donations now make up a notable amount of passive income, something that was invaluable throughout the pandemic.
The website before was plain with no clear brand, visual hierarchy, or skim friendliness. It had many small friction points that confused users and added to their cognitive loads.
Accordion folders, a better menu architecture, and a visual hierarchy helped launch this brand, making it easier for clients to download free materials, book classes, and find out invaluable information about both Ang's consulting services and their biodiverse bees.