About Time You Met: Georgina Green, Founder of BeeZeeBy Angelica Malin
BeeZee is a new app and online platform which aims to revive and revitalise the local high street. Allowing users to shop their local High Street from their phone, via a simple to use app, BeeZee also takes care of delivery too, ensuring 100% of delivery fees goes directly to the driver.
BeeZee has given small, local retailers without an online presence a lifeline in these uncertain times, allowing them to trade whilst being unable to open. To further support retailers, BeeZee waives its nominal fee during lockdown to ensure retailers make a full profit. We chatted to founder Georgina Green about setting up her new business in just under two months and the future of the high street:
What inspired you to start BeeZee?
During the pandemic, we saw no cars on the road, no shops open. Everyone was falling into despair. It was really devastating for us to see. We decided to create BeeZee to help small business owners take charge of their lives during these uncertain times. We’re trying to create a platform that will allow businesses not just to survive but to thrive.
The pandemic just emphasises what we already knew. Every business must now have an online presence, and BeeZee is here to accommodate that need. We are not doctors – I can’t help medically. I cannot help politically, but I can help with providing the technology to enable businesses to become self-sufficient and to continue selling even when customers cannot physically come to their shops.
Why is the high street so important to you?
I believe the high streets and local businesses are the core of every community. The sense of community is becoming a lost concept, and without it, we will all be living a life of disconnect. It is our local communities that hold us up and if the high streets fall so do people’s livelihoods.
What did you do before you launched BeeZee?
As a university drop out my career options were somewhat limited. At first, I was a cleaner, the one and only job I have ever been fired from. After that, I went straight into high-tech advertising and after working in several companies decided to open my own. 10 years later and at the ripe old age of 30, I do miss cleaning houses.
How long did it take you from concept to launch?
A whole super stressful six weeks. As soon as we started seeing the true damage of the pandemic, I thought “What can I do to improve this situation?”, then I came up with the idea and recruited the team within the first week. We were working around the clock, most nights I was in the office until minimum 10pm at night and starting the day at 6am. We did everything we could to launch it as soon as possible.
Every single person I shared my idea with thought I was going nuts. Who’s thinking about an app, a new business now?! Everyone told me to hold my money and wait. But what a buzz! No pun intended… I was never particularly good at listening to people telling me what I can’t do.
Were there any bumps along the way and would you have done anything differently if you could turn back time?
Bumps ……! More like blazing fires that needed to be put out daily would be a more accurate depiction! In the beginning, I had a little arrogance combined with a smidge of ignorance thinking this would be a simple task to build technology from scratch and to bring it to market within 6 weeks to help people immediately get through the pandemic. As we moved forward with the development at such a high speed, within no time did we see the daily problems occur.
I realised that technology is like a house of cards, and as soon as you change the tiniest thing – everything else changes too, and sometimes even collapses. I would not change this though as the speed is what enabled us to develop this platform so quickly. However, it is no understatement that myself and my incredible team are now ready for a much-needed vacation!
Looking backwards there is nothing I would have changed because thanks to all these struggles, we have an amazing platform that we can be so proud of.
What do you think the future of the high street is post-pandemic?
I believe there is now a new movement occurring that shows how important small businesses and local manufactures are to the economy. Consumers are starting to realise how much power we have collectively in choosing local and I do believe most people would rather buy local than buy products from large corporations or from abroad. It is our job to make it easy for them to do so. More and more emphasis will be online and on social media, which in the long term will force storefront rentals to drop their pricing significantly as people now realise that it’s not so necessary to have the expensive storefront like before.
How do you balance running a business with a young family?
Balance? I do not even remember what this word means!
But all jokes aside, I have such a loving and supportive husband, Yaniv, to help me manage between being a mum, and a business owner. He’s the first to tell me to speed up, slow down or that I’ve totally lost the plot. An amazing husband combined with a fierce all-women team makes everything possible. I always say if Jacinda Ardern can run a country with a newborn baby then I can at least run a couple of companies and a household. What am I complaining about!
If you could give one piece of advice to someone looking to start their own business, what would it be?
Pure tenacity and not willing to give in to the fear that creeps into your mind. Starting a business is both exciting and terrifying. Most importantly, be careful of those long-term plans, it’s the strange discoveries along the road that might just inspire you and completely change the course you were on, which undoubtedly happened to me.