Honeycombers: A Sweet Taste of Singapore's Lifestyle

Australian Chris Edwards Honeycombers shares online the best of Singapore's quality lifestyle and the city's enticing secrets with the audience

The Womenz team had an opportunity to interact with Ms. Chris Edwards, Founder & Managing Director, Honeycombers, HoneyKidsAsia, HoneyBride, Singapore.  Here is what she shared with us


Please give some background  like your childhood & education

I had a wonderful childhood, I grew up in rural Australia.  We lived on a 23,000 acre farming and cattle station 1.5 hours out of the small country town Moree, in Northern NSW, until I was 10 years old.  I loved the country, horse riding, cattle work, and generally the big skies and great sense of freedom and space of living in the country. I travelled 1.5 hours each way to school (3 hours round trip!), until I went to boarding school at Abbotsleigh in Sydney at aged 11.  Abbotsleigh was a very feminist all girls school, and we were brought up to believe you could do anything you wanted to – as long as you put your mind to it.  It was a fantastic education.  I remember being very appreciative of the opportunity of going to this private school in the city, although I did miss my parents – who were an 8-hour drive away.


After school I went to the University of NSW and studied Commerce – I always new I wanted my own business, so this seemed like a good path.  Here I met my husband, and after I completed uni, we travelled to Europe and lived in London for about 1.5 years. We returned home and after a few short years, I found myself in the role of Marketing Director of Krispy Kreme, the American doughnut company.  Here I learnt how to create a brand and launch a brand – I was responsible for the first store launch outside America and the rollout of the stores across Australia.  It was an exciting and fun job!


When did you moved to Singapore? Any particular reason?


I moved to Singapore in 2007.  My husband was transferred here for his work.  So I was the ‘trailing spouse’, as they say.


What inspired you to begin with The Honeycombers? How it all started & how you coined this interesting name?


When I moved to Singapore I found it difficult to get a job in marketing, so I ended up in a role as General Manager for Asia City Publishing – managing their custom publishing business.  Here I learnt how to start a publication, what advertisers wanted, and how to run a magazine.  From here friends lured me to join them in a start up which was focused on creating niche websites.  I managed the commercialisation of two websites – one on Aboriginal Art and one on medical careers.  Whilst I was working here, my husband saw a business in the news – it was a daily email and website that was an insiders guide to NYC, called ‘Daily Candy’.  We both agreed – this is exactly what Singapore needs.  


We knew so many young expats weren’t connect to the local community, in fact many would say ‘Singapore is boring’, but after working in the local lifestyle media sector – I knew Singapore was not boring – but there was a lack of quality lifestyle sources that expats could use and trust.  (Everybody was reading the Daily Mail or the Sydney Morning Herald), so I started Honeycombers in December 2008.


Ah, the name – lots of people ask me about this.  So ‘Honeycombers’ is a name we made up – we felt that ‘honey’ being the sweet stuff, the best bits was a great description of all the things we would discover in Singapore and share with out audience and ‘combers’ describes the process of combing the city, in search of the best of the best.  Hence, ‘Honeycombers’.


Your initial journey and motivation to scale this far?


When I first started I had visions of taking Honeycombers across SE Asia.  In fact, in the first design of the site I had the back end ready for new countries to be added.  So I always had ambitious plans!  In saying that, it has been an overnight success that has taken 8 years.   


I think the motivating thing for me has been an absolutely love what we do; I love sharing Singapore’s greatest secrets with our audience.  I honestly get excited about new, fun, interesting things to do – and I am constantly exploring the city and the neighbouring islands and countries.  What a fun job! I mean who doesn’t love trying new restaurants, new spa treatments or holiday destinations and sharing the good and the bad with their friends?


In regards to scale - my motivation to scale has been driven by my motivation to be the best in class, and also by client demand.  I get excited about new features we can add to the site – such as the ability to login and save content, making it easier for our users to personalise their experience – and also with the creative content we can make.  I love the fun videos we are now creating; it’s great content, engaging and connects with our audience. I can also see the opportunity to bring this platform across Asia, so that when our audience travels, they know they can trust Honeycombers to show them the best of the city, so they can get the most out of their visit.


As a women did  you face any hurdles in your journey so far?  If yes,  how you faced & conquered them?


I think the biggest challenge I have found as a woman is that I don’t have a male ego.  I am a very confident person, but that male ego makes many men very good at selling themselves, and makes them a little more bullet-proof – especially when navigating tricky situations.  I definitely think the innate DNA of a typical man gives them a little bit of an advantage in the workplace.


In terms of conquering this challenge, I have surrounded myself with a great and powerful group of girlfriends who are constantly supporting me, and encouraging me – it helps a lot.


How is The Honeycombers different and the plans for the future?


Big question!  So I believe there are 5 very unique USPs of Honeycombers, which are inherently part of the company’s DNA.  

These are:  

1.   We are extremely agile and new media focused.

2.   We are focused on native advertising, not banner ads.
3.   We have a real connection with our audience.  They trust us, in fact 75% of our audience has bought some time or tried something based on our recommendation.
4.   Our audience is the influencers of influencers. These people are ‘in the know’, they like to be the first and tell others.
5.   We have a unique ‘can-do’ attitude.  We have a seriously great team of people that always say yes to a challenge!

These have evolved over the last 8 years; some of it has stemmed from how we have grown and where we plan to go.


As to our plans for the future – we are launching into Hong Kong in the next quarter and Manila later this year.  We also have some exciting new products we are launching into the Singapore market this year – lots happening!


Tell us about your family? How you manage on both fronts family & The Honeycombers


I have a very supportive husband (who is incredible with the kids) and 3 children, aged 7, 5 and 2.  I also am lucky to have a full time helper at home, who has been with us for almost 8 years.  


I think because of my husband and helper I have been able to have a very balanced approach to Honeycombers.  Right now I am working about 5-8 hours a week, which is a very light load considering the size of the company (we are now at 40 staff) and the growth plans we have.  I made the decision about a year ago to step back from the day to day manage and move into a Founder and Chairwoman role, which provides this great balance, and enables me to be a hands-on Mum.

What is your biggest achievement so far?


Ohhh, good question. I am very proud of Honeycombers and what I have achieved.  We are completely self-funded (my husband and I own 100%) and have been profitable for 8 years. I am proud of this achievement, absolutely.   But to be honest, I wouldn’t swap this for the opportunity to raise 3 kids, and guide them to (hopefully) turn out to be great people.  This is one of life’s greatest achievements and a life long journey which I treasure the most in life.  So raising three kids is the biggest achievement – although, we are not there yet!


Your message to other women who are struggling  to  prove themselves


There are a lot of challenges in the workplace for women, and if you are a female entrepreneur I think that you have just doubled your challenges.

The one word of advice I wish I could whisper in my ear 8 years ago would be – find a mentor or a sponsor, someone who can help advise you, and act to your benefit.  Find someone who has done what you are attempting to do, or someone with great experience in your industry – and ask their advice.  It can be very lonely at times, and hard – but if you have the right attitude and ask for help, most people would love to help you.  And don’t stop.  You may need to pivot, and change track at times – but you need to constantly work hard and take action.    


We The Womenz team thank her for sharing her story with us. We are sure that her story will certainly inspire our readers.

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First Published: 07-Apr-2017- 18:35