KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – Daimiyan Menya’s entrepreneurial journey began at 14 years old after a bout of COVID-19 knocked out her senses of taste and smell.
“I am a very big foodie, and I love food,” Menya said. “I’m always eating and willing to try new things, and when I was cooking I wouldn’t know what it would taste like.”
Her mom, Ashleigh, served as her professional taste tester until Daimiyan discovered that butter was the one thing she could still taste in full. After that, one little mistake gave her an idea.
“The first time I made butter, it was an accident,” Daimiyan said. “Because I was making whipped cream and then I forgot about it.”
When she came back, her mixer had turned heavy cream into a solid, tasty mass and a new recipe that she could experiment with.
“One day I was at a sleepover and I got bored,” Menya said. “So I was like, ‘What do I want to do with my life to get a headstart?'”
So Menya did what any good entrepreneur does and combined what she loved to do with what people love to buy. That’s how HoneyBee Butters was formed.
“You can never have enough,” Daimiyan said. “Like, you’re from the south…You can never have enough butter.”
When it came time for Menya to put her business out there, the response was overwhelming.
“The first night, it was a couple hours after we first made the Facebook page about it,” Daimiyan said. “And my mom was like, ‘We have a lot of people that are wanting to support you right now,’ and I started crying. I really did.”
Butter aside, Menya said her business represents more than herself. Her other passion — conservation and the environment — was added to the mix as well.
“If you’ve ever seen the Bee Movie,” Daimiyan said, “You realize that bees are really important to the environment. If there were no bees, then there’d be no life.”
In fact, Menya said she adopted two of her own. Their names were Pickle and Jamal.
To scale up her conservation efforts, every purchase comes with a packet of wildflower seeds for customers to scatter in their yards and neighborhoods for local pollinators to enjoy. Daimiyan is also hoping to partner with local beekeepers to source honey from the community.
From yard sales to regular table setups in her Kingsport neighborhood, Daimiyan has been selling her product much faster than she imagined.
She’s taking on business day by day, but she said her next steps will likely be a website for online orders.
As it stands, fans of HoneyBee Butters can keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates. The current flavors available for sale are Regular Unsalted, Honey, Honey Cinnamon and Garlic. There are plans in the works for fall-themed flavors soon.