The honey experts

The honey experts

Credit: The Sun Daily View Original Threat

Explore the success story of local honey distributor Jungle House

MALAYSIAN couple Paul Poh and Ashely Lam’s passion for honey began years ago during a trip into the jungles of Garut in West Jawa, Indonesia. When they were offered a taste of fresh jungle honey, the interest to share the joy of pure fresh honey with people here in Malaysia and to bring a change to the bee farmer natives of the land. With this in mind, Jungle House was developed to provide consumers with raw, natural and organic honey from the jungles of the world.

Jungle House has earned a name as Malaysia’s retail of Indonesian honey, sold at eight retail stores and online at Jungle House expands its business by launching its first ever lifestyle store cafe in Bangsar branch. It is a specialty store known for using natural flower nectars from fruits to make its products which includes honey warm, fruity beverages, honey desserts, coffee, tea, its famous Russian Honey Cake to personal care products like honey mask, soap, gift sets and more.

theSun spoke with the husband-and-wife founders to discover more about them and their journey to success with Jungle House. The couple, chief executive officer Paul Poh and chief business officer Ashley Lam, introduced the Jungle House brand, described as the “first honey lifestyle specialty store in Malaysia since year 2018”. The talented couple first met each other in 2014.

$!The majority of Jungle House’s honey is sourced from Indonesia. - JUNGLE HOUSE

While Paul has been running entrepreneurship most of the time in his career, Ashley has been involved with honey industry for more than 14 years. She started her career by selling honey in road shows.

The inspiration of the brand came into their life during one of their trips to Indonesia. They discovered a very special wild jungle honey during their adventurous trip with an indigenous bee hunter there. They mentioned they have tasted honey before, but not like this – pure, organic, unadulterated, raw honey, flavoured only by the flowers that the honeybees visit for nectar and pollen.

“This is what real honey is meant to taste like,” the couple shared. “So, we decided to bring this honey back to our country and into people’s life as we believe the honey is the best natural gift from nature.”

The couple wanted customers to perceive Jungle House as a brand that put purpose over profit.

They explained: “We learnt a lot of about how bees are critical in our eco-system to protect the world. We learnt about bees’ life and became aware that they are the champion pollinators for more than 75% of our global agriculture crops. So apart from sharing the joy of pure honey, protecting the natural ecosystem of the honeybees, and supporting the bee hunters who risk life and limb for this precious, golden liquid, has become our life’s mission.”

When asked what are some of the biggest challenges they had to overcome at the beginning of their journey, the couple had quite a lot to say.

$!Jungle House currently has nine stores including the first ever lifestyle store cafe in Bangsar.

“It is tough to build a brand that people trust during the early stage. [We] were running our business during the pandemic period most of the time. Retail business was badly affected since our presence was in malls mostly.

“However, we didn’t give up and we actually started our e-commerce channel, helping us to stay afloat during this challenging period. And also because of Covid, people started to realise the importance of health. Honey, as a superfood that contains multiple nutrients, [became] the preferred choice for people who wanted to boost their immunity.

“We overcame the challenges through connecting with our customer through Whatsapp and by phone, reaching out to new customer through online and e-commerce, and developing many honey gifts during MCO. Since people can’t meet face-to-face, delivering honey gifts has become something to represent their care to others.”

The couple further explained the uniqueness of their business.

“Other than raw honey, we develop and turn honey into different products that is more related to day to day life. We have honey juices, honey tea, honey coffee and artisan crafted honey drinks that suit our customer needs and offer the convenience of being able to chill during a hot day with a healthy drink. We have our best-selling Russian Honey Cake, which has sold more than 10,000 boxes since 2021.

$!Picture credit: Jungle House

“We offer various honey gift series packed into nice boxes and themed according to festivals, which has gained a lot of interest from the general public. Our latest lifestyle hub which is a café with a retail section in Bangsar, allows people to enjoy and experience the whole range of all things honey products which can be easily integrated into their lifestyle.”

As we all already know, success doesn’t come easy. The couple were humble enough to consider their achievement as a start, and dream to be more successful in the future.

“We would not consider having succeeded as yet in Malaysia, as many still haven’t develop the culture of consuming honey on a daily basis. It is a long road ahead of us but I think the journey is something we wanted to be part of and hopefully one day, Malaysia can be a country that cultivates honey culture into their daily life.”

When asked what their short and long-term goals are, they explained: “Currently we are still very focused in Klang Valley, hopefully this year we are able to expand towards the north and the south. As for long term goals, we hope our brand can be seen in every city around the world. Just like Starbucks where they change people’s life with coffee, we hope one day we able to change people’s life with honey, to create sweet moments in their lives.”

$!From left to right ; Ryan Oh (Jungle House Bangsar Store business partner ), Paul Poh (Chief Executive Officer ), Ashley Lam (Chief Business Officer) and dietitian Indra Balaratnam at Jungle House’s first cafe official launch.- JUNGLE HOUSE