Honey & Wax Booksellers

Heather O'Donnell head shot
Heather O'Donnell
Honey & Wax Booksellers

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Founded:  2011

Employees: 3

Course: FastTrac NewVenture- Graduated 2011

Affiliate: NYC Business Solutions

Build the concept. Honey & Wax Booksellers offers great works of classic literature — rare first printings, beautiful and curious editions, and copies with surprising stories of their own. It focuses exclusively on buying and selling unique, striking books with no downloadable equivalent.

Plan the strategy. Honey & Wax serves readers who prize and purchase rare or unusual printings of classical literature for their own enjoyment or to give as gifts. The company name is inspired by a nineteenth-century epigram: “Use books as bees use flowers.” Drawing a parallel with bees and flowers in a field, Heather O’Donnell and her team like to hear readers “buzzing” about beautiful books “in the field’ — namely, on nightstands, in backpacks, shared with children, or passed across the bar at last call. Rather than locking elegant editions away for safekeeping, Honey & Wax encourages readers to use books as bees use flowers, and “pollinate the world.”

Grow the revenue. Following years of experience in the rare-book trade, O’Donnell launched Honey & Wax with a small assortment of only 100 books. She increased revenue by steadily adding inventory — which now grows daily — and by featuring newly acquired or unusual items on the company website. O’Donnell says significant company revenue comes from helping readers build private collections. Her team members’ knowledge, dedication and relationships in the trade enable them to find specific books people want.  

Expand the market. Booklovers who are looking for special, readable gifts, but don’t know where to begin, now are invited to tell Honey & Wax about their gift recipients and gift-giving occasions. O’Donnell and her team respond with thoughtful, sometimes inspired, suggestions. The company also buys and consigns individual books within its field of interest, and advises people who wish to sell or donate larger libraries.

Insight/Hindsight. “When I decided to launch Honey & Wax Booksellers, I knew I had the necessary expertise in the rare-book trade. I also knew I did not have the necessary expertise in business finance. FastTrac’s introduction to financial worksheets and reports helped me map out realistic financial projections and write an action-oriented business plan. As a result, I have been able to quit my ‘day job,’ and focus solely on my own successful venture.”