The Honey in the HIVE
Andrea Beims can’t help but laugh when she reflects on her bustling Wedgewood home with its five homeschooled children and her tech-savvy husband, Matt. Her childhood life plan was to live a secluded life as a missionary in Africa, she told me. The founder of HIVEHome (a lifestyle brand that encompasses several mediums) told me that life has taught her how to become more in tune with God’s plan rather than trying to control every aspect of her life.
The small business owner and busy mother joked that the number one question she is asked is: How do you balance charitable work, event organizing, building a lifestyle brand, and being a fulltime mom?
If the blog is full of content, there’s probably a pile of dirty laundry waiting to be done, she tells her friends. “If the laundry is done, then I’m probably behind on work.”
In other words, being a working mother means shifting priorities between work and family life. HIVEHome has grown into an ambitious brand that provides healthy living tips (with easy-to-prepare original recipes), personal blog stories, design tips, and other forms of content that are designed to help people lead a purpose-filled and harmonious life.
One might assume that growing up in the tiny Panhandle town of Dumas, Texas, would come with more limitations than opportunities. Andrea sees those formative years as anything but a setback.
“I was always around very strong women,” she said. “I learned from them and took in the different aspects of them. Every part of my upbringing and community cultivated an independent spirit that has served me well in life.”
Andrea recalls often being in the company of adult relatives and relying on her creative nature to fill her time. Much of her past-time play is potentially foreshadowing of her future self. “Sometimes I was the only kid around, and I would create restaurants or pretend businesses that my family members would humor me and purchase from.”
Andrea met her husband Matt in college where they both majored in vocal performance. After several moves, the Beims settled in Fort Worth five years ago.
Throughout the moves, small businesses have come and gone under the umbrella of Hive Creative, Andrea’s catch-all business entity.
The couple was already contemplating combining their varied skills — Andrea describes her thought process as poetic while her husband is more technical — through some project when Andrea met photographer Jessica Collins at a women’s retreat in 2016.
“Everything is out in the open” at those types of events, Collins said. “That was a very quick way for us to become fast friends. She nurtured the creative side in me.”
Soon after, Andrea asked her new friend to do an outdoor photo shoot of the Beims family in Glen Rose. Visuals are an important storytelling device for HIVEHome. Collins, who now serves as HIVEHome’s creative visual director, has a gift for capturing Andrea’s kiddos in their natural states — goofy glances and all. Whether through Instagram or blog posts, HIVEHome tells unprompted stories of family life.
Healthy living is a cornerstone of HIVEHome, and the reason has nothing to do with the general popularity of diet fads. Seven years ago, and only months after giving birth to her fifth child, Micaiah, Andrea was stricken with chronic pain and a slew of diagnoses that included rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, and Hashimoto’s disease. She was also told by doctors that she was on the spectrum for muscular dystrophy and lupus.
Andrea turned to prayer and countless hours of research that led her to realize that her diet was impeding her ability to absorb nutrition.
“I asked the Lord why He was allowing this in my life,” Andrea recalled. After methodically cutting out certain nutrients and foods, the mother of five has learned to stay away from processed foods in general. Now recovered, she largely avoids sugar. Grains are strictly verboten. Andrea said she sees meaning behind that painful chapter.
“I am able to share the wisdom of what it is like to walk through pain,” she said. “The same stories that I have to tell are true of the spiritual pain and emotional pain that we can endure through hard times.”
In addition to health and wellness stores, HIVEHome’s blogs offer a wealth of fun family and neighborhood project ideas. One recent post, How + Why to Host a Rainbow Day in Your Own Way, grew out of a spontaneous desire to throw a fun event for the neighborhood.
The concept for Rainbow Day was, “I want to love on my neighbors,” Andrea said. Rainbows represent hope, and “hope is the basis of a lot of what we do.”
The event staggered visitors so social distancing guidelines could be followed. The Beims family created a balloon rainbow that doubled as a photo backdrop. Handcrafted invitations were left hanging on neighborhood door handles the week before the event. On Rainbow Day, families were given goody bags that included gift cards to local businesses — supporting local businesses was one goal of the event — and families were encouraged to have a picnic on their front lawn that evening.
“Everyone in the neighborhood appreciated the event,” Matthew said. “You could talk to neighbors from the street. We had music playing outdoors.”
Andrea said several families, neighborhoods, and one church have subsequently picked up the idea, which first started in the United Kingdom as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ongoing pandemic has resulted in a sharp uptick of website traffic as homebound families look for resources on how to navigate homeschooling.
HIVEHome never sought to be a homeschool resource, Andrea said, but the topic has been a steady aspect of the brand given the staff’s vast homeschooling experience. Content director and homeschooling mom Andrea Haney said the COVID-19 shelter-at-home orders didn’t disrupt her children’s education.
“There were times when I feel like my kids are invading my space,” she said with a laugh. “For us, it’s our normal. We made that adjustment a while ago. There are days when you are moving and grooving, and everyone is doing great. Then, there are days when nothing is going to happen. You have to have grace.”
HIVEHome has grown in tandem with the team of women (“the honeys in the hive” as Beims calls them) who find fellowship through each other and their growing online following. While her younger, mission-bound self may have thought otherwise, having five children didn’t mean the end to enjoying adventures. Andrea and her husband have found that adventures are more enjoyable once you have found your hive.
“Family is the foundation of who we are,” Andrea said. “I hope that what we are making is something that other families can take and run with. Whatever we do comes from an authentic place.”
Edward Brown is a writing tutor and piano teacher. He is also an award-winning writer for the Fort Worth Weekly and volunteers for numerous Fort Worth nonprofits. He has spent the last two weeks walking and talking with the protesters in Fort Worth.