[Atlanta, Georgia] Atlanta based human resources management company, HIVE Talent Acquisition Firm, is launching an initiative to support minority-owned small businesses in Fulton County and the Atlanta Metro area. The program, a for-profit business venture called HoneyDrips! Merchandise, provides community partners with the support and infrastructure to sell branded tee shirts with no upfront costs.

The tee shirts are co-branded with the HoneyDrips! logo and the partner logo. The mission of this new venture is to provide a direct cash infusion into minority-owned small businesses. Profits are split 50/50 between the small business partner and HoneyDrips! Merchandise. The Atlanta Voice’s Digital Producer, Jeremiah Long, interviewed the owners, Veronica Jenkins and Dana Neiger, remotely to get all the details. (Interview edited for clarity)

Atlanta Voice: What is HIVE?

Veronica Jenkins: HIVE is a women-owned, minority-owned human resources solutions firm. We call ourselves a talent acquisition firm because we are so much more than a staffing agency. We fully support our clients with everything Human Resources related outside of payroll processing. If a client comes to us with questions about HR, then we are their people and we walk them through every step of the process related to strategic hiring as well as implementation for policies and procedures directly related to human resources.

AV: How long have you been in operation?

VJ: We have been in operation for two years, three years as of November [2020].

AV: How has your mission changed due to Covid-19 and the social justice movement of 2020?

Dana Neiger: We definitely had to pivot, as so many small businesses have, here in Atlanta and around the world. Recruiting took a huge dive, we have pivoted to the point where our human resource consulting and intern [placement] program are the largest parts of our revenue stream at this time. More so we are realizing that there is a need for this kind of consulting out there. People don’t know what they don’t know from the small to medium size business perspective what it means for the employee, let alone the company, whether you should furlough, layoff, or fire somebody during the pandemic and lack of incoming revenue. Holding onto funds is one example. Also the resources associated with taxes and financial advisement. We have tried really hard to help our clients and new clients to understand we have the resources and are capable not just in the Human Resources consulting and recruiting side but also extending from that as well.

AV: How has your business structure changed, including the ownership of your business?

VJ: As a result of Covid-19 and the changes in our society as a whole, we made the conscientious decision to “walk the walk” and create a structure within our [business] to modify our ownership. I am now 51% owner, which sets us up to be a DBE (Disadvantaged Business Entity) by the government. That opens us up as a contractor to apply for and submit for proposals that are set aside directly for those DBEs.

DN: Since we are “walking that talk” so to speak, we will be able to walk our clients through those processes and make them as understandable as possible for them.

AV: What types of diversity and inclusion initiatives are you working on, and how does it relate to large corporations and small businesses you work within the community?

DN: …Without inclusion practices in place, you can’t have diversity represented equally throughout all levels of the company. We do a lot of education, program writing and implementation, participate in panels, share our experiences…and bring a well-rounded viewpoint to inclusion and diversity clients and potential clients. Also while we were working in that space we felt the need to really do something to assist our local business owners here in the Atlanta market. We are here in Atlanta and we have a first-hand view of how the pandemic has affected Black-owned businesses specifically. So we created something [HoneyDrips! Merchandise] that gives back to our community first.

AV: How did you come up with HoneyDrips! Merchandise? What is this program?

VJ: HoneyDrips! Merchandise is a very intentional merchandise program that Dana, the team, and I created to intentionally inject a revenue stream into Black-owned businesses in the Atlanta area, for now, with the goal of growing outside of the Atlanta Metro area. The point being to advocate for these businesses and not only give them a boost of financial support, that is not a loan, but also once they get back on their feet to continue to grow then we can provide them with Human Resources support if they need us in the future.

AV: Tell us about the HoneyDrips! Logo tee shirt.

VJ: We created our Partnership Logo where by small businesses input their logo in the Partner Logo design and on the back the tee shirt has the #SupportBlackOwned hashtag in partnership with HIVE Talent Acquisition Firm. [Partners have] their own link to a website where you can promote your tee shirt sales. 50% of the profit from your sales goes directly to you for your business.

DN: In this call to action, we are not are trying to help ourselves. We were founded here in Atlanta and we are also Black-owned. Atlanta has a significant amount of Black entrepreneurship. The numbers show that the pandemic is directly negatively affecting Black business owners around the world, specifically Black, female-owned business owners. Being a Black, female-owned business, we know that you have to go to the source and the source needs money. This is the foundation of Atlanta business, which is why we are doing this.

AV: When does HoneyDrips! Merchandise launch and how can people get involved?

VJ: We launched Friday, Sept 4th with our website https://honeydripsmerch.com/ and we have our Instagram (@ShopHoneyDrips) account up and running. We have partners for the launch that you can discover through our social media page. We also have promotional material that will launch via our Linkedin, other social media, and HIVE website.

AV: What is the ultimate vision for how HoneyDrips! and HIVE relate to each other?

VJ: Our ultimate vision is to help Black owned businesses get back on their feet. Both Dana and myself have spoken with business owners that have been affected by the pandemic. It was heartbreaking for us to drive around Atlanta and see a neighborhood restaurant closed and not be able to patronize their business, or to speak with a small business owner that has had to go back to driving Uber or delivering pizza to make ends meet. That was something that was devastating for us to see as business owners. We know how it is to be in that situation. Our ultimate goal is to help these businesses get back on their feet without being indebted to anyone else. We want them to take this as a stimulus for their company and not be in a position where they have to put their credit on the line or go all over the city begging them to inject revenue into their business. This is something we can do to help them. We want to develop this relationship with them so whatever they need, even if it is not human resources related, we have people in our network that we trust to help them and help their business thrive in the future.

DN: I’d like to add that there is no money up front required to be involved and partner with the HoneyDrips! Merchandise program for the Black or Brown business owner. If you have a retail store front, you can buy physical inventory to display and sell, but that would be the only overhead. You’d need to order tee shirts in advance, but that is it. If you are non-retail space or have a space online you can sell immediately, or it would be an honor for you to pass this offer on through your social media or directly. There might be another business owner who is suffering that may want to utilize our program. Thank you so much!

AV: How can you be reached?

VJ: Email us at veronica@HIVEtaf.com or contact my business cell 404-709-6131. Also reach out to us on Instagram @ShopHoneyDrips. We will be available to answer questions 24/7. 

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