As a full-time businessman, part-time student and a man of religion, Ahmed Bibi has achieved his dream: benefiting the community while also making a profit.
Bibi is a third-year marketing major, devout Muslim and business owner of Sheefa Honey, a company he started after his father brought home a jar of honey from a local beekeeper.
Oblivious to the healing properties of raw honey upon first experience, Bibi quickly realized the potential impact he could have bottling and selling honey jars.
“I met this beekeeper and he introduced me to a basic understanding of how beekeeping goes, the production of honey, and that got me very intrigued,” Bibi said.
Bibi has always had a desire to own a business, but did not initially know what he wanted to produce. His goal has always been to improve his customers’ lives.
“The more I did my research on it, the more I fell in love with it,” Bibi said. “It was a very mesmerizing first-time experience and it started to make me think in terms of business.”
While many companies subject their honey to high temperatures in order to make it flow smoother and aim to maximize profits, Bibi produces raw honey for the natural benefits it provides.
Raw honey contains natural chemicals useful for treating coughs, colds, muscle spasms and insomnia, according to Sheefa Honey’s website. Although more difficult to bottle, raw honey embodies Bibi’s entrepreneurial goals.
“I want to make money, but I want to do something where, at the same time, it’s a benefit for the person who is purchasing this thing from me,” Bibi said.
Bibi has been described as a vocal and eager student. He developed a close relationship with Samuel Broyles, an associate professor of marketing, as the two would often discuss his honey business.
“I bought a jar online and it was like, ‘Damn, this is good honey!’” Broyles said.
Broyles has acted as an adviser for Bibi on business decisions, such as the division of labor and the design of the honey jar label. Working solely with the help of his family, Bibi contacts local beekeepers, bottles the honey and advertises his product.
While Bibi and Broyles have a close relationship, Bibi shared he had regrettably failed Broyles’ final project and class, but learned from this experience.
“Pay attention to detail because it will cost you, and so I think that definitely was a valuable lesson,” Bibi said.
Despite the grade, Broyles said he is one of Bibi’s most passionate supporters. Broyles said he admires Bibi’s resolve, which is represented by his decision to retake the course and pass with a different professor.
“He is just pure integrity, honesty and (has) willingness to work his butt off to do whatever it takes to succeed, and I value those characteristics,” Broyles said.
Aside from his business and studies, Bibi is a devout Muslim who is involved in CSUF’s Muslim Student Association. Bibi views the association as an area to boost spirituality and religiosity, two qualities he deemed essential.
“Students go through all types of social pressures and family pressure and trying to cope with all the work … you need a moment to take a break and have that spiritual reconnection,” Bibi said.
Bibi’s dedication to Islam is his highest priority, as he said it brings purpose and meaning into his life, providing the foundation for most of his decisions.
“The most important things to me are definitely my faith in God and my religion, which is Islam, of course, and the noble messengers that God has sent for our guidance,” Bibi said.
Along with work, school and clubs, he managed to start a successful company that has been a mainstay at the ASI Farmer’s Markets for the past few years. In addition to this success, Bibi’s company has produced 10 different flavors of honey. But no matter the success or failure of his company, Bibi continues to work for the benefit of the community.
“The two promises with every jar of Sheefa Honey is that it’s 100 percent raw honey local from California,” Bibi said.