Carly Stein is the founder and CEO of Beekeeper’s Naturals, a natural health product company developing innovative bee-made nutraceuticals designed to nourish and heal. Nutraceuticals are becoming increasingly popular, being sold on websites such as Zen Nutrients, they have a number of great benefits.
Carly is committed to using her company as a platform to raise awareness and funding for saving the bees while promoting sustainable, pesticide-free beekeeping.
Before founding Beekeeper’s Naturals, Carly worked as an Analyst at Goldman Sachs in their Securities division.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I actually didn’t start out with the intention of creating a company. I was simply looking for a natural solution to my immune issues. I have an autoimmune disorder and can’t tolerate antibiotics, so growing up I was always sick but couldn’t rely on traditional medicines. I tried every natural wellness product I could find, but nothing was that effective. They were all just a waste of money.
During my time studying abroad in Italy, I developed a particularly severe case of tonsillitis. A wonderful Italian pharmacist gave me some propolis, which was unfamiliar to me at the time. When the propolis actually cleared up my golf ball-sized tonsils within a matter of days, I knew I was dealing with something special.
But, when I got back home, I couldn’t find propolis anywhere. Having experienced its incredible healing benefits, I decided I had to find a way to share it with others. That’s how I got started beekeeping and fell in love with bees.
Soon after, I created my first propolis product for myself and some friends. Then more friends started asking about it. Then friends of friends wanted to try some. And the whole thing kind of snowballed from there! I thought, hey, I could actually build this business! And so I founded Beekeeper’s Naturals. It was all very organic.
Tell us about your business.
Beekeeper’s Naturals is a wellness company.
- We are a scrappy team of science-loving health nerds with a passion for the natural world, especially bees.
- We are obsessed with making wellness products that not only work but help people to feel their absolute best.
- We practice third-party pesticide testing and work hard to ensure each of our products is pure, natural, and just as nourishing as Mother Nature intended!
- And we never sacrifice the health of our bees for profits.
- We support our pollinators through sustainable beekeeping practices at every level of production.
- We started with just one product, our immune-supporting Propolis Throat Spray, and we now have an entire lineup of functional foods to help with everything from sleep, stress, brain fog, and low energy to staying healthy during cold and flu season.
It’s pretty incredible.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
We always have something special going on at the hive. We run giveaways on the regular because sharing our products and educating others about the hive superfoods is what we’re all about.
Our Instagram account always has tons of giveaways, and we do a lot of collaborations with other incredible wellness brands. We also share exclusive promos with our email list. If you want hot wellness tips, special deals, and more, check us out!
- Certified B Corporation Best for the World 2017 Honoree
As a Certified B Corporation, we’re serious in our commitment to making a difference in our environment. This award is given annually to the top 10% of Certified B Corporations who made outstanding efforts in improving the world around them.
The judging criteria was based on things like our environmental mission, transparency, ethics, community engagement, and accountability. We’re so proud to say that, even though we’re a small company, we’re making a real environmental difference in the long-term.
Where is your business based?
Originally we were based exclusively in Toronto, but now we’ve spread our team out a bit, so we straddle both Los Angeles and Toronto.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I didn’t take any conscious steps—it all kind of unfolded naturally. When I started creating my first formulations of propolis for myself, people were always coming up to me and asking me to make them some. There was this incredible demand for the natural immune support that actually worked.
So, the little homegrown business that I started in my college’s chemistry lab kept evolving and growing, and now I have this incredible, passionate team by my side and we’re making a real difference in people’s wellbeing!
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
We have a unique mission and an authentic story, so anytime we can share that—whether it’s through podcasts, features, or interviews like this—we find that people tend to share in our excitement and want to check us out.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
The natural wellness market is oversaturated, to say the least. It can be challenging for a little company like Beekeeper’s Naturals to compete with big wellness brands and their big marketing budgets, especially since we’ve created an entirely new category of product.
Not many people are familiar with the hive superfoods, so we’re focusing on educating our consumers on a more personal, individual level rather than through mass marketing.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Our secret weapon is our products. They pretty much speak for themselves. Not only are our products high-quality, but they work very well, which is a big plus!
We make our products using minimal processing and no additives, so they even work for a broad category of people, from gluten-free to autoimmune to paleo, which can be hard to come by in the wellness marketplace.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I always do something for myself every day. When life becomes suddenly hectic, that little bit of me-time keeps me balanced, grounded, and self-aware.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
At Beekeeper’s Naturals, we believe in what we do. We are passionate and so truly excited about the health applications of bee products, which really makes us stand out from our competitors.
We work tirelessly to make sure our bees are always well cared for so that they can continue producing the amazing superfoods we use to create our products. We believe we can truly make an impact, not only on people’s health but on the wellness of our planet’s pollinators.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
You get what you’re seeking when your faith outweighs your fears.
Startups are turbulent. Things rapidly change, fires need to be put out, and you have to be ready to roll with it. Having faith in your original idea, and in your ability to execute that idea, will allow everything to fall into place.
It’s impossible to create something new and amazing if you don’t have complete faith in yourself. Sure, we all have that nagging negative voice in the back of our heads, but ignore it. Know that if you believe in yourself, you can actually do anything.
Try taking your ego out of the picture and focus on how your idea will make an impact. Have faith in your ideas… and in your ability to execute them.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Don’t spend too much time looking around. Of course, you need to be aware of the competitive landscape, but there’s a difference between comparison and observation.
One is more emotional and distracting, while the other allows you to observe objectively and learn from others. Don’t allow yourself to get intimidated—it doesn’t help anyone.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
I love Slack! Many of our team members work remotely, so having the right organizational tools allows everything to flow. When managing a remote team, it’s super important to build an organized infrastructure around communication.
The Slack platform has allowed my entire team to more effectively and efficiently communicate without getting burdened with a million little messages in their email inboxes. It’s great!
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
Right now I’m reading a lot on management principles and consumer insights. Generally, though, since I am always on the go, I’m digging into podcasts.
My favorites are;
- Stanford’s “Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders”
- Seth Godin’s podcast “Startup School”
- NPR’s “How I Built This”
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
We are growing quickly, so my job is constantly changing. I am learning and re-learning how to be flexible and help support my team in an ever-changing environment. We are always looking for help and support in sharing our story.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
As cold and flu season hits, it becomes one of our biggest times of the year for propolis. Entering the season with all our ducks in a row is key.
We will also be launching an exciting new product in the fall, so getting everything ready for a successful launch is mostly what I am spending my time on right now.
Year-round, our goals are focused on sharing our products and teaching others about the wonders of the hive superfoods. We share amazing content on our Instagram, newsletter, and blog, and we are always working on building our email list.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Hashtags #savethebees #bkn #beegan