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Meet Carly Stein of Beekeeper’s Naturals

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carly Stein.

Carly, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
It’s been a wild ride! As a college student, I struggled with a weak immune system and recurring tonsillitis. On my semester abroad in Europe, it got particularly bad. I am allergic to most antibiotics so, without a cure in sight, I was on the cusp of cutting my trip short and flying home for surgery.

Desperate for a natural cure, I was given a bottle of bee propolis by an Italian pharmacist. I really had no idea what it was, and I was incredibly skeptical, especially after years of buying into the latest and greatest superfood fads only to wind up disappointed by a lack of results. But, desperate to solve my health problem, I gave it a shot.

After one week of propolis, I was amazed that something finally worked! I was able to fully recuperate and complete my time in Europe feeling healthier than ever. That’s when I realized that this bee stuff was magic. When I returned home, I couldn’t find propolis anywhere, so I began apprenticing with a local beekeeper to ensure I never had to go propolis-free again (years of strep, tonsillitis, and a weak immune system will do that to you).

Once I started spending time around hives, I became hooked on how incredible bees are and began learning about how crucial they are to our environment—along with the huge struggles they’re facing. Around that same time, I began formulating some of my own natural immune support products with propolis using the chemistry lab at school—just for myself and some friends.

I got a lot of positive feedback, and it was a pretty successful side hustle, but upon graduation, I left my passion project behind and moved on to get a stable job in New York, where I eventually found myself working on the trading floor at Goldman Sachs. At that point, I had what many would consider to be a “successful” life, but I just couldn’t shake this feeling of dissatisfaction. I was deeply unhappy.

So, I decided to leave my financially secure job, against the advice of many of my friends and colleagues. It was a pretty shocking decision for everyone, including myself. But I knew I had to do something more meaningful with my life. And the only things I was truly passionate about was formulating wellness products and the bees. And so, Beekeeper’s Naturals was born.

I honestly never intended to start a business, but it all sort of grew out of this very organic place. In just a few years, this little start-up has flourished beyond what I ever imagined. I was even recognized as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneurs for 2019—it’s unreal!

Has it been a smooth road?
Let’s face it, no road worth taking will ever be totally smooth. But, no matter what, you are the constant. How you respond to challenges gives you the ability to choose the road you drive down and navigate your experience on it, no matter how bumpy.

Looking back, every step of my journey had a purpose—and I’m incredibly grateful for each part of it—but it definitely wasn’t smooth. When I was working at Goldman Sachs, I felt stuck. My life was so successful and stable on paper, but I didn’t feel fulfilled in what I was doing. I had this crazy dream of building a bee-based wellness company, but my friends, family, and colleagues all discouraged me from pursuing it.

The idea was so niche and unusual, almost everyone believed it would fail. I had to draw on my inner strength and build up my own confidence, in spite of the obvious lack of confidence surrounding me. I did my best to let go of others’ opinions and dug deep into my heart. I knew this was the right decision for me, but the fear of failure (both my own and projected by others) was almost paralyzing.

The next step was really uncomfortable and scary—I committed. I left my lucrative trading job and invested all my savings into my new company. I couldn’t even pay rent at first and had to sleep on my best friend’s couch in New York for six months. I had no idea if I was doing the right things, but I just kept my head down and worked my ass off. I limited my time with the naysayers and doubters and just focused my time on the company.

Starting a company wasn’t just a lot of work—it required a lot of introspective self-work, too. I really grew my grit during this time. It was tough to let go of the instant credibility that came with telling people I worked at Goldman Sachs. Instead, when I told people about my company, they thought it was cute or funny (or even fake) because it’s so different.

It took a long time for me to become confident enough not to wince when someone laughed out loud at a Manhattan dinner party when I told them I run a bee product company. (Yes, that actually happened.) But I quickly realized that they thought it was funny or fake because they didn’t understand it—they didn’t have some precedent to compare it to. And I saw that as an opportunity.

There was a hole in the market, and that’s where Beekeeper’s Naturals was able to grow and thrive. I am so grateful for having gone through these challenges. I definitely wouldn’t be the same person without having experienced them. They allowed me to gain control over my thoughts and allow my inner confidence to drive my passions.

I still experience challenges in the business, but now they feel a lot smoother and easier to manage, already having mastered the mental and physical challenges that came before. Once you rise up to a challenge, you have all the ingredients to overcome whatever bumps may lie ahead.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Beekeeper’s Naturals story. Tell us more about the business.
Love to! Beekeeper’s Naturals is a natural wellness company developing one-of-a-kind healing remedies out of plant-based ingredients and hive superfoods—like royal jelly, propolis, and bee pollen. Our goal is to provide effective, all-natural solutions to everyday modern health issues—while raising awareness and supporting the bees.

If you haven’t heard much about bee products beyond those little supermarket honey bears, here’s a quick intro. Hives are like nature’s pharmacies! Royal jelly, the sole food of the queen bee, contains a unique spectrum of nutrients that support brain function, hormonal balance, and skin health.

We use this in B.LXR, our productivity-enhancing natural nootropic. Propolis, as I’ve mentioned, is antioxidant-rich and a powerful germ-fighter that supports immunity and powers our entire natural immune support lineup. Bee pollen is nature’s multivitamin, rich in proteins and amino acids.

And raw honey is rich in nutrients and beneficial enzymes that support healing while locking in moisture. All of these hive superfoods are in our one-of-a-kind B.Powered Superfood Honey, which is deeply nourishing, restorative, and energizing, but also makes a killer face mask for clarifying the skin!

Anyways, back to the company. When it comes to sustainability at Beekeeper’s Naturals, we are a bit obsessive. We take extensive precautions to make sure the bees in our small scale apiaries have more than enough access to clean habitats in which to forage. We regularly conduct third-party pesticide testing to ensure there are absolutely no nasty chemicals in our hives or our products.

We’ve also partnered with some of the world’s leading bee research institutions to better support our pollinators and increase awareness. Supporting the bees and the environment is non-negotiable for us. We never sacrifice bee health and do everything we can to make sure that we are delivering the most potent, effective, bioavailable natural wellness solutions possible. After all, our mission is to improve the health of humans and bees alike.

With all of that, it’s tough to say what I am most proud of as a brand. We’ve had a number of successful product launches, have done incredible things to cultivate a greater awareness about the plight of the bees, and have successfully introduced clean and effective natural wellness solutions to a broader audience (our Propolis Spray is actually listed in the top cold and flu bestsellers on Amazon!).

But, overall, I’d have to say that I am most proud of my incredible team. I have been so fortunate to find this incredibly talented group of people who care deeply about our customers, our products, our mission, and our social impact. None of this would be possible without their passion, creativity, hustle, and enthusiasm.

Their energy and good vibes are what keep me fueled to keep working hard and sharing our mission. Together, we really are like a hive, with all these amazing, dedicated people working together towards a collective goal.

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