Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is beekeeper and natural health product advocate Carly Stein, who’s turned two of her biggest passions into a fulfilling career as the Founder of Beekeeper’s Naturals. We caught up with her to find out what inspires her work and how she would define success…
1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I make innovative all natural health products with bee-made ingredients. I’m all about solving health problems with natural alternatives and saving the bees!
2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
My inspiration for creating Beekeeper’s Naturals came about in a very natural way. I wasn’t looking to start a company or searching for the next superfood – I was studying abroad, and burning the candle at both ends a little too often. As a result I would get run down and my immunity would be compromised. Like a lot of people, I was always looking for some magical health elixir but ended up wasting a lot of money on over-the-counter synthetic immune boosting products that didn’t work. Finding propolis (a safe and natural alternative to your typical cherry-flavoured medicine) was a lifesaver and drastically improved my health. Learning about the benefits of bee products sparked a curiosity in bees and our longstanding history with them.
3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
I still get excited every time we get a new order from a store or individual. I appreciate the small victories along the way and I think that’s the mentality you need to adopt as an entrepreneur. We are just over a year old and looking back at the past year, it’s pretty amazing that our product and company have grown to be featured in over 350 stores across Canada and our awareness initiatives have inspired people around the world. It has been a lot of work but we still get excited by the small things and that continually pushes us.
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
Continuing to build Beekeeper’s Naturals and taking it to the next level. We want to be a reputable brand that people trust and turn to to stay healthy and improve their performance. We will have a diverse complement of natural health products and will hopefully have generated increased awareness of bees and significantly reduced (if not eliminated) the negative factors harming the bees.
As much as I love business, I would go crazy if I couldn’t find time for some of my other passions like surfing, rock climbing and yoga, and I hope to continue enjoying those activities.
5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Turn your barriers into resources. Nothing feels better than doing the “impossible.” I don’t think there is anything you can buy or any place you can go that will give you the lasting confidence that overcoming your obstacles does. If you have an idea or goals to accomplish just go for it because there will really only be two outcomes: you’ll fail and learn something important or you’ll succeed and create something amazing.
6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
I was fortunate to learn about the importance of philanthropy as a young intern for the Clinton Foundation. From day one, Beekeeper’s Naturals has been a company with a cause. After learning about what’s happening to the bees the and critical role they play in our food supply and environment, I couldn’t continue this journey without making supporting the bees one of our core missions.
We have partnered with the Canadian Bee Research Fund (which funds various research projects on diverse topics every year such as examining the sub-lethal effects of neonicotinoid pesticides and the control of viruses) and have built an online platform to share relevant information with other beekeepers, bee activists, or anyone looking to learn more about the bees. We work hard to educate everyone through articles, seminars and local workshops and campaigns.
The bees are central to our environment and responsible for every third bite of food that we take, so I feel it’s our responsibility to support this cause and use our voice to create change.
Aside from the bees, I sit on the Leadership Council for of Capitalize for Kids, an amazing charity that works to bridge the worlds of finance and philanthropy and supports the Sick Kids Center for Brain and Mental Health, and I also volunteer with Rethink Breast Cancer – two causes that are near and dear to my heart.
7. What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge for me was taking the plunge to create a company. I think that the start is where you find the most resistance. After that, you’ve put yourself in a situation where you have no choice but to figure things out. There were many reasons (excuses) to shelve my vision for Beekeeper’s Naturals, but once you move past your own excuses, you realize that if you put in the time there is nothing you can’t learn. Every fear I overcome, the more capable I feel, and as I continue to grow professionally I almost welcome and look forward to the moments of self doubt. All you have to do is go for it to realize that on the other side of fear lies freedom.
8. What does the word notable mean to you?
To me notable means that you have something to share that could help, guide or inspire other people.
1. Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
As a beekeeper, I’m big into the farm to table movement. I love Farmhouse Tavern, Harvest Wagon, Live, and any restaurant that supports local growers and organic produce.
2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
Wall Street Journal but I also spend a lot of time on PubMed and Cochrane.org. I need to stay on top of new research and trends in the health world and am constantly researching the efficacy of different natural products. With all the conflicting health information coming at you these days I think its important for each individual to do their homework and make informed decisions. Cochrane makes this easy and has a policy to not accept commercial funding, making them a great resource for unbiased heath info.
I love “The Weight” by The Band so that’s always near the top of my most played list.
3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
@everchanginghhorizons is a must! The photos are beautiful and the captions are very honest and inspiring. You get to see a person’s journey as they let go of the traditional 9-5 way of life and chase crazy adventures. For me it’s a great reminder to do what you want to do and choose how you spend your time wisely.
4. What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
I just got back from Costa Rica. I’m in love with that country and the “pura vida” lifestyle they have. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming. I’m pretty type A, so going to a place where people really take time to appreciate every moment helps to put you in the present (something I experience while beekeeping). I also love the outdoors, surfing, hiking and rock climbing, so spending the week outside doing my favourite things was awesome.
I’m travelling to British Columbia in May. It’s not a new country or place but I think it’s one of the most beautiful parts of Canada. Between the mountains and the ocean, B.C. is pretty close to paradise.
5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
When my friends are travelling and I’m working.
6. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
I have a terrible sweet tooth. Luckily I have been able to replicate many of my favourite dessert recipes by swapping sugar for raw honey. Unlimited honey is a big bonus of being a beekeeper!
7. What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
I spend way too much money on workout classes and physical activities. Even with things like Class Pass, I’m constantly finding new, awesome activities that I get really into. My latest obsessions are The Underground Dance Centre and Pursuit OCR. I think I’m trying to quench my thirst for hiking, snowboarding, surfing and my other favourite outdoor things by filling my free time with fun classes. It’s a great time but it adds up.
8. And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Success for me is having impact. I hope to create a company that has impact in terms of helping others lead a healthier lifestyle and cultivating awareness for our environment. I think it’s really easy to get caught up in different definitions of success, but at the end of the day success should be doing something that has a positive impact.