ICBRKR EXTRAORDINAIRES: Meet Carly Stein, Standout Entrepreneur & Bee-Saving Advocate
Welcome to our ICBRKR Extraordinaires Series, where every two weeks, we highlight one extraordinary ICBRKR. Our community is our backbone, and we’re proud to be BRKing the mold with such a passionate and engaging group of people. ⚡️
It’s peak Tulum season, and our last local Extraordinaires spotlight before our ICBRKR Wellness Retreat on January 9th is with Carly Stein, Founder of Beekeeper’s Naturals. BKN combines plant-based superfoods with healing ingredients from the beehive to nourish your body and support your health, all inspired by a passionate mission to save the bees. In ICBRKR terms, Carly calls herself a Fitness Buddy and Music Lover, and her favorite song is “Friends” by Francis & The Lights. Find out more about Carly below, and catch some of Beekeeper’s Naturals products at ICBRKR’s Wellness Retreat in Tulum on January 9th!
Carly, congratulations on being in Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Class of 2019! We’d love to hear your story. What made you decide to switch from being a successful trader at Goldman Sachs to the beekeeper you are today?
Thank you so much! It’s been a pretty wild ride. I had what many would consider to be a “successful” life, living in NYC and working on the trading floor at Goldman Sachs. But I just couldn’t shake this feeling of dissatisfaction—it turns out, I was incredibly unhappy. So, I decided to leave my financially secure job at Goldman Sachs, against the advice of many of my friends and colleagues. It was a pretty shocking decision. But I knew I had to do something more meaningful with my life.
I first fell in love with bees when I apprenticed with a local beekeeper in college. They are so incredible! Through that apprenticeship, I began formulating some of my own natural wellness products with bee propolis using the chemistry lab at school—just for myself and some friends. Looking back, I was never happier than when I was developing those products and keeping bees, so when I left Goldman I decided to re-immerse myself in those things and see what happened.
I honestly never intended to start a business, but Beekeeper’s Naturals sort of grew out of this very organic place. In just a couple of years, this little start-up has flourished beyond what I ever imagined—delivering effective natural wellness solutions, promoting sustainable beekeeping, and supporting the cause to save the bees through education, community-building, research, and charity. Returning to the bees was the best decision of my life. I am grateful every single day.
It's certainly awesome to be able to run a successful business and save the environment at the same time. Tell us more about your mission to save the bees.
The bees are in serious trouble. Between climate change, loss of habitat, and rampant pesticide use, we are at risk of losing our pollinators—and a third of our global food supply along with them. When I started BKN, I didn’t want profits to be my bottom line. People told me that I couldn’t spare any money or resources to help the bees in the first couple of years—that turning a profit was the priority—but I knew I didn’t want to start a company unless it was doing good in the world.
So when it comes to sustainability, we are a bit obsessive at BKN. We take extensive precautions to make sure the bees in our small scale apiaries have vast access to clean habitats in which to forage. We regularly conduct third party pesticide testing to ensure our bees and products are free from potentially harmful chemicals. We’ve also partnered with some of the world’s leading bee research institutions to make sure we put our money where our mouth is when it comes to saving the bees. Supporting the bees and the environment is non-negotiable for us.
I know you are an amazing dancer. Is this how you de-stress? What other secrets do you have to relax?
Ha, well I don’t know about amazing, but thanks! I just can’t help letting myself groove into a good beat (and it’s definitely a great way to let loose) but I’d say meditation and beekeeping are my go-tos for real-deal de-stressing.
I make sure to meditate every single day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. It does wonders for my mindset and stress levels. Actually, it’s the same with beekeeping—it’s active mediation. You have to be very serene and in tune with the hive to not agitate the bees, which is profoundly calming. Spending time among the hives is absolutely my happy place.
(Fun fact: bees have some pretty sweet dance moves, too. They actually communicate with each other through these intricate dance moves known as waggle dancing!)
Really?! That’s amazing. Can you tell us what you love most about ICBRKR?
It’s incredible to be able to access this rich community of people—creatives, hustlers, and go-getters—where we can connect, network, and share experiences. Through ICBRKR, I am able to meet fascinating people I wouldn’t get the chance to meet otherwise. I can immerse myself in this really cool peer group and hear all sorts of different opinions and perspectives that inspire me, challenge my beliefs, and expand my way of thinking. It’s a really special thing.
Thank you!! Last, what is your guilty pleasure?
Oh, that’s a tough one. Generally, I try to avoid feeling guilty about indulging in the things I really enjoy. If I really want to enjoy something, then I will treat myself to a little bit. Everything in moderation, right? But, if I had to choose one of my favorite indulgences, it would be sweets.
I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but I have become conscious of avoiding the refined sugary junk. I totally prefer something like homemade raw chocolate made with wholesome natural sweeteners like our Superfood Cacao Honey. Of course even with natural sweeteners, like anyone, I can sometimes overdo it on the sweet stuff. But when the ingredients are clean, I never feel quite so bad. I believe it’s important to let yourself live and enjoy life, and switching to natural sweeteners has helped me do that without all of the guilt.
So true. Thank you inspiring us with your bold moves, Carly! We’re so happy to support Beekeeper’s Naturals at ICBRKR’s Wellness Retreat on January 9th. Our guests will get to enjoy your propolis throat spray to fight colds, and your bee pollen to boost their energy.
Use ICBRKR to connect with Carly and other extraordinaires in Tulum, and around the world. If you think you, or a fellow ICBRKR friend, make for the perfect feature, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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