Women Who Lead

Why I Traded Goldman Sachs to Build a Wellness Brand Powered by Bees

Bee

Carly Stein is the founder and CEO of Beekeeper’s Naturals, a health company on a mission to reinvent the medicine cabinet with hive-powered, natural remedies that are clean and science-backed—and she’s committed to saving the bees while she’s at it.  

People often ask me, “How did you know you’d be a good entrepreneur?” 

I never know how to answer this question. The truth is, I didn’t know. Not even in my wildest dreams would I have guessed that I would someday run a multimillion dollar startup that is reinventing the medicine cabinet.     

I do not think you need to have exceptional intelligence, talent, or some special sauce. I certainly don’t. To me, what matters most is how you grow and evolve in the face of challenges—and failures. It’s all about your passion, grit, and perseverance.                       

How I Learned to Listen to My Gut… and Bees           

I didn’t start out on an entrepreneurial track. When I graduated university and moved to New York City, I was recruited to work as an analyst on the trading floor at Goldman Sachs. My friends and family were thrilled at my apparent success.  

Working on the trading floor is cutthroat and I quickly got swept up into the nonstop hustle mindset, going above and beyond to prove myself. I worked long, hard hours—burning the candle at both ends became the norm. 

But one morning, I woke up and realized that I was dreading the day ahead. The next day I noticed the same nagging feeling. After a few months of this, when it became clear that the feeling just wasn’t going away, I knew my gut was trying to tell me something: that I was deeply unhappy.         

I got out a journal and a pen and decided to get real with myself. I felt miserable at work, but what else could I do? I knew I wouldn’t be happy unless I felt like I was making a real difference in the world—so that was my starting place. I made a list of all the things I could think of that brought me joy. That’s how I came back around to this little side hustle I indulged in at school—back when I spent hours at the beehives, and then happily spent all my additional free time in the lab formulating immune support (and other clean remedies) out of freshly harvested products from the bees (like propolis and royal jelly). It was a radical, niche idea that seemed too implausible to be real…        

 

The Leap of Faith that Guided a Career Change    

It was so scary, but I stepped (way) out of my comfort zone, gave my notice at Goldman Sachs, and dove fully into my once-abandoned passion project.             

The fallout from that decision was intense. My friends and colleagues thought I had lost it—and they reminded me constantly. A few friends even held an intervention to try to stop me from throwing my life away—and I don’t blame them. Leave a lucrative, stable career to go start… a  wellness company Powered by bees?! Although I had my fears, I knew that bringing Beekeeper’s Naturals to life was what I had to do.        

Bee                           

Lean into What Brings You Joy (Even in the Face of Doubt)  

I invested all of my savings into this far fetched idea, but that first year was the furthest thing from a fairytale. To paint the picture, I had to resort to crashing on my friend’s couch for six months because I couldn’t afford rent.               

During those tough times, all I could do was trust that my gut would lead me in the right direction. I took what I learned on the trading floor and hustled. I talked to anyone and everyone about my products and the powers of the beehive. 

Although the road was littered with obstacles, struggles and failures, I kept pushing forward and followed my inner compass.

After about 6 months of fully committed hustling, I started gaining traction. I officially founded Beekeeper’s Naturals in 2017 with a mission to help people support their everyday health without sacrificing their values. Since then, the company has grown to seven figures and my team has exploded to 30+ strong.              

Humbly, here is what I’ve learned: failures are not the end of the world.

They are a tool for growth and an opportunity to build your resilience muscle. You are stronger than you think. When things get tough, do what it takes to persevere—and remember to always, always listen to your gut. The best thing you can do in life is follow your passions relentlessly, no matter how unrealistic they sound. The world needs more wild ideas.