Due to home-quarantine, we are seeing positive changes regarding the environment and the climate. So, this pandemic showed us that our Earth can be healed.
The pandemic showed us that we don’t need many things to live. Simple is easier and better, and less is more!
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place.
As a part of our series about how busy women leaders are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Asli Tanugur Samanci, CEO and Founder of BEE & YOU, an innovative provider of natural BEE products.
A food scientist committed to creating natural and healthy products for the educated consumer, Dr. Samanci is a pioneer to combine science and nature for safer, more effective natural bee products. She created a business modal to contract the beekeepers to prevent bees from becoming extinct. This also allowed her to create and patent the Propolis in its healthiest, most natural and safe form. Her ultimate goal is to make Propolis a consistent product harvested from all the beehives available in the world and introduce the natural healing power of Anatolian Propolis to the world.
BEE & YOU products (Royal Jelly, Propolis, Pure Raw Honey) are antiviral, antibacterial and they are natural energy boosters. They are effective in fighting allergy symptoms naturally and they support the immune system. They are 100% natural; Gluten Free; Non-GMO; Pesticide Free; Free from additives & colorants & preservatives. Bee and you products have innovative taste options for kids and adults. And they are on sale at 3000 CVS stores nationally and at Amazon.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
I graduated from Istanbul Technical University, Food Engineering Department. I worked for many years as the R&D and quality director at one of the leading companies of the honey products industry. Thus, throughout my professional career I’ve been both the creator and the leader of numerous research initiatives and projects related to honey products.
During that period, I was struggling with my 5-year-old son who got hospitalized due to high fever every few months and because I had given him antibiotics each time this happened, he had developed allergies. The doctor eventually told me that the only cure was to improve my son’s immune system. As I started looking for natural ways of doing that, I came across propolis and royal jelly in numerous articles. Royal jelly is extremely rich in proteins, carbohydrates, oils and vitamins. Propolis is a natural bee product that bees gather from plant stems, leaves and buds. It has powerful anti-bacterial and antioxidant effects. Bees use it to kill germs inside the hive and to keep the bee colony healthy. And I was planning to use both royal jelly and propolis to save my child.
So first, I had to access propolis. Because I had been in the honey industry for many years, I instantly contacted some honey producers I had already known and I asked them to produce royal jelly — which they had not produced before — and propolis — which they previously scraped off the hive and threw away.
After I started giving royal jelly and propolis to my son, the result I saw was amazing. My son did not get sick for months.
After that, I knew my story with propolis and other bee products had just began…
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?
For me, the most interesting thing that happened since we started our company is how fast we got known internationally and how fast we grew! However, it is something that makes us tremendously happy and keeps us motivated to produce and create new innovative products.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We are working on a project that will give economic independence to hard-working women of Anatolia even if they don’t live in big cities. With our project, we aim to have more female beekeepers under our Contracted Beekeeping Model. To explain what that is; it is a model that guarantees the quality of all our products. This model was launched for the first time in Turkey by our company, and it allows us to make contract directly with the beekeepers and check and assure that the products are processed with the correct practices. In addition, the naturalness of our products and their suitability for food safety are verified by analysis and then delivered to our consumers. A three-stage quality checking system is implemented in our company. Before we purchase the raw materials, samples are sent to our company by our contracted beekeepers and analysis is carried out at this stage for the first time. As a result of the analysis, the raw materials of the samples which are approved by our quality control laboratory, are delivered to our company. At this stage, where the second analysis is made, samples are taken from all raw materials and quality control analyzes are repeated. The raw materials that are compatible with the preliminary sample of analysis results are approved by our quality control laboratory and approved for entry into production. All of our manufactured products are approved to leave the company after the third and last quality control tests.
Aside from the quality process of our model, it has many advantages for beekeepers as well! First of all, it creates a trustful environment for both parties. We guarantee to the beekeepers that their payment will be made. Hence, it is a model that is ethical and fair.
By having more women beekeepers, we want to make women be able to provide for themselves and their families and get them into working life!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am so very grateful to my husband who has been there for me all along! He is my most trusted partner both in business and in life! Just like me he has been in the business for many years. He is also an agricultural engineer and a beekeeping specialist. That is why when I wanted to do this, he was the fist person I talked. He is the co-founder of our company and he helped me a lot with his experience and knowledge as well.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?
During the pandemic, we had to work from home. Just like everyone, we were in self-quarantine with the whole family for some time. However, our self-quarantine was not as long as everyone’s because we had to work to deliver people all our products that would boost their immune system especially in the time of a pandemic. Our biggest challenge I would say was not staying-home related. Our biggest challenge was to decide between whether to stay home or continue working even in the face of Covid-19. However, we knew we had to choose the latter because people needed us and people trusted us with their health and safety. That is why working was the obvious choice for me as a women business leader; like any other leader would do, I had to do something for people!
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
Because we were going to work, we had to create a safe working environment both for our employees and for ourselves. Instead of getting caught in the fear of Covid-19, we trusted science and took strong precautions and safety and hygiene measures. Those who were not comfortable working at the office, started working from home. Those who wished to come to the office, had to wear masks at all times. We provided disinfectants for every employee and we gave immunity packs to them so that they could count on propolis and other bee products as well. Our offices and our company cars were disinfected three times a day. We re-organized the offices so that we would have social distance. As long as we trust science and follow the hygiene rules, one can overcome any challenges.
Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?
Unfortunately the business life is still dominated by men, and as a women we are facing many difficulties. Not having equal opportunity, equal pay, especially in traditional societies, the role of motherhood causes pressure on women. They are discouraged to take part in the bussines life anda re told that they belong to the domectic life. However, I was so lucky that I only encounter minor challenges. I have a very supporting husband and a family who helped me solve any problem, and they always encouraged me and supported me to follow my dreams.
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
Nothing can stop women, nothing can stand in their way once they decide what they want to go for it! Trust in your dream, believe in your dream, have courage and work hard. With that formula there is nothing a women cannot achieve. That is what I did, and that is my advice for women!
Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?
In the short period of time that we worked from home, I found that being very planned and organized helps a lot! The children had their online classes, and we had our work. So everyone had to keep up with their own schedule. So, in my opinion, knowing what you have to do on an hourly basis is the best thing that helps balance things.
Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?
One needs to plan fun things that can be done with the family. We, for example, had movie nights, and played board games from time to time. Aside from that, you need to continue working. Continue what you normally do. I know it is very hard, because the world around you always changes in this time of crisis. Everything is unknown. So, surrounding yourself with that you know, in my opinion, is the best thing to do.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful About During Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
- Due to home-quarantine, we are seeing positive changes regarding the environment and the climate. So, this pandemic showed us that our Earth can be healed.
- The pandemic showed us that we don’t need many things to live. Simple is easier and better, and less is more!
- Because of the pandemic, we now know the value of our freedom, how great it actually is to go to work, to go to school, to have a very busy day, to rush to places. So, we can say, this crisis taught us to have gratitude for simple daily things.
- Humanity now knows how important science is. We now know that science saves lives!
- Eventually things are going to be okay, and we are going to be free again, hug each other and our loved ones again! And that is the biggest thing to look forward to!
So, although this a crazy time, looking at things from a different perspective always helps and that there is so much we are learning through this experience.
From your experience, what are a few ideas that one can use to effectively offer support to their family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
The best thing to do would be to direct your loved ones to the good things they can do with the time they have at home. For example, aside from their school work, I am always encouraging my kids to create, to play, to do sports; because when you look for it, you can find many things to do at home as well. I am trying to keep them busy so that they won’t get caught in fear itself.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
‘‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’’ By Mahatma Gandhi. It is so relevant to my life, because when I was looking for something that would strengthen the immune system of my son, and came across propolis, I couldn’t find a good quality propolis that I would be willing to give to him. Then, I had to make it for my kid. I had to be the change that I was searching for.
How can our readers follow you online?
They can follow me from my Instagram account @aslieliftanugursamancı. They can get more information on our products and find them both from BEE&YOU’s Instagram account @beeandyounatural and our website www.beeandyou.com.
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
Thank you, too!