Dr. William Seeds
Oct 7 · 10 min read

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Asli Tanugur Samanci, CEO and Founder of Bee and You.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

I am a Food Engineer. When I was working as an R&D and Quality Director, I struggled with a significant problem with my son. I had a 5-year-old son who occasionally developed a fever condition. For that, doctors prescribed antibiotics each time this happened, causing him developing allergies for antibiotics. I desperately knocked on the door of many doctors to find a solution to this problem. After a long search, a pediatrician told me that the only cure was to improve his immune system. So I started looking for natural ways of strengthening his immune system. Then I came across propolis and royal jelly in numerous literature I browsed. At that moment, I thought it was the most promising chance for my son’s health. While I was so happy with the idea that my son would recover, I had no time to waste to get pure propolis.

Honey is the most well known and the most consumed bee product in all over the world, and I have been in the honey business for many years. So, I instantly contacted some beekeepers I already knew, and I asked them to produce propolis for me. In those days, the beekeepers did not have any opportunity to sell it as a product as there was no demand for propolis from the market. Unfortunately, they used to throw it away. Indeed, it was difficult for them to process it as propolis is not edible in its raw form, and it has to go through extraction for human consumption. Then I developed an extraction process in my lab and started giving it to my son. In addition to the propolis extract alone, I also gave it in a mixture with raw honey and royal jelly every day. The result was amazing! Eventually, my son was not sick, even for months. It was like a dream which came true, filling me with the joy of life again. Based on this experience, I challenged to produce propolis as a natural immune enhancer for all the children and mothers who might have similar difficulties.

Later, I established my company with Mr. Taylan Samanci, who is an Agricultural Engineer and my husband and my academic advisor, Prof. Dr. Dilek Boyacioglu to produce propolis with Contracted Beekeeping model for the first time in the world, in 2013. So, my entrepreneurship story started. Since raw propolis is not suitable for human consumption, it is subjected to an extraction process. We developed an extraction method to make propolis ideal for human use and turned them into innovative value-added products. Propolis extracted according to our method, has at least three times higher biological activity than that of similar products.

We also developed the “Contracted Beekeeping” business model for the first time in the World. This business model helps us to control production and conditions at every step taking place from hive to table. In the field, our agricultural engineers and beekeeping experts work with beekeepers through extensive training about practices and providing materials in different regions of our country. Currently, we are working with 2000 contracted beekeepers having a total of 350,000 beehives in Anatolia, Turkey. With this model, we do follow the rules of “Fair Trade” as we commit buying the harvested products of beekeepers.

Also, the propolis of Anatolia has an exceptional antioxidant profile compared to the propolis species from other countries. Anatolia owns 1/3 of endemic plants available in the entire Europe continent. The presence of some phenolic and flavonoid compounds that are responsible for antioxidant activity only in Anatolian propolis makes it unique.

Well, this is the brief story of how I founded my company, and I introduced these unique products into the world markets under the brand names of BEE&YOU and BEE’O. It is truly an invaluable joy for me to serve those who suffer health problems and want to improve their immunity in natural ways.

Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?

- Have a dream

- Develop yourself and work hard to make your dreams come true

- Don’t give up

Can you share the most exciting story that happened to you since you started your career?

After consumers used our products, they immediately shared their observations and experience on their health as feedback which was very encouraging for me. I knew customers having infertility problems have had a child after using our products. Similarly, parents with children having appetite problems told me that even their kids began eating foods that they did not consume before.

I want to share a woman’s cancer story. In those days, she was undergoing cancer treatment. After she reached me, she decided to consume propolis as a supplement. Meantime, her physician recommended doing the surgery. Six months after she began to consume propolis regularly, she gave me good news and said that surgery was not necessary anymore. Tumour became smaller. From that day on we became good friends. Based on this experience, I believe that it is priceless to create such a difference in people’s lives.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

At the beginning of this journey, I was somewhat discouraged. Many people said that trade is a different and challenging game, and my qualifications might not be enough to succeed. Then, some criticized my decision to leave a corporate life on a fixed salary.

But I continued to advance in line with my dream. Inevitably, being an entrepreneur creates some financial and moral dilemmas, but they never scared me, and I never gave up even when I was in difficulty. I believe that knowledge is essential when growing your business. I overcome most of the problems with the help of my network and by utilizing my expertise in the beekeeping area and working hard.

When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

Propolis, a resinous natural product with powerful antibacterial and antioxidant properties, is collected from plant stalks, leaves, and buds by the bees. Bees use propolis to sterilize their hives. Therefore, if it is processed under proper conditions, we can expect to observe the protective effects of propolis on humans as it does on bees and their products in a hive. Propolis boosts immune functions and helps the human body to fight with diseases by attacking viruses and bacteria. Published scientific data suggest that propolis reduces the frequency of illnesses and induces positive effects on respiratory system disorders, mouth sores, aphthae, cold sores, gastrointestinal disorders, and cancer when consumed regularly. Several types of research claimed that propolis increases the number of healthy and live cells in the body and supports the immune system of human body.

Royal jelly is a valuable bee product that is excreted by worker bees to feed baby bees and the queen bee in the hive. The queen bee fed only with royal jelly grows two times bigger and lives 30 times longer than other bees. 10-hydroxy-2-decanoic-acid (10-HDA) is an unsaturated healthy fatty acid found only in royal jelly and has been reported to have many health benefits. Scientific studies show that royal jelly supports brain activity, cardiovascular health, immunity, increases collagen synthesis in the body, energy and physical performance, brain activity, and has anti-tumor activity. Royal Jelly is also suggested to be used against infertility as it supports the health of female and male ovaries.

Since raw propolis is not suitable for human consumption, it is subjected to an extraction process. In this extraction process, the beeswax attached to propolis is removed, and healthy components responsible for its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties are extracted. This process must be carried out by experts in appropriate conditions. Otherwise, the biological activity of propolis may be lost. We extract propolis by preserving those components at a maximum amount by a method that we developed at Istanbul Technical University. Propolis extracted according to our method, has at least three times higher biological activity than that of similar products. Our company has been granted 29 national and international awards so far. Examples of awards are “Eco Excellence Award” given to our two products by the Natural Child World in the USA; “Sofi Innovation Award”, known as the Oscar of Food in America, given to the BEE&YOU Cocoa-Hazelnut-Raw Honey-Propolis by the Speciality Food Association; “Eco-Efficiency Award” from EU for our Contract-Based Beekeeping Model contributing to the development and sustainability of beekeeping in the World and; “TUBITAK and Turkey Exporters Assembly Innovation Awards” for our two R&D science projects. Our products contain Turkey’s first and only award-winning innovative Anatolian propolis produced with a “Contract-Based Beekeeping Model” for the first time in Turkey.

Also, the propolis of Anatolia has an exceptional antioxidant profile compared to the propolis species from other countries. In a research carried out by Istanbul Technical University Food Engineering Department and Istanbul Experimental Medicine Research Institute, the effects of propolis samples collected from Brazil, China, Argentina and Turkey on breast cancer cells were investigated. As a result of the study, the Anatolian propolis terminated cancer cells and showed no adverse effects on healthy cells. Furthermore, those scientific studies showed that Anatolian propolis has an exceptional antioxidant profile leading to a higher antimicrobial and antitumor activity than those harvested from other regions of the world. The presence of some phenolic and flavonoid compounds that are responsible for antioxidant activity only in Anatolian propolis makes it unique.

Our consumers who use our products are delighted. They share their positive feedback with us. Hearing this makes us both proud and motivated.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’ve convinced Mr. Taylan Samanci, who is an Agricultural Engineer and my husband and also my academic advisor, Prof. Dr. Dilek Boyacioglu, to establish a company and to be my business partners. We achieved this success together. We have already conducted lots of projects related to bee products. Making this journey with them is of great value to me.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

When children who suffer from immune problems and are on medication consume propolis, their immune system becomes stronger, and the prevalence of diseases decreases. I want to expand this miracle. Creating such a difference in someone’s lives makes me so happy. I experienced this in my son, and I aim to reach this healing from mother nature to all people.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

Actually, I’m a technical person. And I became an entrepreneur with all that technical background. I quickly realized that I should learn the sales and marketing side of the business. So, after establishing my company, I had to get an MBA degree and learn more detail about marketing and business.

After I became an entrepreneur, I realized that digital marketing is critical when growing your business. Every information I discovered later had a cost. If I knew these things at the beginning of this journey, I would be a more planned and fast mover.

I would have become an entrepreneur long before if I knew that the products of my company would make people so happy and healthy.

If you can create a positive difference in people’s lives, and it gives you peace and satisfaction. If I knew that before, I would have been an entrepreneur earlier.

In the beginning, even small obstacles seemed to be big problems for me. Then I realized later that they were just common problems in the journey of entrepreneurship. Well, of course, I became tired and even exhausted from dealing with those problems. I would have been more comfortable and confident if I knew how to handle those small obstacles before.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

For me, the answer is sustainability.

BEE&YOU supports sustainability in the world. We produce bee products with the “Contracted Beekeeping” business model. The most important property of this model is to enable “Fair Trade” that contributes to the development and sustainability of beekeeping as an environment-friendly model. We commit buying the harvested products of beekeepers. We encourage beekeepers to produce bee products other than honey, and we guarantee them a regular income while adding value for all bee products in the world. We ensure the purchase of their products under this contract. Thus, our beekeepers can focus only on applying proper beekeeping practices, and they can improve their work without any worries about how and where to sell the products.

Also, each time we sell a product, 10¢ goes directly to beekeepers. This fund returns to our beekeepers as beekeeping equipment and materials. Thus, we support the sustainability of beekeeping in the world

Bees play a critical role in pollination. Bees provide 80% of pollination. Pollination means a lot for plants, animals, agricultural production, and living things. Therefore, in the absence of bees, there will be no life. The bee population is vital for the natural cycle of life. We contribute to the development of beekeeping in the world with our practices and research studies in the field.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

They can follow me on social media via @propolisexpert and @beeandyounatural. Also, I want to thank you for your interest and support for women entrepreneurship, Anatolian propolis, and beekeeping. You can find our products via www.beeandyou.com.

Thank you for all of these great insights!

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Dr. William Seeds

Written by

Board-certified orthopedic surgeon and physician, with over 22 years of experience, specializing in all aspects of sports medicine and total joint treatments

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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