While in the initial development stages of her clean beauty product line, BeeNaturalz's founder Mandy Dobosenky's Aha! moment came during a honey extraction demonstration at the Minnesota State Fair.
“The beekeeper explained to the crowd that many cultures have used raw honey and propolis for centuries as a natural remedy for cuts, wounds and other skin ailments, long before traditional antibiotics ever existed.”
We recently caught up with this very personable and relatable entrepreneur/mom/wife/mad scientist during her downtime for a Q&A session. The full interview is featured in our online quarterly magazine that accompanies our Spring box.
Mandy, please tell us about the path you took from HR Director to becoming a founder of a thriving natural beauty company? What prompted that leap?
I started BeeNaturalz in 2017 as really nothing more than a hobby - my favorite tinted lip balm got discontinued and I couldn't find anything similar that I liked, so I figured how hard could it be to make my own? I read the label on the lip balm, couldn't recognize anything that was in it, and instead turned to Pinterest. The rest really is history from there - it turned into a never-ending desire to find new and different ways to incorporate natural, clean ingredients into a variety of everyday skincare products.
Each year, the business grew steadily and I added new and different products on a fairly regular basis while still working my primary job as an HR Director at a local community mental health agency. When the pandemic hit in 2020, I found myself thrown into managing employee and business crises that I never imagined I'd ever have to deal with - I had longer days that didn't leave much time for BeeNaturalz work, and there were definitely moments where I worried that I could no longer handle both. Much like many other professionals during the pandemic, the HR world was filled with burnout and stress - myself included.
In March of 2021, my husband and I talked through the logistics of me working BeeNaturalz full-time and stepping away from HR. Despite my lack of attention to the business, it had really managed to continue thriving and humming along. With his support, I made [the jump]. Looking back, I honestly wish I had made the leap sooner. It has been a year almost to the day that we made that decision, and BeeNaturalz has continued to thrive with no signs of slowing down. It was a leap of faith for sure, but it's one that I would make again in a heartbeat.
Can you tell us about the importance and significance of using bee pollen in your products?
Bee pollen, like many of the bee-related ingredients that I use, is filled with many elements that you can't find in anything else. It contains 32 vitamins and minerals, 22 amino acids, 18 natural enzymes, and tons of antioxidants - all of which support your skin’s health (our products are of course topical, but bee pollen is actually used in homeopathic supplements as well). I also have a local partner that I get raw wildflower honey and their pollen-infused honey. Honey is a natural antibacterial and antifungal, meaning it's great for soothing skin while also gently healing breakouts and other common skin inflammation. You can literally spread raw honey onto your face, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wash it off. Try it - it really is amazing stuff! Keep in mind - this is not the same sugar syrup honey that's been processed and put on your local grocery shelf. In order to retain honey's natural benefits, it's got to be raw and unfiltered (it often will look pale and be a lot thicker) - find a local brand if you can, it's a great way to support our vital beekeepers!