On scorching summer days, a cliché childhood business plan abounds in neighborhoods and across roadsides all over the word. I’m speaking of course, of the timeless idea of the friendly lemonade stand.
We’ve likely all attempted this idea at some point in our younger years. Some of us failed miserably, only selling lemonade out of pity to family members. Others felt as though they flourished and may have even convinced their parents to build them a legitimate stand for the driveway, thus attracting more attention to those passing by. However, no child has succeeded with this simple concept in the way Mikaila Ulmer has.
Mikaila, now 11-years-old, has a more successful business resume than some entrepreneurs three times her age. Her brand, Bee Sweet Lemonade has gained notable levels of success in recent years.
Her lemonade has been backed by Shark Tank, earning her $60,000 for 25% of the company early on. She’s met with president Obama. And recently Mikaila landed an impressive four-state, million dollar contract with Whole Foods, the massive health food store.
With a plethora of established lemonade brands already in existence, you may be asking what makes her product so special? It’s just lemonade, right?
Wrong! For starters, Bee Sweet lemonade resonates with healthy shoppers because it’s comprised of healthy and simple ingredients. The lemonade recipe was handed down to Mikaila by her grandmother. It’s a simple 1940’s rendition of flaxseed lemonade, slightly modified by Mikaila. She decided to opt out of regular sugar–using honey as the sweetener instead.
Another thing that sets Mikaila apart is her passionate nature. She’s certainly heartfelt about bees. Her product serves two main purposes: to refresh pallets with a healthy simple drink and to advocate awareness of the importance of bees in our world. Mikaila truly wants everyone to know that bees play a crucial role in ecosystems all over the globe. Bee Sweet lemonade makes sure to spell it out to everyone, right on the side of the bottle.
When asked how she was inspired and what motivated her in the first place, Mikaila explains:
“I got stung by a bee. Twice. Then my Great Granny Helen, who lives in Cameron, South Carolina, sent my family a 1940’s cookbook, which included her special recipe for Flaxseed Lemonade. I didn’t enjoy the bee stings at all. They scared me. But then something strange happened. I became fascinated with bees. I learned all about what they do for me and our ecosystem. So then I thought, what if I make something that helps honeybees and uses my Great Granny Helen’s recipe?”
It’s obvious that Mikaila truly has all it takes to sell lemonade to the health conscious masses. While these humble beginnings surprise some people, it’s important to remember that many successful businesses come from extremely modest starting points.
Take the powerful entities Google and Apple for example–two of the most powerful entities in existence right now. Many people don’t realize that both of these companies were once just ideas, but they both actually started out in garages of all places!
So what’s next for Mikaila and her unique, established brand of lemonade?
She’s already created four varieties by including mint, ginger, prickly pear, and iced tea to her catalog. She plans to expand to other marketplaces and wants to see her drinks in stores all over the place. That’s quite a big bite for a preteen business person, but with so much experience already under her belt it’s likely only a matter of time before you see Bee Sweet Lemonade on the shelves of your favorite grocery and convenience stores.