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Most kids use their lemonade stand to earn some pocket money, but not many kids can turn their lemonade stands into successful business ventures.
Meet Mikaila Ulmer, 12-year-old social entrepreneur, public speaker, philanthropist, a bee ambassador and a savvy 7th-grader from Austin, Texas. She is also the CEO of her company Me and The Bees lemonade – a thriving venture developed from her great-grandmother's 1940 recipe.
It all started with when little Ulmer was four years old and was stung by bees twice. Naturally, she was upset and scared of bees. But as she learnt more about them, she was intrigued by their integral role in the ecosystem and soon became fascinated by them. Around the same time, her great-grandmother Helen, who lived in South Carolina, sent her family a cookbook from the 1940s. In it, Ulmer discovered a recipe for Flaxseed Lemonade. So when Mikaila’s family encouraged her to make a product for a children's business competition she put on her thinking cap and used the mint, flaxseed and honey lemonade recipe she inherited from her great-grandmother, to create a winning products.
Shortly after Mikaila’s product hit the shelves of Whole Foods, she participated in ABC's Shark Tank, where she secured a $60,000 investment from the show
The visibility helped the business. In the year after the show aired, sales grew by 231 percent.
Currently, Me and the Bees Lemonade is sold in 20 states. In 2016, it sold more than 300,000 bottles of lemonade. Ten percent of profits go to local charities and international organizations fighting hard to save the honeybees.
International, the National Park Services and the Sustainable Food Center of Austin.
It was a sweet success from the start. Year-after-year, Mikaila, sells-out of her Me& the Bees Lemonade at youth entrepreneurial. That is why she touts: Buy a Bottle…Save a Bee.
Today, at age 12, when not at her lemonade stand telling all the digestive benefits of flaxseed, you can find Mikaila leading workshops on how to save the honeybees, and participating in social entrepreneurship panels. She has also launched her own Facebook page, where visitors can learn interesting facts about bees, honey and Me& the Bees Lemonade.
For the future, Mikaila has ambitious plans. She wants to expand geographically as well as into other products. And she wants to lead the non-profit arm venture. First, of course, she has to graduate from middle school.
Picture Courtesy: Facebook