One Texan Pre-Teen has turned a lemonade stand into a profitable business with multi-million dollar chain grocery storedeals and powerful investors, including 10 NFL Players.
Mikaila Ulmber’s stint pitching her home-made nationally distributed lemonade to the sharks on ABC‘s Shark Tank back in 2015 got her lots of attention. While she was on the show, shark Daymond John offered to invest $60,000 in the company in exchange for a 25% stake in it. Ulmer accepted his offer.
After the exposure, sales grew by 231%, she told CNBC.
The 7th grader has since met and introduced on stage then President Obama at a big event, was invited to the White House twice and more recently, she caught the eye of 10 National Football League (NFL) players who chose to invest in the succesful entrepreneur.
According to NBC Sports, Arian Foster, Glover Quin, Duane Brown, Jonathan Grimes, Omar Bolden, Bobby Wagner, Darius Slay, Sherrick McManis, EJ Manuel and Malik Jackson recently agreed to invest $810,000 collectively in capital to Ulmer’s Austin-Texas based family business.
“We look for companies that match our main focus of developing a good product, but are also good people and do it for the right reasons,” former Houston Texan running back Arian Foster told the Houston Chronicle about the importance of backing businesses like Mikaila’s. “It’s more than about money to us. We believe that investing in small black businesses is extremely important.”
Ulmber’s personality sells the business and she has been in charge for the 9 years of being in business.
The middle school counts on her mom to assist with marketing and her dad to manage the finance operations.
Ulmer’s business responsibilities include doing trade show demos, media interviews, business presentations, workshops about bees and about entrepreneurship, depositing her money in the bank, putting in money orders, depositing checks, checking the business email and posting on social media.
Meanwhile, she maintains all As and goes to school full time.
Amazing, right? Her most investors think so.
“She’s very special. Obviously, she has a bright future,” Detroit Lions safety Quin said. “Hopefully, I can be a part of it and nourish it and watch her grow. The sky is the limit.”
How did a 12 year old become a 9 year old CEO vet in the first place?
It all started when Ulmer got stung by two bees in one week when she was just 4-years old. Her parents encouraged her to learn more about bees to lessen her fear of them and to do some research about them. It coincided with the receipt of a family recipe book her grand mom sent her which contained her great-grandmother Helen’s 1940s flaxseed lemonade recipe.
While looking for ideas of what to organize for a community showcase and competition to encourage entrepreneurship in children, Ulmer, with the help of her parents, of course, decided to set up a lemonade stand. Her great-grandmom’s recipe came in handy.
It eventually became her signature product, a popular drink called “Me & The Bees.”
Ulmer eventually tweaked the recipe to use locally sourced honey as a sweetener. Sales went through the roof.
Today, Ulmer is the CEO of the company, BeeSweet Lemonade. The company’s motto is “Buy a bottle, save the bees!”
Lemonade sales were good, so Ulmer continued to sell her drinks at youth entrepreneurial events until one year, the owner of East Side Pies, an Austin-based pizza company suggested she bottle it. Ulmer agreed and moved the lemonade production from her family’s kitchen to a small commercial kitchen.
Now BeeSweet Lemonade is sold in 12-ounce bottles of freshly squeezed lemonade with flavors such as original mint, ginger, prickly pear and iced tea. They can be found in Whole Foods Market and several stores and currently are in 20 states.
In 2016, BeeSweet sold more than 300,000 bottles of lemonade. She scored an $11M deal with 55 Whole Foods stores that year too, per the Daily Mail and she also recently closed to get her products into Wegman’s grocery chain.
“I want a BeeSweet Lemonade line, like the Hello Kitty line,” Mikaila said a few years back. “I want BeeSweet everything.” She’s getting close to her wishes.
Since launching in 2015, Ulmer has spoken at Google, and appeared in numerous outlets including CNBC, Essence, Microsoft and has appeared on The Real and other TV and radio shows.
While not being an all A student, Ulmer has speaking engagements that take her world-wide. Her family travel with her and turn the gigs into mini -vacations, one report on Microsoft’s blog noted given they all make biz work and have little downtime.
Ulmer wants to become a serial entrepreneur and become a coder.
Wow! This little girl is inspirational and is certainly going places. So many lessons to be learned by her success!
Lead Photo: courtesy Houston Texan/Charlotte Carpenter