STANDARDS

CCSS: 6.RP.A.3.C, MP1, MP2, MP6

TEKS: 6.5B

Mikaila’s Lemonade

THE KIDPRENEUR FILES

Meet some amazing kids who started their own businesses!

Courtesy of  Me and the Bees (all images)

Mikaila Ulmer

AGE: 17

BUSINESS: Me & the Bees Lemonade based in Austin, Texas

Starting A Business

Mikaila was 4 years old when her parents asked her to choose between doing more chores or earning money on her own to buy a doll. “I had enough chores already,” she says. After seeing an ad for a local business fair, Mikaila signed up. All she needed was a product to sell.

Then two things happened: First Mikaila’s great-granny gave Mikaila her cookbook with a recipe for honey flaxseed lemonade. Then, Mikaila was stung by bees. “I became terrified of bees,” she says. Mikaila’s parents had her do research to conquer her fear, and she learned that much of our food supply relies on bees—and that they’re dying off.

Now inspired to help bees, Mikaila set up a lemonade stand and began selling her great-granny’s recipe. Mikaila soon earned enough money to buy the doll, but she was hooked. She made posters, scored investment funds on Shark Tank, and began bottling her lemonade. Today, Mikaila is a high school senior, CEO of a multimillion-dollar beverage company, an author, and she’s donated thousands of dollars to help bees.

When Mikaila was 4 years old, she wanted to buy a doll. Her parents gave her a choice: Do more chores, or earn her own money to pay for it. “I had enough chores already,” says Mikaila. But she saw an ad for a local business fair and decided to sign up.

To start a business, Mikaila needed a product to sell. Then two things happened. First, Mikaila’s great-granny shared her cookbook with Mikaila. It included a recipe for honey flaxseed lemonade. Then, Mikaila was stung by bees. “I became terrified of bees,” she says.

Mikaila’s parents encouraged her to learn about bees to become less afraid of them. She learned that bees pollinate much of the food we eat—but that some species are dying off. Mikaila was inspired to help bees. So she set up a lemonade stand and began selling honey flaxseed lemonade.

Mikaila soon earned enough money to buy the doll. But she didn’t want to stop there. She made posters to advertise her business. She received money from investors on Shark Tank. She began bottling her lemonade to sell in stores. And she donated some of the profits to help bees.

Coolest Moment
Mikaila is proud of her company’s new nonprofit, the Healthy Hive Foundation, which helps bees through research, education, and protection.“We have been able to commission research to find the impact of wildfires on bee populations, teach bee workshops for kids, and turn unused land into bee-friendly land,” she says. For Mikaila, one of the best parts of her business is its impact—both on people and on bees.

On The Job

Me & the Bees has a team of seven. Mikaila’s dad runs operations, and her mom heads marketing. Before the pandemic, Mikaila would travel extensively for speaking engagements and to market her lemonade to stores, attend conferences, or find new partnerships. Now she takes virtual meetings between classes. “I’m a full-time student, which a lot of people don’t realize,” she says.

Me & the Bees has a team of seven. Mikaila’s dad runs operations, and her mom does marketing. Before the pandemic, Mikaila traveled to give presentations and sell her lemonade to stores. Now she goes to virtual meetings between classes. “I’m a full-time student, which a lot of people don’t realize,” she says.

What I've Learned

Learning through mistakes is key to her success. “We spent all this money promoting the product and getting it on the shelves in two new states,” Mikaila says. But sales were low and it was expensive to ship. That experience taught Mikaila the importance of growing her business in areas with a strong customer base. She’s also learned that her personal story has value: “To me, it’s just my life. But to other American Black girls, it’s someone who looks like them who’s successful and is doing what she loves.”

Mikaila says the key to her success is learning from mistakes. For example, the company spent a lot of money promoting the product in two new states, she says. But sales were low there, and shipping the lemonade was expensive. Mikaila learned to focus her efforts in areas where she knows she has customers.

She’s also learned that her personal story is important. “To me, it’s just my life,” says Mikaila. “But to other American Black girls, it’s someone who looks like them who’s successful and is doing what she loves.”

MATH BEHIND THE BUSINESS

Key Math Idea:

Percent of a Business
When people invest in a company, they give money in exchange for a stake in the company, usually expressed as a percent ownership. That means that these investors are entitled to a percentage of profits. If the company is sold, the investor would also earn their percent ownership as a percent of the final sale.

Key Math Idea:

Percent of a Business
When people invest in a company, they give money in exchange for a stake in the company, usually expressed as a percent ownership. That means that these investors are entitled to a percentage of profits. If the company is sold, the investor would also earn their percent ownership as a percent of the final sale.

Here's how they do it. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

Here's how they do it. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

A. When Mikaila was on the TV show Shark Tank, she asked for $60,000 in funding for 10% of her company. If her company was valued at $25,000 at the time, how much was 10% of her company worth then?

A. When Mikaila was on the TV show Shark Tank, she asked for $60,000 in funding for 10% of her company. If her company was valued at $25,000 at the time, how much was 10% of her company worth then?

B. Mikaila ended up taking a deal for $60,000 for 25%. What amount of her company’s value was 25%?

B. Mikaila ended up taking a deal for $60,000 for 25%. What amount of her company’s value was 25%?

If Mikaila had sold Me & the Bees when it was worth $925,000, how much would an investor with a 25% stake in the company have received?

If Mikaila had sold Me & the Bees when it was worth $925,000, how much would an investor with a 25% stake in the company have received?

When she first started, Mikaila decided to donate 10% of the profits from her lemonade sales to nonprofit organizations that help bees. If Mikaila made $650 in profits her first year, how much did she donate?

When she first started, Mikaila decided to donate 10% of the profits from her lemonade sales to nonprofit organizations that help bees. If Mikaila made $650 in profits her first year, how much did she donate?

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