photo credit: begummy.com
At the age of 4, Mikaila Ulmer asked her parents for a toy. Instead of giving her the money or the toy, Mr., and Mrs, Ulmer encouraged her to make her own money, so she could buy it herself. Mikaila then entered The Acon Children’s Business Fair and the Austin Lemonade Day. While brainstorming ideas for these competitions, Mikaila was stung by a bee twice in one week. Therefore, her parents encouraged and helped research “bees” to take the ease out of the unpleasant situation. During her research, she found that bees are dying, and she saw how beneficial bees are to our ecosystem. Mikaila wanted to know what she could do to save them.
Her Great Granny Helen sent her a 1940’s cookbook, which included her special recipe for Flaxseed Lemonade. She used the recipe hoping that would work. It did! She opened a lemonade stand in front of their Austin, Texas home and then BeeSweet Lemonade was born, later renamed Me & the Bees Lemonade after a trademark dispute. Mikaila lemonade uses all-natural ingredients with Granny Helen’s flaxseed and local honey instead of sugar. Mikaila squeezed her own lemonade at her stand, but her parents helped with designing the stickers for the cups. She ended up participating in the Austin Lemonade Day in 2010 and won awards. Even a local pizza business started supplying her lemonade, followed by a pastry shop that offered to sell her product if she bottled and labeled it. “As the business got larger, I had to say, ‘I can’t do this alone.’ That’s when I had to start asking, ‘Mom, Dad, how do I get a logo? And into a manufacturer? And more stores, Mikaila stated in one of her interviews.
Five years later at 9 years old, she pitcher her lemonade on Shark Tank where she received $60,000 from FUBU CEO Daymond John. Now, at the age of 13, her company Me & the Bees Lemonade is in demand.
“My goal is to offer a wide range of lemonade products and to one day expand beyond lemonade. With a larger audience and the launch of a non-profit organization in the near future, my team and I can make a greater impact on saving the bees,” says Mikaila.
In 2016, According to Celebrity Net Worth, Mikaila was worth $11 Million at the age of 11 when she made a deal with Whole Foods. She now has flavors like Mint, Prickly Pear, Ginger, and Half Tea and Lemonade and has formed her own nonprofit, Healthy Hive Foundation, a nonprofit powered by The Giving Back Fund. Her lemonade is now in more than 380 stores across the country. According to BevNet.com in 2017, a group of 12 angel investors comprised of 10 professional football players and two advisors has contributed $810,000 in funding to support the growth of the company’s distribution channels and to increase production.
According to the Bevnet.com, the angel investors and their affiliation are as follows:
- Omar Bolden – Safety, Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos
Duane A. Brown – Offensive Tackle, Houston TexansArian Foster – former Running Back, Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins Jonathan Grimes– Running Back, Houston Texans, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars Malik B. Jackson – Defensive Tackle, Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars Lameck Humble Lukanga – Certified Financial Planner for athletes, entertainers and executives; founder of LifeLine Financial Group
J. Manuel – Quarterback, Oakland Raiders, Buffalo BillsNick Martin – Vice President, SVP, Strategic Partnerships McLaren
Sharrick McManis –Cornerback, Houston Texans, Chicago BearsGlover Quin Jr. – Safety, Houston Texans, Detroit Lions
Darius Slay – Cornerback, Detroit LionsBobby Wagner – Linebacker, Seattle Seahawks
Mikaila’s story has led her to be a nationally recognized speaker. She has gained attention even in Washington where she was invited to The White House to meet President Barack Obama three times. According to a BBC news article in 2018, Mikaila was struggling with some of her school work. “Sometimes I have to miss classes to do an interview or travel for a TV show. Or I’ll miss a big show or presentation because I have a large project or test at school.” She received a “C” in her math class due to her obligations as co-CEO of her company. She has also missed TV interviews and panels due to a test or a project at school.
“Don’t get discouraged by life’s little things but get back up and spread your wings. Find your passion or a cause that you can use your company to help save, or to do good as well as make a profit.” – Mikaila Ulmer
Jeffrey, James. “The 13-Year-Old Who Built a Best-Selling Lemonade Brand.” BBC News, BBC, 23 July 2018, http://www.bbc.com/news/business-44860428.
“Me & the Bees Lemonade Raises $810k from Football Players and Advisors.” BevNET.com, 14 July 2017, http://www.bevnet.com/news/2017/bees-lemonade-raises-810k-football-players-advisors.
“Welcome to Me & the Bees.” Me & the Bees Lemonade, 2019, http://www.meandthebees.com/.