Thursday, July 20, 2017
Black Entrepreneur

9-Year Old Entrepreneur Lands Million Dollar Contract with Whole Foods

Brian

How did a 9-year old, Mikaila Ulmer of Sugar Land, TX, beat out the conglomerate giants such as Kraft, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble to land coveted shelf space and a million dollar contract with Whole Foods?

Her precocious response? “I don’t know? Do they make theirs with love?”

Her company, Bee Sweet Lemonade,  is the beginning of a Lemonade empire in which the idea came from when she was stung by bees when she was just 4 years old — twice in one week.

“After that I would freak out about the bees — like overreact — and then my parents wanted me to do some research so I would be less afraid. And doing that research I found out how incredibly important pollinators they are, and that they were dying,” Mikaila said. “And I decided to create a product that helped save the bees.”

She dug up an old lemonade recipe from her great-grandmother’s cookbook, and added honey — her way of calling attention to the plight of honeybees.

Beekeepers have reported losing 42 percent of their colonies in the past year. That’s the second highest annual loss on record.

Scientists suspect pesticides may be behind the decline, which could threaten our food supply, since bees pollinate crops.

“The pesticides either get into their brain and they can’t find their way back to the hive, or they have the pollen with the pesticides and they feed it to the hive and then the whole hive dies,” Mikaila said.

She and her family started brewing BeeSweet for local events, then bottling it for a pizza shop. Within a few years they had a company on their hands.

“We donate a portion of the profits we make to organizations that help the bees,” Mikaila said.

Some kids her age might not want to give any of their money away, but she’s okay with it.

“It’s solving a problem in this world. That’s what keeps me motivated to do it,” she said.

Whole Foods Market heard about her efforts to save the bees and is now selling her lemonade in 32 stores across four states.

“She’s asking questions about logistics, what retail prices should be, or margins. She’s incredibly sharp,” Whole Foods’ Erin Harper said.

Mikaila’s family helps her run the growing business that is now on track this year to sell nearly 140,000 bottles.

Even with all this work, Mikaila’s parents try to give her time to be a 10-year-old.

“Every weekend she does something that she enjoys. It may be rollerblading this weekend, sleepover this weekend. You create a balance because she is working as hard as she is playing,” her mom said.

Mikaila said BeeSweet will debut two new flavors this summer.

She said seeing so many people buying and enjoying her lemonade makes her want to grow her business even more. So her work continues, with hopes to create a little more buzz for the bees.

Visit Mikaila’s site and show support: Bee Sweet Lemonade

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73 Comments

  1. Younger March 27, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    African (Black) North American youth can fill up the boardrooms as leaders. And now we can empty the jails! Simply spread stories like this everyday. These stories outnumber the stories of crime and violence I believe. But have been suppressed. Black Entrepreneur you can prove this! High five!!!

    • Crusty March 31, 2016 at 8:07 pm

      “These stories outnumber the stories of crime and violence I believe.”

      What are you smoking?

    • Koppula Prawan April 17, 2016 at 9:25 pm

      Y r u saying Black while appericating the little angel.

    • Rodney Thomas July 20, 2016 at 10:58 am

      You are an awesome young lady and a trendsetter for other young people. I am looking forward to picking up bottle of your lemonade and encouraging others to do the same. Much love young lady you have inspired me to never discount my ideas because all it takes is one!

      • Patricia July 28, 2016 at 11:52 am

        Amazing! I can’t wait to taste your tea
        Good job and may God continue to bless you.

    • AllLivesMatter July 22, 2016 at 5:26 am

      To the poster with the name “younger”. Why do you have to put her race in your comment? By using the word black over and over. I don’t get it. White people, Asian people, Spanish people, Samoan people etc. Don’t put their race infront of everything when they are talking about themselves or others. And if any of them did everyone would complain that it’s racist. So over this racist carp.. Anyways this YOUNG, BEAUTIFUL,TALENTED,INTELLIGENT, AMERICAN GIRL….wow …look at all of the words I can use to describe her besides her race!!!!….. is an incredible example for YOUNG girls and boys to follow!! I will definitely love praying for the future success of her company.

      • Mic. Robinson July 25, 2016 at 1:17 am

        why do U have such a rabid dislike 4 Black people? just the word Black seems 2 get under your skin. Get over yourself! she IS Black.
        if she were someone committing a crime U would have no problem identifying her by her race.
        it’s a positive story and article.
        and By the way, the site U post this paranoia on is called Blackentrepeneur.com.

        • Bob July 25, 2016 at 11:24 pm

          Oddly WHITEentrepeneur.com does not exist. (Pro Tip: It would be labeled as RACIST)

          • Sera July 28, 2016 at 1:31 pm

            WhiteEntrepreneur.com already exists, it’s every website that doesn’t include white in the name.

            Black gives people a place to go to find more people of color represented. The fact that they have to create a SEPERATE website, AND on top of that HAVE to include black in the title so other black people know where to find positive & empowering news about black people speaks more ill about white people than it does about black.

            Now, can AllLivesMatter & white people stop trolling? You always completely miss the point because you take for granted the things that you have too easy access too. So easy, you don’t have to search for it. In fact, you just get constant exposure to.

      • Jim Crow July 25, 2016 at 5:49 am

        Jim Crow is why.
        It isn’t rocket science.
        100 years after the freeing of slaves we still had Jim Crow laws.
        I am certain that free men and women would have loved to just be called Americans. To be treated as such and to live in peace.
        Instead, none of this happened. Reminded of color 24/7. Bound by injustices based on the color. 100 years of so called freedom and still abused. Churches bombed. Hangings, beatings, arson, murders with 0 convictions.
        Wanting to ne Americans but ever denied.

        Get over feeling offfended. It’s not about you.
        It’s about people coming together under the banner that was used to persecute them.
        Almost all of us have living family
        That lived the very horror of Jim Crow.
        25 years of sorta equality does not undo the past 400 years.
        There are few black faces that are celebrated outside of entertainment.
        Let people feel pride and have some empathy.
        Stop listening to and parroting the narratives that the idiot box and it’s purveyors of media are feeding you.

      • Bob July 25, 2016 at 11:25 pm

        She wants to point out that it’s not a WHITE person. It’s a Racist thing, but, nobody is allowed to say it. Shame she had to go there, but, you know, look at the name of the site. It’s a racist, exclusionary, ANTI-everyotherrace website.

      • Kevin August 28, 2016 at 7:32 pm

        I agree with AllLivesMatter on the pettiness of touting “Black” with a human interest story. Who cares? I am Canadian and we aren’t racist at all. We don’t get you Americans. Underscoring race/skin color in relating any story is generally just inappropriate. I mean, black folks should be offended when it happens, because it comes across like, “Isn’t that pretty good FOR A BLACK.” How demeaning!

    • He-man W.Faceson July 24, 2016 at 9:13 am

      Keep up the good work.I’m one African Americans that’s proud of you.

  2. Cee Ford March 29, 2016 at 10:25 am

    These are the stories we need to share. Because we need to showcase positive insight on our youth. This allows them to see what their lives could be. Proud of Mikiala.

  3. Yum Yucky March 29, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Great story. Very inspiring.

  4. NITA ROBINSON March 29, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Way to go baby girl. I an just as concerned about the bees too. And…I love REAL honey. God has truly blessed you and keep up the good work.

  5. Rosalind Morris March 29, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    Outstanding!!!!!

  6. Jessica March 29, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Great she’s a sharp young girl wanting to make a change, only putting honey in the lemonade only furthers the decrease in bee colonies. Where is the honey coming from, what is being used to obtain the honey. As great as this is she’s bringing awareness and wanting to raise money, the company is slightly defeating the purpose of raising money if it’s just using the honey that they’re trying to rescue. It’ll be a never ending circle of killing the bees to supply honey (due to conditions and how the honey is obtained) and then using it to supply lemonade, and then raising money to help the bees they killed. I hope that as the company grows they find an alternative way to sweeten their lemonade (maybe maple syrup?). Wish all the best to the young girl, clearly has a bright future.

    • Kim March 30, 2016 at 10:52 am

      Just responding to alleviate your concerns. Good beekeeping results in more honey being produced than the hive(s) need to thrive. (That’s how honey producers are able to keep on … producing). I’ve got a hive in my backyard that is watched over and managed by a friend who is an avid beekeeper. I just keep them watered and fed (lots of flowering plants). It’s pretty amazing to watch the bees in action and see the effect they have on one’s garden. So much respect for this young lady.

    • Jason March 31, 2016 at 12:08 pm

      Erro in logic. Speak to producers and learn about honey production before making such statements.
      Producers not only produce honey, they produce bees to make the honey. They only take the excess production. If they did other wise they would be killing the Goose that lays the Golden eggs.
      Because of the demand for honey increases the demand for more hives and more bees and more Bee keepers, possibly you, goes up. Every entrepreneur created opportunity/freedom for many others than just themselves.
      Only slave masters don’t want people to have freedom. They want them dependant on them for food, housing, phones and such. So they tell you not to try.

    • Angela July 31, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      You should read and update your knowledge on the life span on bees. Your comment indicates that you lack this information.

  7. Divine March 29, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Absolutely fabulous sweetie!

  8. Claarence Adamss March 29, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    She’s a very special young lady to be inspired by and incident that could have coast her,her life but instead she turned it into a positive situation that can provide a decent income for her family as well as a support for other,well done young lady.

  9. Johnnie Douglas March 29, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    Inspiring story, brave little girl with a great spirit, and a very supportive family.

  10. Dorothy Seaton March 30, 2016 at 12:34 am

    I’m so inspired…before reading this story posted on my niece FB page, I’d just finished reading a heart breaking story posted by another niece, about a fight her son was in due to bullies. Sitting here pondering on the right way to respond to her plea for help, I read your post.Positive energy like this is so needed. I’m a Tutor an I can’t wait to share your”

  11. Lorraine March 30, 2016 at 4:56 am

    Excellent young lady. I would like to get in touch with you so you can visit my ophanage and share your story to the kids.

  12. Saun March 30, 2016 at 7:52 am

    Wow! Read this article this morning and she has made my day! Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! I will be loooking for her Bee Sweet Lemonade to enjoy and spread the word. Congrats, young lady and kudos to your parents and Whole Foods.

  13. Charlie March 30, 2016 at 8:21 am

    What a wonderful story! I like her determination and her motivation. More stories like this need to brought into the public eye. Indeed, the very idea of entrepreneurship needs to be lifted up – small, new businesses create more jobs than the big corporations.

    With regard to the pesticide question and the peril of bees, this study points more to a type of mite than to neonicotinids.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2013/04/11/science-collapse-disorder-the-real-story-behind-neonics-and-mass-bee-deaths/2/#4e34b0647ce2

    • Kathleen Warden April 7, 2016 at 12:14 am

      Hello Charlie, my name is Kathleen and I would love for you to read my vision on the business start up. Thank you so much ànd have a blessed day.

  14. Dorothy Pettinato March 30, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    I wish this little girl the best of luck with her lemonade business. She is a smart kid and it sounds like her parents are wise people too. I’m glad they are making her take time to be a little girl. Best of luck Makaila.

  15. Rich Angelos March 30, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Interesting that there is no mention of her Shark Tank appearance and that Raymond John invested in her company. I’m pretty sure that helped her get this deal.

  16. Parker March 30, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    2 things
    1) She isn’t 9 anymore
    2) She doesn’t live in sugar land, read the site…

  17. Tony Wilson March 30, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Yeah Mr.Charlie!

  18. Joe Tufo March 31, 2016 at 1:56 am

    What an inspirational story! “And a little child shall lead them…”

    • Kathleen Warden April 7, 2016 at 12:06 am

      Hello Mr Joe Tofu, please take a look at my vision on business start up. Thank and God bless you Kathleen.

  19. Mary Ann Miron March 31, 2016 at 10:32 am

    An awesome story to share with my Vocational students who have special needs. So close to home too! Great job! My students were impressed to hear this story! 🙂

  20. Temi Teetee April 1, 2016 at 1:47 am

    This is an awesome story, congratulations dear to you and your family.
    May God Almighty bless and bless the project for you and your family, Amin

  21. Awosika Olumide April 1, 2016 at 4:15 am

    This is Amazing!!!

  22. Jeanette April 1, 2016 at 4:37 am

    This is a very inspiring story. Congratulations to the young lady and her parents. Congratulations to Whole Foods for seeking young peoples especially girls passion for nature. Great read.

  23. Debbi Crum April 1, 2016 at 9:14 am

    What a wonderful story. Amazing young woman – running a business and helping the planet. And I love that her parents encourage her to still be a little girl. Good job Mikaila!

  24. JulieD April 1, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    This is amazing!! Thank you for sharing her story! Going to try to find it at my local Whole Foods!

  25. Greg Jones April 1, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    I stumbled across this article thru my LinkedIn feed.

    I always had the sense that MBA’s are . . . overrated, and Mikaila proves it. With ZERO high fructose corn syrup.

    I only wish her Bee-lieve blog

    http://beesweetlemonade.com/blogs/bee-lieve

    had the same traffic volume that visits those cursed Jason Beaver beleebers websites . . .

  26. Kathya April 2, 2016 at 7:36 am

    “Do they make theirs with love?”. That has to be one of the smartest marketing questions I’ve heard.

  27. Marchetta Dorsey April 3, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Awesome Story. I love to hear about African American Children doing something positive. God bless you and your family.

  28. Troy April 4, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Extraordinary parenting at work. I saw this young girl on Shark Tank and she did a great job of pressing on despite lack of support from the big shots. She will go far in life, a lesson to all young parents – invest time in your children and they will not let you down!

  29. Charles Monroe April 4, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    European scientists figured out the bees are dying 99% because of the NeoNics (pesticides derived from forms of nicotine poison). In Europe they have discussed this freely. In the US, reporters and scientists barely dare question things or claim ‘we don’t quite know”, because they get sued by Monsanto and other NeoNic manufacturers or their research budgets get pulled from under them with a couple of phone calls.

    The bees are dying, this started soon after NeoNics were pumped the field. This never happened in all the previous centuries. It’s criminal. Nicotine killed people’s lungs. Now it’s killing bees.

    Tell everyone you know: (1) Forbid NeoNics now (2) Demand reporters and our scientists be protected from speech freezing lawsuits.

    Then go buy this little girl’s stuff.

  30. David April 18, 2016 at 1:51 am

    I really want to connect with your grace. I thank God for you little mum….may you prosper and flourish like cedar in Lebanon. You don’t know but you have become my youngest role model! Making a companu out of pain!!! Keep up the good work and may God propagate and catapult you to higher glories.

  31. immortal April 18, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    wow… Black is brilliant, Shez got hot brainz

    • Kevin August 28, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      No, “black” is a skin pigmentation from inheriting a certain genetic code, no more, no less. There are brilliant whites and blacks, and dim ones, too.

  32. apostle e-elvis June 20, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Awesom, Remain distinct by doing more because there are still more in u to be discover.remain bless

  33. CC July 15, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Wow she is an amazing young lady. She should go on the Shark Tank. I am sure they would be amazed at her story and help her for future growth…keep going strong….

  34. Trinice Harmon July 21, 2016 at 5:12 am

    These are the types of stories we need to see more of when it comes to African American youth. Kudos Mikaila! ??

  35. Mary Waller July 24, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    Would love to know how she was funded I am thinking a grant and since she is taking care of the bees is she nonprofit …would love to set my kids up like this…great opportunities come from this wonderful country…just imagine if you were not from America and privileged!

  36. Heather July 25, 2016 at 3:15 am

    This young lady is going places, and is a world changer… amazing!

  37. everett cox July 25, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    What an incredible young girl that she would turn two unfortunate encounters with bees into an avenue to help them! My grandfather was a beekeeper and I used to go to his house and help him with them. He loved his bees and he taught me to love them.

    Mykeila can help the bees stay alive by organizing protests against the pesticide companies that spray neonicotinoids on crops. She should be invited by her Senator and Representative to testify before Congress. Bees never had any issues until that poison was invented. IT HAS TO BE STOPPED!!

    These stories need to be in schools and on all media. Segments about Black Entrepreneurs need to be on at least once a week to show kids it can be done.

    I wish she would talk with Albertsons, Kroger and other grocery chains here in Texas. Our bees are dying too.

  38. Lisa Blanck July 25, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    now that’s turning lemons into lemonade, for sure! nice read!

  39. Diane mccauley July 27, 2016 at 9:41 am

    So smart! Your parents are great too! How about bee sweet ice pops? ?

  40. PreneurDigest October 11, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Later some people would be clamouring luck

  41. PreneurDigest October 11, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Later some people would be clamoring luck

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