The Hamilton sisters — Charlee and Leeyah (15), Micah (14), and Jordyn (11) — own Twice as Nice Shaved Ice, a popular business known for its snowballs and snow-capped lemonade.
They established their business in 2018 with the support of their parents, Lee and Charvonne Hamilton, who provided the initial investment for the business. The sisters said they were inspired to start the business by their love of sweets.
Charlee told The Baltimore Times, “Our mother [Charvonne Hamilton] inspired us to start thinking about starting our own business. We went through several business ideas, but our mom was the one who suggested a snowball business. The startup costs were minimal, and it was something we could get up and running quickly.”
The sisters started their business with one snowball machine they purchased from a pawn shop, a table, a tent, and 10 flavors. Their parents continue to assist them with tasks like organizing events, transportation, ordering supplies, and managing the finances.
The sisters operate from a mobile trailer, which allows them to bring the full snowball experience directly to their customers. 15-year-old Leeyah shared that dealing with difficult customers taught them patience as they strive to keep their prices affordable.
According to her, each sister has different career goals, like starting their own business or working in sports medicine, but they all want to go to college. “Charlee and I want to attend an HBCU. We are setting money aside from the business for college and a car, along with other things like investing,” she said.
Their mother, Charvonne, explained that the profits earned from the business are divided equally among the sisters. They allocate a portion for personal expenses and save the rest for long-term investments. The siblings are mostly booked for private events and usually prefer to stay within a 20-mile radius of their home. However, they are willing to travel beyond that distance.
“People usually reach out to us because they see the trailer around town or through word of mouth. We also seek out the opportunity to participate in larger events over the summer. This has led to us being vendors at the Annapolis Juneteenth Festival and Kunta Kinte Festival, in addition to several other festivals held throughout the summer,” Charvonne revealed.
The sisters sometimes have to give up time with family and friends because of their busy event schedules. 11-year-old Jordyn said Running Twice as Nice Shaved Ice gives them something productive to do when school is closed, and 14-year-old Micah just enjoys working together with her family.
“Some days are harder than others, but because we enjoy what we do, it doesn’t always feel like work. Running our own business has led to us meeting some amazing people and has led to amazing opportunities, including being a featured vendor for the Baltimore Ravens at their training camp for the last three years,” Micah noted.
She added that she and her sisters would eventually like to expand with other trucks and teach other young people how to operate the business.
“Our primary business goal is to make our customers happy as we continue to grow our business and invest enough money to help us be successful in the future,” Leeyah remarked.