As the world marks International Day of the Girl Child, it brings to mind the efforts being made by some young ones to impact society. Some of them have given their peers a voice and hope, and one of such girls is young entrepreneur Mikaila Ulmer.
“When you have a big voice, make sure that you give others a voice behind you, and that you’re not only growing yourself but helping others grow and giving your expertise to others,” Ulmer once said.
The young CEO became an entrepreneur and founder of Me & the Bees Lemonade business when she was just four years old, and over the past decade, she has sold one million bottles across 1,000 stores in the U.S.
The now 14-year-old Austin, Texas, native rose to fame after a 2015 appearance on TV show series, “Shark Tank” and her products are now in 1,500 stores nationwide, including all of the H-E-Bs in Texas.
Her parents and teachers encouraged her to sign up for two entrepreneurship contests when she was only four years. “At that same time, I got stung by two bees in one week,” she said.
Following the experience that resulted in Ulmer’s fear of bees, her great-granny Helen reportedly sent her a 1940s cookbook that contained her favorite recipe for flaxseed lemonade.
According to her, she went on to research on bees and she found out how important bees are to our ecosystem and they’re dying, so she decided to create a product that would help save them.
The product is called ‘Me & the Bees Lemonade’, a flaxseed – and mint-infused beverage that is sweetened mainly with honey from local honeybees.
For each bottle sold, she donates a percentage of the profits to her home state’s beekeepers association and organizations working to ease the plight of the bees.
When she first started in 2009, Ulmer originally sold her lemonade at a local pizzeria. She later held workshops on saving bees at a local Whole Foods store, where she showcased her naturally sweet products.
Finally, she was asked to sell her lemonade at the high-end grocery store and thanks to her fascinating appearance on Shark Tank, Whole Foods carries Me & the Bees Lemonade throughout its southeast region.
The young CEO, who prefers the title “Queen Bee” says for her, “Being able to meet awesome people is the most fun part. I love being able to go to different events and presentations to share my story, and to teach people about bees and how we can help them.”
Ulmer has since been recognized as a strong voice and she speaks frequently at entrepreneurial summits. She introduced former U.S. president Barack Obama at The United State of Women Summit.
She was recognized as a Microsoft’ “Person of Action.”
In an interview, Ulmer advised aspiring entrepreneurs thus: “Be a social entrepreneur. Do something to help solve problems in the world. Don’t go into business to make a lot of money. Create a business that you see that the world is missing, solve a problem with it and do something you have a passion for. Because the more passionate you are about what you do, the more fun you have while doing it!”
She believes that “no matter how old you are; you always have something to learn. And no matter how old you are, you always have something to teach.”
“That’s something I always remember, whether I’m speaking to 15 or 15,000 people,” she told CNBC , before presenting a “Finance 101″ workshop to female founders at the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) in Singapore.
She has launched a new line of beeswax-infused lip balms and the Ulmer non-profit — The Healthy Hive Foundation — to conduct research, education and protection projects for honey bees.
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BIG NEWS! I’m so excited to release my new line of lip balms! They’re made with moisturizing bees wax, (thank you bees!) to sooth and restore dry lips. With five fun flavors like “Bee my Sweet Honey” and “Buzzing Blackberry” I promise, you won’t be disappointed. Oh! did I mention that 10% of net profits Saves the Bees! Click the link in my bio to get your own! #Organic #GlutenFree #Sustainable #Lipbalm #Lipcare #beauty #beeswax #chapstick
Besides her studies Ulmer juggles between creating new business ideas, managing her business and travelling for speaking engagements. She also recently signed a deal to co-write a book for young entrepreneurs.