An 11-year-old Texas girl has just scored a sweet $11 million deal with Whole Foods to sell her brand of lemonade. Mikaila Ulmer’s BeeSweet Lemonade will be carried by 55 stores in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. When Whole Foods saw the promise in her lemonade, the supermarket agreed to sell the products in its regional stores.
If Mikaila’s lemonade does well, it’ll eventually be sold nationwide. The savvy 6th-grader from Austin, Texas, has developed her signature Me & The Bees lemonade stand into a thriving national business.
Her recipe is a combination of tasty mint, flaxseed and honey lemonade, which she inherited from her great-grandmother, Helen. Mikaila gives a portion of her products to bee rescue foundations. BeeSweet lemonade supports Heifer International, Texas Beekeepers Association and the Sustainable Food Center.
Mikaila came up with the idea for her lemonade after being stung by bees twice when she was four, according to NBCBLK.
‘It was painful. I was petrified of bees,’ she said in an interview with NBC. But then she began to study the bees after her mother D’Andra turned her bee sting experience into a research assignment. When Mikaila found out that bees could possibly become extinct in the years to come, she devised a plan to use her great-grandmother’s 1940 recipe, which uses honey, in order to raise money to help the bees.
Even though honey bees pollinate more than $15 billion of crops each year, Mikaila told NBC that ‘bees are loosing life’. ‘Last year, beekeepers lost 40 per cent of all their hives,’ she said. She also quoted Albert Einstein who said: ‘If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left.’ Mikaila started her lemonade business in 2009 and she sweetens her lemonade with honey instead of sugar or artificial sweetener, which is healthier and saves the bees as well as provides support for beekeepers.
She secured $60,000 on ABC’s TV show Shark Tank, last year and then went on to serve lemonade to President Barack Obama. She was also a part of Google’s Dare to be Digital campaign. Mikaila is now leading workshops on how to save the honeybees.