Lemon-Aid for Canadian Wildlife - National Youth Entrepreneur of the Year 2nd Runner Up

Lemon-Aid for Canadian Wildlife

Hello. My name is Solene McCracken, and this is the story of how me and my two sisters, Summer and Vienna, managed to achieve success through Lemonade Day.

Our parents encouraged us to do it all ourselves, as it was our project. So we did.

We decided to participate in Lemonade Day when we found out about it from some friends. It sounded like the perfect opportunity to learn and build our business skills.

We decided that if we were earning money and making a business, we wanted to donate at least some of it to a good cause. We love animals, and our country, so we decided that we wanted to donate to wildlife in Canada. So many species of amazing animals in Canada are losing habitat and other necessities of survival. Wildlife cannot speak for themselves. We need to speak for them. We needed to help.
After searching the internet, we found the perfect organization, Wildlife Preservation Canada. This is a company that focuses on saving Canadian wildlife such as the Spotted Turtle, the Western Painted Turtle, the Oregon Spotted Frog, the Swift Fox, the Microbat, the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee, the Piping Plover, and the Yellow Banded Bumble Bee. We had a difficult time naming our stand, though. We came up with several: We are the Beaver, The Thirsty Moose, The Three Sisters... until finally we came up with Lemon-AID for Canadian Wildlife, and finally all agreed. I designed a logo to go with our name as well: a lemon with a beaver face and tail.

My family cares a lot about all natural and healthy food, so we decided to only use natural ingredients in our lemonade, which would be homemade from scratch. We knew our lemonade would be expensive using real things and not powder from the store, but we agreed that it was worth it. We thought up a slogan then: Real Ingredients for the Real Wild.

We thought about borrowing money from our Mom and Dad for our business, but we knew that Dad would insist on charging interest.  Thankfully, my sister, Summer is a really good saver, and she had enough savings to lend our business the money, interest-free.  

Our next step was finding out our menu. Our Mom let us have the kitchen all to ourselves.  We loved making popcorn, so we decided to do that. Me and my sisters looked up popcorn recipes on YouTube, but it took about five different tests until we found the right flavour. During these five tests, we ended up filling the microwave with smoke, having burning hot popcorn get sprayed across the kitchen, and I even melted a dish. Most of those recipes didn't even work out.  Nonetheless, we kept going.

For lemonade recipes, my sisters and I looked that up, too. We found some cool-looking recipes that we wanted to try, so we took a day to test them out, after buying all the ingredients and recording costs. Success! It took a few tries, but they tasted amazing! On Mothers Day, we brought our lemonade out on a picnic, to see if our relatives liked it. They all approved, and we held a vote to see what the most enjoyed flavours were. After carefully recording the results, we vowed that the top flavours would be the ones that we would use.

I seem to have a skill in figuring out, setting up, and using tech, so i decided to set up our own website. You can visit it at lemonaidforwildlife.wordpress.com. I also set up a Facebook page for us. We were all prepared internet-wise.

Now we had a name, menu, and cause. We had to decide on a location. After searching the map of Okotoks about five times, we had our eyes set on three places.

  1. Monkey Mountain Toys. this store was on a corner, and would have plenty of children.

  2. Cobs Bread Bakery. This area would have hungry people on foot looking for quality food.

  3. The Fitness Centre. This place would have tons of thirsty and hot people.

We thought long and hard. We had learned that the location of your stand is the most important thing to consider.
Finally, we decided on Cobs Bread Bakery. That day, I picked up the phone and called the shop.  I was SO nervous!  But they said YES!!

Afterward, about two weeks later, we went to our grandparent's house, where they agreed to help us build our lemonade stand, on the condition that they would get half of the profits when we eventually sell it. Our Grandpa Jeff is a professional with wood working. He cares about the environment like us, so he gets almost all of his materials second-hand. This not only gives his finished project a cool rustic look, but it is much better for the environment. and that was just what we were going for.  After all, we are trying to protect wildlife habitat, not use it up.

Once the lemonade stand was finished being built, we added some tree branches on the outside to make it look more forest-like. We added an abandoned robin nest, and a pretend bird inside to one of the branches. it looked pretty natural. So natural that a predator actually mistook it for a real bird, destroyed the nest, and took the ceramic bird inside. We had to get new ones.

On Lemonade Day, we did amazing. We made a lot more money than I expected, and learned how to be better entrepreneurs. By the end of the day, we were tired, happy, and proud.

I think the hardest part of it all was learning to move outside of your comfort zone. We had to learn to go up and ask people if they wanted to try our lemonade, and not just hide behind our stand.

I think that one thing we did great is making great tasting lemonade, and providing free samples of it. People were much more likely to buy the product if they could taste it first.

One thing I think we could have done differently is to do more advertising about the fact that we were using natural and organic ingredients. We could have also put up more signs.  

Now that we have great entrepreneurial skills, and a bit of cash for a babysitting certification course, I think that me and Summer will try to get a babysitting business going to make more money.

Some things we have learned this year are:

  1. It's good to put up signs because people don't necessarily assume what you think they are going to assume.

  2. Put up signs on the street next time.

  3. Buy smaller packages of cups and supplies so that you can return the ones you don't use.

  4. Offer more snacks than just lemonade.  Many people have had a lot of lemonade already by the time they come to your stand, so it's good to have other options for them.

  5. Making that much fresh-squeezed artisinal lemonade and popcorn takes all day, so don't leave anything else to accomplish on the day before Lemonade Day!

We will definitely be back next year.  We are already talking about some different ideas, like maybe having an app for credit cards and selling more homemade goods.

And that brings us to the end of our lemonade day story. We absolutely loved it.

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