BY DEBBIE NAZARIAN, LEMONADE DAY NATIONAL DIRECTOR
“Lemonade Day works. There is no need to test it.”
These words were spoken by Jim Clifton, chairman of the venerable Gallup research organization and a long-time Lemonade Day supporter, at an event co-hosted by Lemonade Day and Gallup in Washington, D.C. two years ago.
Living proof of the power of Lemonade Day to make a meaningful and memorable impact on young kids is Mikaila Ulmer. Lemonade Day leaders, fans and followers are filled with pride to know Mikaila and her family. We are honored that she is one of our Super Star Alumni Ambassadors for Lemonade Day! And we are thrilled to support Mikaila as she launches her first book, Bee Fearless: Dream Like a Kid, officially on Tuesday, Aug. 18!
Mikaila, now 15, is the founder of Me & the Bees Lemonade. Many years ago, she got stung by a bee twice in one day! Encouraged by her parents D’Andra and Theo Ulmer, she turned her fear of bees to love of bees! She learned that bees are endangered. Since then, she has made a commitment to helping to save the bees through her Healthy Hive Foundation.
With the help of her parents, Mikaila participated in Lemonade Day Austin when she was four years old. She and her dad appeared on Shark Tank a few years later and launched her bottled lemonade product line that was based on her Great Granny Helen’s honey and flaxseed lemonade recipe. Now, Me & the Bees Lemonade is being sold in major supermarkets all over the nation!
Today, we are in for a sweet treat from Mikaila! Check out her Q&A with our national Lemonade Day team, along with great photos of Mikaila “being fearless” and making a positive difference in the world of “buzziness.” Mikaila also graciously prepared a brief video message encouraging kids to register to participate in Lemonade Day My Way (details at www.lemonadeday.org) and make “lemonade out of lemons” during these pandemic times – or any time challenges and disappointments may sting us!
Why is the Bee Fearless: Dream Like a Kid book so important to kids and teens now?
I believe that entrepreneurship helps provide a skillset that can be used in whatever path you decide to take. There are so many options out there to choose from and now, that’s been complicated by layers of uncertainty top of that. Even if you don’t know what you want to do or be in life, starting young with an entrepreneurial project or small business --even if it is a very small idea-- will teach you amazing lessons like problem solving, idea generation, and prototyping.
Also, when people think of entrepreneurs, they don't think of kids, so there are really not many resources out there to help kids; I wanted to change that. I wrote my book to help inspire the next generation of changemakers, hoping my stories and business can help others find their passion and give it their all.
As for this pandemic, we are experiencing something our parents or grandparents have never seen before. And, let’s face it, it can be really tough. During this time of anxiety, there are fears. Hopefully, my book can evoke the opposite and motivate everyone to be fearless and be hopeful as we will come out on the other side of this. Entrepreneurship promotes hope, and SOCIAL entrepreneurship taps into passion and purpose, which I hope by reading my book, budding innovators and entrepreneurs will be motivated to keep “bee-lieving” in a time like this. I think times of crisis like this global pandemic is a time to reflect or search to find meaning and purpose in what you most want to do and how you can make the most impact. There are SO many amazing, innovative business ideas coming out as a result of COVID-19, whether to help with the situation at hand or to help make the world a better place in general. And for existing businesses, we’ve certainly had to pivot to and keep evolving, keep learning and keep finding new and creative ways to keep going.
Bee Fearless ultimately offers up lessons in leadership, never giving up, perseverance and gaining confidence. It also reminds us to dream BIG!
And while it targets middle school age students, I’ve been told it’s a great primer for anyone at any age looking to start or scale up a business. Parents and kids can read together that will help a parent help their child develop a budding passion into something substantial and inspiring.
What did you like most about writing this book?
I wrote Bee Fearless: Dream Like a Kid to help share my story of Me & The Bees Lemonade to inspire other young innovators and entrepreneurs who have big dreams and great ideas. Bee Fearless is a how-to guide on achieving success: It’s part memoir, part business book. I love that readers of all ages find my journey helpful, so they can find their passion and create a business with purpose too.
I liked writing the anecdotes because they are relatable. I enjoyed reaching out to friends and family who helped me recall all the things we did to start, grow and evolve the business over the past 10 years. Then putting them all into a timeline and story was so gratifying to look back and see all we have done over the past decade.
I also enjoyed recording the audiobook narration of my book! It was a long process, but I’m grateful I had the opportunity to take the time to read my completed book slowly. Then, listening to the completed audio is like story time.
What do you like most about your work with the Me & the Bees and the Healthy Hive Foundation?
I enjoy collaborating with like-minded people who also want to make a measurable impact on bee populations. It’s amazing being a social entrepreneur and doing good through business, but It’s also incredible being able to start a non-profit solely on saving and researching the bees.
Being hands-on is so great. I really like getting my hands in soil…or putting on a bee suit and helping make things happen.
What are the top three lessons you learned through the Lemonade Day experience or three things you like most about being involved with Lemonade Day?
What advice do you have for other kids and teens who want to start a business and who may be concerned about juggling school and social activities, remote learning, and other experiences in these times?
It’s always about striking the balance. Being a student first is important but with the right time management, working on a business is totally doable.
When you can find balance while …
then nothing can stop you.
If you ask yourself, “Why am I starting a business?” Your answer should be, “Because I believe it will make the world better!”
Even if the idea is small, it’s important to dream big. That’s why I included this quote by Nelson Mandela: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
Anything else you want to add?
I think my book is coming out at a great time...a time when America is looking to support small businesses and businesses that have built purpose into their brand. And, also at a time when people are looking to support black owned businesses.
Bee Fearless challenges stereotypical gender norms by showing me, a young girl, as not only being in a leadership position, but as the head of her own company and non-profit. I’m so excited for my readers to read and be inspired by my book.
Wow! I am fired up! And I hope you are too! Please be sure to check out www.meandthebees.com to learn more about Mikaila’s company, her book, and the Healthy Hive Foundation. Please check out www.LemonadeDay.org for details on how to participate in Lemonade Day My Way Aug. 20-23 and any time! Lemonade Day is more than just a day and more than just a lemonade stand!
Thank you for your support! Mikaila, her family and I would be most appreciative if you were to share this blog with others!
Have a sweet day and Bee Fearless!