There are several factors behind Mikaila Ulmer’s Me & the Bees success story. Mikaila started her lemonade-making business at the age of 4, using her parent’s backyard as her selling point.
As expected, sales were slow initially but through Mikaila’s strong work ethic and commitment towards a sustainable business model, things eventually took off.
Today, Me & the Bees is a multi-million dollar business and is slowly becoming a household name. Let’s take a look back at Mikaila’s journey.
From Her Backyard to ‘Shark Tank’
The story behind the business was inspirational. Mikaila was stung by bees when she was 4 years old, and this made her curious about the roles of bees in the environment.
She was fascinated by her parent’s conviction that bees are important to the ecosystem and must not be destroyed.
She worked on her great-grandmother’s flax seed and lemonade recipe to incorporate honey from bees to create the special Me & the Bees Lemonade recipe she sells today.
In 2015, Mikaila was a special guest on Shark Tank. and viewers were quick to notice her charisma and strength in demonstrating the quality and need for her lemonade products.
She successfully got the attention of some investors including her later-to-be mentor Daymond John who eventually invested in her company.
Her appearance on the TV show and the interest shown by Daymond gave Mikaila the endorsement and credibility she needed to succeed. According to the Black Dollar Magazine, Me & the Bees Lemonade brand is now worth over $10.2 million.
Today, Me & the Bees is Sold in All 50 States
Me & the Bee Lemonade’s social impact and Mikaila’s sustainability strategy have also contributed to the business’ success. The company is a force to reckon with when it comes to environmental sustainability.
For instance, Mikaila sources honey from local bee farmers, she uses renewable packaging for his products and a portion of her profits goes to organizations protecting bees across the country.
The Me & the Bees Lemonade used to be sold in Texas only,but today the company has expanded its distribution network to 50 states.
“I can’t stress this enough. If you are not passionate about your idea, it will be hard to stay engaged in the work it takes to grow a business,” she told Marketplace. “And believe me, there’s a lot of work ahead of you when you start a business.”
The company also works with large retailers like Whole Foods, and Wegmans to distribute and sell the lemonades nationwide. The company has also formed partnerships with fashion and brands, like its Lemonade Stand Starter Kit with Fashion Angels.
Mikaila Is Now a College Student and Inspiring Future Generations of Entrepreneurs
Mikaila is currently a student at Emory University, where she is majoring in International Studies and Economics. She is expected to graduate in 2024.
Along with her business, Mikaila also started the Health Hive Foundation which is dedicated to research, education, and protection of bees.
“There were times when we weren’t making a profit, and we were still donating to organizations that were saving the bees,” she told Black Dollar Magazine. “We’ve contributed $250,000 to our cause.”
She is active on social media, engaging with customers and followers, sharing their stories and values to inspire people.
Mikaila has become a role model to many young, aspiring entrepreneurs nationwide.