At only 15 years old, Mikaila Ulmer says her successful lemonade brand has been able to expand to national stores like Whole Foods Markets over the past 10 years because of her recipe of honey, flaxseeds and some black girl magic.
“Black Girl Magic is the ability for African American females to push past the restrictions that are set upon us today and show us that anything is possible,” the teen from Austin, Texas told Fox in Austin. “You can be an author, entrepreneur student no matter what the color of your skin is or what your gender is.”
Mikaila started her business, Me & the Bees Lemonade, at the tender age of four. What started with her great grandmother’s recipe for flaxseed lemonade, turned into a full blown business model that sourced honey from local bees.
She’s won competitions, gotten support from Michelle Obama and even got businessman Daymond Garfield John to invest in her growing company on the Emmy Award-winning reality show “Shark Tank.” On her path to success, Mikaila has had to push past people who doubted her because of her age.
“There were people that doubted me and my ability to grow Me and the Bees when I was first getting started,” she said. “You’re a kid maybe when you become an adult we’ll support you, or we don’t want to put funding in you quite yet or you’ll never be able to make it into Whole Foods but honestly that just motivated me even more to face those challenges and take them head on.”
Mikaila isn’t just making a profit, she’s making a difference in her community. As a social entrepreneur who sources her honey from local bees, she is committed to protecting them through a foundation that she created.
On her website, the teen shares the story of how her little idea grew into a brand that works to help the ecosystem and local farmers.
“I became fascinated with bees. I learned all about what they do for me and our ecosystem,” she said. “So then I thought, what if I make something that helps honeybees and uses my Great Granny Helen’s recipe? That’s how Me & the Bees Lemonade was born.”
The entrepreneur has been inspired to save the bees by a number of black women including her great grandmother who helped spark the idea in the first place.
“My great granny Helen because she gave us the recipe for flax lemonade,” she responded when questioned about her influences. “Mrs. Michelle Obama because I got to visit her at the White House because she realizes the importance of honey bees, Miss Leslie Wingo because she did the branding when we were a really small company and just starting up.”