Mikaila Ulmer: A Teen Entrepreneur with a Mission to Save the Bees

Mikaila Ulmer: A Teen Entrepreneur with a Mission to Save the BeesMikaila Ulmer, born on September 28, 2004, in Houston, Texas, is a remarkable African American entrepreneur who founded Me & the Bees Lemonade. Her business, started in Austin, Texas, has grown impressively, with products now available in over 1,500 stores nationwide.

Mikaila’s journey began in an unexpected way. At the age of four, she was stung by a bee twice within a week, which naturally led to a fear of bees. However, her perspective changed as she researched bees and their importance to the ecosystem. “I became fascinated and learned all about what they do for me and our ecosystem,” Mikaila shares on the Me & the Bees website.

Encouraged by her family to create a product for children’s business competitions, she discovered her great-grandmother Helen’s 1940s flaxseed lemonade recipe in an old cookbook. This discovery sparked an idea. Combining her new knowledge about bees and her great-grandmother’s recipe, she created a unique lemonade by using honey instead of sugar, which she initially named Be Sweet Lemonade. “What if I make something that helps honeybees and uses my Great Granny Helen’s lemonade recipe?” she recalls thinking. After a copyright issue, the name was changed to Me & the Bees Lemonade, reflecting its mission to support honeybee conservation by donating a percentage of profits to related causes.

Starting with a simple lemonade stand and youth entrepreneurial events, Mikaila’s product quickly gained traction. A local pizza shop’s interest led to bottling her lemonade, significantly expanding its reach. Her parents, D’Andra and Theo Ulmer, both with business degrees, played a pivotal role in supporting and managing the growing enterprise.

In 2015, Mikaila and her father appeared on Shark Tank, securing a $60,000 investment from Daymond John. That year, she also met President Barack Obama at the White House and introduced him at the United State of Women Summit in 2016, where he praised her as “an amazing young lady.”

By 2017, her business received an $800,000 investment from a group of football players, enabling further expansion. Today, Me & the Bees Lemonade is sold in major retailers like Whole Foods, Kroger, and The Fresh Market, and the product line has expanded to include bee’s wax lip balms.

Mikaila Ulmer stands out as a young African American entrepreneur who not only built a successful business but also advocates for environmental sustainability, embodying the motto: “Buy a Bottle…Save a Bee.” Currently, she continues her education at Emory University while managing her thriving business.

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