11-Year-Old Entrepreneur Convinces Whole Foods to Sell Her Lemonade

Bee Sweet Lemonade

It took Bee Sweet Lemonade seven years to land a megadistribution deal with Whole Foods, but founder Mikaila Ulmer would like to see you juggle entrepreneurship with all that grade-school homework. NBC says this 11-year-old girl’s homemade line is headed to 55 of the grocery chain’s stores in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida — a deal probably worth millions. The product, which Mikaila created at age 4 by adding honey to her great grandmother’s 1940 recipe after a bee sting, has been flying off shelves for years around her native Austin, also the home base for Whole Foods, and Bee Sweet’s trio of a preteen founder, no artificial sweeteners, and crusade to save the world’s bees apparently proved too much for the natural-foods retailer to pass up.

Of course, her lemonades were spoiling for wider distribution anyway. Mikaila took Bee Sweet onto ABC’s brutal reality show Shark Tank last year and charmed FUBU founder Daymond John out of $60,000. She also landed a keynote gig at SXSW last year as one of MVMT50’s Top 10 Innovators of the Year, and finished off the year by meeting President Obama at the White House. Bee Sweet comes in five flavors right now, but Mikaila says she’s busy perfecting a few more with all that free time she has “after I do my homework, and on weekends and during spring breaks.”

Bee Sweet Lemonade

BeeSweet Lemonade Sweet Story

Let our founder, Mikaila, explain the origin of BeeSweet Lemonade:

When I was just four, my family encouraged me to make a product for a Children’s business competition (the Acton Children’s Business Fair) and Austin Lemonade Day. So I put on my thinking cap. I thought about some ideas. While I was thinking, two big events happened.

  • I got stung by a bee. Twice.
  • Then my Great Granny Helen, who lives in Cameron, South Carolina, sent my family a 1940’s cookbook, which included her special recipe for Flaxseed Lemonade.

I didn’t enjoy the bee stings at all. They scared me. But then something strange happened. I became fascinated with bees. I learned all about what they do for me and our ecosystem. So then I thought, what if I make something that helps honeybees and uses my Great Granny Helen’s recipe?

That’s how BeeSweet Lemonade was born. It comes from my Great Granny Helen’s flaxseed recipe and my new love for bees. So that’s why we sweeten it with local honey. And today my little idea continues to grow.

It was a sweet success from the start. Year-after-year, Mikaila, sells-out of her BeeSweet Lemonade at youth entrepreneurial events while donating a percentage of the profits from the sale of her lemonade to local and international organizations fighting hard to save the honeybees. That is why she touts: Buy a Bottle…Save a Bee.

Now at age 11, when not at her lemonade stand telling all the digestive benefits of flaxseed, you can find Mikaila leading workshops on how to save the honeybees, and participating in social entrepreneurship panels. Mikaila launched her own Facebook page, where visitors can ‘Like’ interesting facts about bees, honey and BeeSweet Lemonade.

Today, the award-winning BeeSweet Lemonade is buzzing off the shelves of Whole Foods Market, the world’s leader in natural and organic foods, and available at a growing number of restaurants, food trailers and natural food delivery companies.

For more information checkout beesweetlemonade.com,


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