AUSTIN, Texas — As part of KVUE's continuing celebration of Black History Month, we sat down with Mikaila Ulmer. She’s not your average high school senior – she’s also the CEO of Me & the Bees Lemonade.
“Me & the Bees is a social good lemonade company that I started as a lemonade stand here in Austin, Texas,” Ulmer said.
At the age of four, Ulmer was stung twice in a weekend and was completely terrified of bees. However, thanks to her parents, she did her research on the insects and got a whole new perspective.
“After doing that research and realizing that bees are insects that I’m pretty passionate about, I decided to help save them,” Ulmer said.
And so, the mission began. From creating her own version of her grandma’s flaxseed lemonade recipe, to multiple lemonade stands, to "Shark Tank," to creating a widely known lemonade company.
However, the reaction to a young Black girl starting this company wasn’t always met with support.
“At one point, we were getting emails and letters that were saying, ‘You should remove the face of the bottle. You would sell so much more lemonade if your face wasn’t associated with the business,'” Ulmer said.
She said it made her wonder, “In order to grow my company, do I need to hide my identity from the product?"
Luckily, her hive of support outweighed all the negative feedback.
“This is who I am. This is my brand, so I’m going to continue doing that,” Ulmer said.
She’s not only a student and a CEO, she’s also an inspiration to the community around her. Her advice to others: "Be passionate, get messy and dream like a kid."
To learn more about Ulmer's story and see all buzz around the exciting new flavors she’s launching, follow her on Instagram.
MORE KVUE PROFILES: