Catching Up With Mikaila Ulmer
Young entrepreneur talks whirlwind year
By Virginia B. Wood,
4:30PM, Tue. Dec. 22, 2015
In 2015, young Austinite Mikaila Ulmer has had the kind of year that most businesswomen three times her age can only dream about.
The investment pitch of her BeeSweet Lemonade brand on ABC's Shark Tank garnered an expansion investment from shark Damon John, she was invited to visit the bee hives on the grounds of the White House, she was the benedictory speaker at a national Soul Summit about food on the campus of Huston-Tillotson College, and the Scholastic magazine aimed at her age demographic named her one of the “8 Coolest Kids We Met in 2015!” We chatted with the busy young lady last week about her whirlwind year and her plans for the future.
Austin Chronicle: What's all that noise in the background? What are you up to today, Mikaila?
Mikaila Ulmer: We just brought home some new chickens. They are a little scared because everything is so new. We're going to be making a hut for them.
AC: We saw your presentation on Shark Tank. What has happened to your business since Damon John came on board with his investment?
MU: We found a copacker and manufacturer and Mr. John has helped us a lot with social media marketing and expansion. I've done monthly in-store demos and our sales have grown over 397% this year.
AC: What was it like speaking at the Soul Summit during the summer?
MU: I met a lot of really amazing people and really loved getting to speak to them. I stumbled a little on my presentation, but they were very nice about it.
AC: So, how have your fellow students responded to the article in Scholastic Magazine?
MU: Some of them have talked to me about starting businesses of their own. They got excited and are coming up with ideas of their own.
AC: What kind of advice can you give your classmates based on your personal experience?
MU: One of my favorite sayings is "Don't be discouraged by life's little stings. You can be sweet and be profitable." I also told them you have to be okay with working hard and that you need to have a passion about your business.
AC: What are your plans for Christmas?
MU: We put some holiday recipes up on the website for people to enjoy. And my grandparents are coming for a visit!
AC: What's on your horizon? What kind of plans do you have for the new year?
MU: I definitely want to keep growing and expanding the business, and we're developing a new lemonade flavor. I'm also working on something that could help my company have a bigger impact on saving the bees, maybe something to do with an app, but I can't say exactly what yet.