Inside, D’Andra Ulmer quickly puts dinner on the stove so that she can scoot off to yet another interview scheduled a short time later. Interviews and TV show appearances have become a normal part of life for Me and The Bees owner, Mikaila Ulmer, and her family that she affectionately refers to as the “bee hive.”
After a 2015 appearance on Shark Tank yielded her a $60,000 investment from business icon Daymond John, America came to know Austin’s sweetest secret. Since then, the four popular flavors of Me and the Bees Lemonade is now available at stores across the country and the company has generated millions more in investments and profit.
soultici spent an afternoon visit in the Ulmer bee hive and got to chat with the family. Founder and CEO, 13 year old Mikaila, has the overall responsibility for the company’s vision, merchandise ideas and general brainstorming over the direction of the company.
One could say she was “bitten” by the business bug when was very small. Two bee stings in one week prompted her to study the importance of bees and her previous plans for an ordinary lemonade stand took on even more significance. Now, Mikaila’s business is also dedicated to helping save bee hives and helping them do their part in the ecosystem.
Mikaila introducing President Obama in 2017
Mikaila credits her pre-school, Athena Montessori, with equipping her with skills that are essential to success in business: creative thinking, teamwork, sharing ideas, etc. At the tender age of three, she couldn’t wait to enter the Acton Children’s Business Fair after seeing some of her older friends participate. She entered the fair at the minimum age of 4, and as they say, the rest is history.
No, have an actual company that I’d like you to partner with.
When asked what the toughest part of being a young business woman is, she described how many investors underestimate the seriousness of her business model just because of her age. “They think I’m talking about a regular lemonade stand and I have to explain that no, I have an actual company that I’d like you to partner with.” When Mikaila is not meeting with her marketing team, potential investors or making the rounds on media platforms, she stays busy with school and her friends, “doing girl stuff, like shopping at the mall or going to the movies.”
Resident photographer, Mikaila’s younger brother Jacob, is responsible for capturing memorable behind-the scenes and on-stage moments. His persistent attempts to start a game of Sorry! during the interview demonstrated how the siblings rely on each other for companionship and entertainment in a household that is notably absent the typical technological gadgets that occupy children’s time.
The other members of the beehive include their Dad, Theo, who is the Chief Financial Officer. As CFO, he is responsible for things like looking for ways to keep prices low and handling “money stuff in general.” Mom, D’Andra, is the Chief Marketing Officer, who manages public relations and social media work. She is clearly the chief nutritionist and meal-on-the-go expert as well.
At Me and the Bees Austin headquarters, “the 2 Jessicas” are the valuable bee hive members who manage the office and handle sales. Mikaila explained that there are also brokers in every region who stay on top of pricing, make sure the shelves are stocked and that customers are satisfied with Me and the Bees products.
Together, the Me and the Bees team support a young entrepreneur’s dream and are sure to be there to support her wherever her ambition takes her. Mikaila says she has also considered other business ideas for the future, such as fashion for teens or dogs, her other passion. But for now, she is thrilled to bring folks wonderful twists on her grandmother’s amazing lemonade.