10-Year-Old Entrepreneur Is Building Her Lemonade Business From The Ground Up
8th March 2022 by BOTWC Staff
We will send you an email to reset your password.
8th March 2022 by BOTWC Staff
She’s hoping to have her own brick and mortar store one day!
A 10-year-old entrepreneur is building her lemonade business from the ground up, Good Morning America (GMA) reports.
Laila Ratliff was only 5-years-old when she told her mother Lakisha that she wanted to launch her own lemonade company. Her mom was supportive, thinking she would help her daughter with something small and give her a few tasks to do each day. Boy, was she wrong!
“I’m thinking front yard, little lemonade stand outside, but she had a bigger vision. She was like, ‘No, I want to have my own bottles, I want to be able to go into stores and I want to be able to meet people,” Lakisha recalled.
Before they knew it, Laila’s parents were all hands-on deck, using an initial seed fund of $200 to purchase supplies for lemonade and plastic pouches to package it in. Lakisha then worked with Laila in the kitchen to perfect the recipe, five years later, the now 10-year-old Laila said her business, Laila’s Lemonade and Sweet Treat Connection, is in high demand.
“I wanted to do something extraordinary…I know everyone makes lemonade, but everyone’s is a little different…Before I was going to a couple events, now everyone’s trying to book us,” said Laila.
She credits her mom and older sister with giving her the entrepreneur bug, noting the hair care products her mom sells and her sister’s professional photography business. The Oak Ridge, North Carolina natives are now all over town, regular vendors at local pop-up shops where Laila sells her items.
Laila and her mom hand make every item and her father and siblings help with transportation and sales. She’s known for her freshly squeezed lemonade, strawberry crunch blondies, chocolate chip cookies and pound cakes. Currently, Laila’s lemonade comes in 22 different flavors at about $6 for each 16-ounce bottle. Lakisha said the experience has been priceless for her daughter and they’ve received a lot of support from the small business community in their state.
“We have met strangers that actually pushed us and gave us gold nuggets throughout this journey. So any information that we get, we give the same advice that was given to us. There are probably 25 different bread brands on the shelf. No one brand is the same. So if someone else started a lemonade business, it’s OK to help them,” said Lakisha.
In addition to growing her customers, Laila also takes the time out to give back, holding clothing drives for retirees and working on crafting “blessing bags” for the unhoused community in the city.
“I started my business because I want to help people that aren’t as fortunate. It’s fine to get stuff, but sometimes you have to give back to people that don’t have as much,” explained Laila.
To help Laila continue her philanthropic efforts, Good Morning America surprised her with a $10,000 check to donate to a charity of her choice – as well as gifted the young entrepreneur with an industrial juicer so she no longer has to hand squeeze lemons. The surprises didn't stop there as the show's sponsor State Farm also provided the Ratliff family with an all expenses paid trip to Walt Disney World.
Lakisha said becoming an entrepreneur has given her daughter confidence and she plans to support her for as long as she keeps the business going. Laila believes that part of the success of her products is the love and positivity she pours into each batch. She hopes to eventually launch a food truck and open her own store. Right now, she spends time engaging customers in person and via social media. Her advice for other children looking to follow in her footsteps is to just be brave.
“Always put yourself out there and never think less of yourself. Always be confident, brave, empowered," said Laila.
To keep up with Laila, follow her on Instagram, @laila_lemonade_sweettreats.
Photo Courtesy of Lakisha Ratliff/Good Morning America