The Lemonade Stand from beginning to where we are today. Labor Day marks the end of the summer for the girls as they return to school and the Lemonade weather starts to fade. The girls have hand squeezed approximately 1,000 lemons over the course of the last 4 months. What started out as a simple request to do a lemonade stand turned into so much more. We were going over the numbers to quantify the success of business but the more we talked about it the less the numbers told the whole story.
It is hard to know what parts of this experience the girls will take with them. We hope they remember building the float and realizing that we did our math wrong, and it did not have enough floatation and that it was not a mistake but a lesson we could learn from. I will remember the lesson in patience and giving up control they taught me when painting the playhouse to make it have a “modern farmhouse” look. The important thing was we were painting it together and it was less important how it turned out or how many articles of clothing got ruined.
We talked about the market survey that suggest we fresh squeeze the lemonade (a great insight) and how the survey suggested we use organic lemons and only charge $1 per cup (not a viable economic choice). The market research was right about hand squeezing the lemons and we laughed about the first day out when we sold 9 lemonades for a $1 and it cost $12 to make those lemonades. Perhaps when I asked Quinny what she learned, and she said “we need to charge more and buy our lemons at Costco” she also learned to not just listen to what people say but come to her own conclusion.
Over Memorial Day weekend we built our business plan for the summer and set our goals. We set a plan to go out on the lemonade stand 12 times and pay forward our start up loan by $25 each time ($350 total) to help other woman around the world start their own business’s. In addition, we set the goal to donate $1,377 to the Rainier Animal Fund (Kates favorite number is $777 and Quinny just chose $600 so add them together and that was our goal) and finally we set a marketing goal of getting 1,000 followers on Instagram so that we could perhaps use that traffic to push further donations to the causes we care about.
As Stephanie and I look back over the summer the numbers do not tell the real story about the experience. Seeing the girls waive to customers and passersby and engage with adults, kids, and the coast guard 😊 with confidence is something we hope they will take with them. The conversations that sprung up at the dinner table about why the store did not have lemons, what a strike was and why it happened. It was wonderful seeing the girl’s problem solve like the time they ran out of cups. Rather than stop selling lemonade they kept selling lemonade but asked people to use their own cups or donate extras they had. The girls had fun, but they worked hard. They paid forward $475 of their start up loan and went out on the lemonade stand 17 times and exceeded their micro lending goal by 41%. We never would have guessed how their story would have caught so much attention and would be feature in the Seattle Times, Seattle PI, King5 Evening, Seattle Refined (Komo), People Magazine and several other sources. The business gained 3,170 followers exceeding their goal by over 300%. If you want to support the girls, please donate to the Rainier Animal Fund at https://rainieranimalfund.org/.
We purposefully did not set a total profit or investing goal because we wanted to focus on giving. However, as we go through the numbers from the summer with the girls there are some fun lessons to be learned. The girls spent about 1 hour setting up the lemonade stand and 1 hour taking it down and spent about 2 hours out selling lemonade and if friends joined, they split the money evening between everyone. When factoring in the total amount of time setting up and taking down the stand and sharing profits with friends on the stand the girls made less than the minimum wage (which is still a great outcome for an 8- and 11-year-old). The girls feel like it was a total success, and we agree but for totally different reasons.
As part of this experience the girls were required to invest half of their profits in stocks. We got off to a slow start because it turns out stock is not easily explained to kids. However, we finally got over the investing hump when Kate realized she could own Facebook stock without having her own social media account and Quinny decided she would eat enough Chipotle to increase the stock price. We hope they learned a little about investing and delayed gratification (and that Tesla, Barbie, Chipotle, Bitcoin (yes, they bought bitcoin) and Target have a really good 7 – 10-year run). After investing the girls had enough left over to take their cousins to the top of the space needle, buy more slime than any kids should have, or parent would want a kid to have, and they have a little left to buy presents or treats at Starbucks this fall.
The only metric we set out in our business plan to achieve that we have not yet achieved is to donate $1,377 to the Rainier Animal Fund. We are currently $134 shy of our goal. So, we have one lesson left to learn… Do not give up! We will be heading out one more time this year and we will donate 100% of our profits to the Rainier Animal Fund until that goal is reached.
While these numbers do not tell the entire story we are very proud of the impact:
Micro Loans in $ $475
Businesses started 10
Countries Lent to 8
Kids that participated: 19
Smiles given unknown
Hours volunteered 4 hours each
Dollars raised (so far): $1,243
Pets/families helped: 30
“You can only improve what you measure” so please stay tuned as we figure out how to make the business have an even bigger impact in the months and years to come!