BY STEVEN GORDON, LEMONADE DAY NATIONAL PRESIDENT
Meeting young people who are motivated to launch new businesses and non-profit organizations because of their positive Lemonade Day experience -- then watching them grow into mature young adults -- is truly one of the highlights of my career. I am forever grateful to get to know Hailey Hertzman and Katie Vonder Haar who are also extremely fortunate to have loving and supportive parents. I invited them to weigh in with their insights that will be helpful to kids, parents, and mentors who can participate for free in our Lemonade Day My Way promotion Aug. 20-23.
The Back Story
Before you hear directly from Hailey and Katie, I want to provide some context about who these young ladies are and why they are so special.
Hailey, who is 14 and soon to be 15, and Katie, who just turned 15, are long-time friends and schoolmates. These charismatic young ladies were named the 2017 Lemonade Day National Youth Entrepreneurs of the Year and since have graciously been serving as Lemonade Day ambassadors. In their essay, Katie and Hailey documented their enjoyable Lemonade Day experience in Louisville; their approach to business planning, product development, site selection and customer service (they convinced the manager of a local Kroger store to allow them to set up their lemonade stand outside); and their commitment to sharing some of their profits with a residential facility for disabled adults in their community.
I recall seeing the sparkle of enthusiasm and ambition flashing in Hailey and Katie’s eyes when I first met them in Houston in September 2017. And it was they who told me and our national team that they wanted to go to Washington, D.C. to meet our nation’s leaders. These girls ignited sparks in us that led us to produce our inaugural Lemonade Day briefing with Gallup on youth entrepreneurship. We invited them to speak to a group of approximately 100 adults at Gallup’s global headquarters in the heart of the District in January 2018. The audience hung on every word they said!
During that same trip, Katie and Hailey also appeared as Lemonade Day ambassadors on the Great Day Washington WUSA morning TV show and visited Capitol Hill with senators and Congressional staffers from Texas and Kentucky.
During the summer of 2018, Hailey and Katie launched Ooh La Lemon; have been featured on The Today Show; have won even more awards; contributed to financial literacy legislation for kids in Kentucky; and on and on! Check out www.oohlalemonstore.com to learn more about these young business owners and their product offerings!
In Their Own Words
Here’s what they have to say in their own words!
We have been enjoying the summer and have also been spending time on our business. I, Hailey, have been in California and South Carolina so far this summer. And, I, Katie, have been in Hilton Head, South Carolina, where I celebrated my 15th birthday! We were both sad that we had to end the school year early and move into virtual learning because of the pandemic. It was difficult: from trying to focus, to even having WIFI problems! Luckily, when our school was let out from campus learning, The Today Show aired our Ooh La Lemon segment from the previous July again earlier this spring! We got ready to start packaging and got right to it. We worked after virtual school trying to make each package right and perfect! Our moms helped us tremendously during this time -- from shipping to packaging to ordering more products that had gone out of stock.
Some key goals for the future for us include expanding our product line and coming out with more custom design products. Due to the pandemic, we designed cute custom face masks, and we are considering designing more! Even though we have many extracurricular activities, we would not only like to keep the business running, but we also would like to continue growing it. We both plan on majoring in business in college, and hope to continue operating Ooh La Lemon, and possibly also starting new businesses. We don’t know what our passion will be after college, so we aren’t sure what the business will be.
Our main advice for kids who are wanting to start a business is to go for it and have fun! Based on our own experiences, we believe that entrepreneurship is a great career path for kids to take, and even better to start at a young age. The key step to starting a business is finding something that you are passionate about. After you determine that, the next step is to develop a business plan which is so important because it covers so many areas on how to run your business. It’s also great to have a mentor and the support of your family.
Kids must participate in Lemonade Day especially now because being knowledgeable about financial literacy and the many other things Lemonade Day teaches is important to being successful in life. To become an independent adult, it’s helpful to learn the lessons that Lemonade Day teaches.
To be successful, you need to have passion and love for whatever you are doing. Passion is the fuel for all great things! If you work hard on a subject or project that you love, there is no doubt that you will succeed! Being organized is another skill that will be helpful in all endeavors. Being organized with a detailed plan will help you tremendously in business.
Inspired to Action
Wow! Thank you, ladies! I am thrilled that you are still so fired up three years after hosting your lemonade stand as part of our Lemonade Day Louisville program led by City Director Lauren Coulter!
To all of you reading this week’s blog:
Please share this blog post with your family, friends, and neighbors. Your help in communicating the good news about the power of Lemonade Day to change kids’ lives positively is extremely valuable in helping me and everyone involved in this non-profit organization to expand our reach. I especially appreciate your help in directing kids and adults to our website, www.lemonadeday.org to find your city and register to participate in Lemonade Day My Way Aug. 20-23 or in any way that makes sense for you this year.
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. You are invited to email me any time at Steven@lemonadeday.org.
In the meantime, take good care of yourself and those who matter most to you.