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Meet the young but fierce lemonade entrepreneur who wants to build her own empire

Laila Ratliff, aged nine, is hoping to start her own lemonade enterprise after the amazing success of her modest lemonade stand.

Meet the young but fierce lemonade entrepreneur who wants to build her own empire
Image Source: LailaLemonadeconnectionsweettreat / Facebook

At only nine years old, little Laila Ratliff is taking her modest lemonade stand to the next level of business. She was only five years old when she first began selling lemonade. While her parents thought she would want a small setup, she had her own vision of bottles with personalized branding and networking with supermarket owners to market her product. Laila and her family are presently regulars at pop-up shows and other events, but this young entrepreneur is certain that her business will soon reach new heights. With the dedication and support of her parents, the nine-year-old from North Carolina is sure to achieve immense success, Good Morning America reports.


At first, her mother Lakisha said she was willing to help her daughter with a small but workable setup. "I'm thinking front yard, little lemonade stand outside, but she had a bigger vision," the mother explained. "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.'" In the early stages of setting up Laila's lemonade business, it was mostly about trial and error. The nine-year-old started out with approximately $200 from her parents to purchase supplies so she could make lemonade as well as plastic pouches for packaging. Lakisha and her daughter spent some time in the kitchen experimenting before finally developing a lemonade recipe worthy of being on the market.


Laila affirmed, "I wanted to do something extraordinary. I know everyone makes lemonade, but everyone's is a little different." According to the young entrepreneur, she was inspired by the women in her own family. Her mom, for example, sells hair care products. In addition to this, her older sister is a professional photographer. Now, five years since she first launched her business, Laila has squeezed some lemons to build Laila's Lemonade and Sweet Treat Connection. "Before, I was going to a couple [of] events," the nine-year-old shared. "Now everyone's trying to book us."


Currently, Laila's bestselling item is her signature freshly-squeezed lemonade, which comes in 22 fruity flavors, for $6 per 16-ounce bottle. Some of her other fan favorites include strawberry crunch blondies, chocolate chip cookies and pound cakes. The young entrepreneur handmakes every single item with her mother in their home kitchen after school. Meanwhile, her father and siblings help with transportation. They also help with selling to customers on the weekends. Because of her quality products, Laila is a regular at local pop-up shops and events.


The nine-year-old's business is not just centered on her own profits. Through her enterprise, Laila gives back to others in need. For instance, the family held a warm clothing drive for retiring home residents last December, and presently, they are putting together "blessing bags" to give out to the homeless community in their city. Laila stated, "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."


Her parents are, needless to say, incredibly proud and supportive of their daughter. "I think it's good for every child that has a dream or a vision for their parents to push them as far as they can go, even if they decide later on in life that it's not something they want to pursue," mother Lakisha said. "I feel like it gives them confidence and the drive to know that if they dream it, they can make it happen." As she turns 10 this year and comes up with new initiatives to stay ahead of the market, Laila has some advice for other young ones who are interested in opening their own businesses someday: "Always put yourself out there and never think less of yourself. Always be confident, brave, empowered."


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