Somewhere tucked into the body of 11-year-old Mia Camm of Flower Mound, is a compassion-filled old soul. It’s supported by the beating of a huge heart, so huge that it’s amazing it could grow to such large proportions in only 11 years.
Mia felt the first stirrings of entrepreneurship at just five years old, but it was entrepreneurship with a twist. There was no goal to line her own pockets. Instead, the desire was to target a deserving charity and have every nickel of the financial proceeds go to them.
“I always wanted a lemonade stand,” Mia revealed. “I thought it would be fun, and I could work on the recipe, which would be creative.” Yes, you heard that correctly. The vision for the business model was not based on some jar or can filled with equal parts preservatives and microscopic, powder-like crystals. Everyone recognizes that description. It’s the stuff that throws back a slight, dust-like poof when a large spoon or measuring cup of it plops into a pitcher. It’s not unusual for that dust to rise up and tickle the maker’s nostrils – especially if those nostrils are hanging too low over the pitcher. Ah-choo! Ah-choo!
Mia was not interested in dust and artificial dyes. She was going for the fresh; for big, sunny yellow lemons. She wanted brightness. She emphasizes that in her business slogan of “Brighter Lemonade makes Brighter Lives.”
It’s important not to lose sight of the fact that Mia was only five years old when her business launched.
“I knew what I wanted to sell,” said the young business lady, “but I still needed to choose a charity.”
The research began with three active participants – Mia with her mom Mary Kay and dad, Phil. She decided early on that she wanted to remain with the same organization for as long as she was the lemonade boss at Brighter Lemonade. A long-term relationship meant she needed to choose extra carefully.
“We talked about Journey to Dream,” Mia revealed, “and I couldn’t believe it. I had no idea there are kids out there, older than me, who don’t have homes. Their lives are nothing like mine. I know I’m going home every night to sleep in my bed. They don’t know where they might be.
“Journey to Dream wanted to change that for them. They wanted them to have a home, with love and attention. I wanted to do what I could to help them.”
Brighter lemonade’s opening location was at the end of the Camm’s driveway, where it remained for the first two years. It was well-received and it made money, but Mia’s vision was way ahead of her parents’ driveway. She wanted to reach more people and make more money.
Mia and her mom spoke with Nesa Grider, CEO at Journey to Dream, who assisted them in relocating to Market Street on Long Prairie Road. That was when Brighter Lemonade took off! The cold, refreshing drink is available only once per year, in August just before school begins. It’s like waiting for the first juicy, Texas peaches each August/September.
Mia works tirelessly, fully supported by her parents, friends, neighbors, and the dozens upon dozens of people who walk through the Market Street doors for a loaf of bread. She’s raised more than $12,000 for Journey to Dream, and she’s looking for more.
“I’ve been working on the recipes,” she said. “I already have a few different flavors, such as strawberry, but I want to do more.”
“My parents are helping me to make the biggest part come true. I want to package my lemonade and sell it in stores. The proceeds will still go to Journey to Dream. That’s really exciting!”
The ugly head of inflation does not affect Brighter Lemonade. It will continue to cost $1.00 as long as Mia sells it.
Mia is an amazing conversationalist, far beyond her 11 years. She stood on a stage behind a podium this past June to deliver the keynote address to the more than 200 people attending Journey to Dream’s annual Gala.
She’s in sixth grade and is truly in love with the school and with learning.
“I like science,” she said, “but my favorite class over everything else is theater. One day, I hope to be an actress. I also attend Catherine Sullivan’s Studio, where we learn about things such as acting techniques.”
It sounds as if Mia may have been on to something prophetic when she proclaimed, “Brighter Lemonade makes Brighter Lives.” In her case, the words are simple and beautiful truth.