A little girl’s lemonade stand to end slavery and what followed

Vivienne Harr, an 8-year old girl, was moved by pictures of child laborers in Nepal and wanted to help them. She set up a lemonade stand in the middle of New York city and sold lemonade every day with the goal of raising $100,000. Her perseverance paid off – she was covered by The New York Times on day 52. After that, there as no looking back. She got more media coverage and funds poured in. She charged $2 a pop initially but went on to accept any amount that people were willing to pay. One man even wrote a check for $1000. A story of true grit and determination that shows how much a seemingly powerless person can do to change the world. She eventually mode more than $300,00 for her cause.

What followed this is not all charity and goodness. Her folks decided to use the fame she had achieved to start up a for-profit business selling lemonade in the market. They raised a million dollars and started the company called Make A Stand. The business model is the same as the one used by their curbside lemonade stand. According to this Huffington Post article,

Her company, Make A Stand Lemon-Aid, will generate its profits using the same model as her curbside stand — the “giveness” model. Her website describes the company as a “giveness” — a business without a price tag for their bottles. In a promotional video, Harr explains that much like at her original stand, customers at the grocery store can “pay what’s in their hearts” for the lemonade.

When they sell lemonade they let buyers pay whatever they want to pay. The expectation is, one would assume, that the buyer pays a larger amount than what he would normally pay for a regular lemonade at a store. Of the money generated, the company pays 5% of its net proceeds to charity. So if you pay $10 for a bottle of lemonade (which would have cost couple of dollars at a retail store)  the company (shareholders) would keep $9.50 for itself and pay out $0.50 to a charity.That is an outsized profit margin that is hard to come by in the highly competitive beverage business.

The business strategy seems simple – sell Hope in a Bottle and take home big bucks! Even though some may question the ethics behind thier business, it was a case of brilliant marketing and business ingenuity!

Watch their promotional video here: