Kaylee Smith is like your typical 9-year-old. She loves dancing with Adagio Dance School’s Acrobatics and Majorettes dance teams (Majorettes is her favorite). She enjoys hanging out with girlfriends and playing in make-up. She likes frilly clothing and cute shoes. She likes to do what she calls ‘chillax’: watch movies, colour, and do crafts. You can call her a ‘girly girl’.
This past summer, instead of spending money and going to a summer camp, Kaylee decided to do something seemingly old fashioned. She decided to open a lemonade stand outside her house on Frenchman’s Cay, West End, Tortola. She said she really likes lemonade so she sought permission from her parents. They agreed and Island Flavours was born…or reborn, I guess you can say.
The stand was actually from a project her older brother had for school. The name itself was for that project as well. Rather than throw the wooden stand and custom sign away, she opted to use it. I guess you can say she recycled a school project and built a business!
Kaylee, through her youthful wisdom, quickly decided her stand would not be the same ‘ol, same ‘ol lemonade stand. Nope. Not this one. She opted to sell different flavors of lemonade. After experimenting with flavors, she finally decided on passion fruit, tamarind, lemon-lime, watermelon, strawberry, black and blue (berries that is), ginger, and cucumber ginger flavored lemonades. Whew! That’s a mouth full! But that’s not all. If a bespoke flavor is what you desire, she’ll serve you up any mixture you desire! No questions asked, except maybe, “Do you want seconds?” Kaylee has expansion already in her sights. She wants to offer cake, cookies, and banana bread as well.
Kaylee says, “I find the work hard. It takes a lot of time and effort to process the fruit and squeeze limes and lemons. The most difficult part about running a business is being responsible for so many things. I have to budget, go to the store or market for ingredients to make the drinks, brand my cups or bottles, prepare my float, sell drinks and then count the profit. The easiest part,” she adds, “is selling.”
This budding entrepreneur didn’t always have to do it alone. What she forgot to include in her list of responsibilities is managing a small team. For a small portion of the profits, she managed a team of 2-3 helpers over the summer who would come over and help her set up, sell, or whatever else she needed. She must’ve been a good boss because her staff always showed up for more work.
Kaylee deems her business a great success. She is currently filling orders by the glass and the gallon. She has set up in the Carrot Bay for the boat races. She has served the current royal court during the Festival parade. She has even been invited to set up for a paid gig at a baby shower. Yes! You can definitely say that in the short 2.5 months she has been in business, she has been successful.
Through her hard work, Kaylee said she has learned to save money, have respect for others, learned customer service, and learned how not buy everything she sees (in her own words). She added, “I would like for others to learn… to believe in themselves [and] don’t doubt what you can do. I did not think this business would have grown this much in such a short time. I have no regrets. [Having this business] allows me to get creative. It’s like having a large project.”
Most recently, Kaylee brought her stand, which is mobile, to town. She said after the hurricanes here in the Virgin Islands in 2017, children were still able to go outside and play. In the pictures she saw, she felt there was nowhere for children to seek play in all the devastation. She recalls what it felt like to be without lights for so long. After hearing about the devastation in the Bahamas, Kaylee decided to sell in town for a specific cause. She has desires to purchase flashlights and other light sources for the children of the Bahamas so that they can study while the crews work to clear their islands and restore power. She also wants to purchase baby products to send them. Not only is this little girl an entrepreneur, but she is also a philanthropist. With this spirit of giving back, Kaylee is well on her way to being a top-notch businesswoman.
Even though she is by far a very good business person, Kaylee is not sure what she wants to do when she graduates school. She is content simply learning all she can right now. When asked what was next for Kaylee, she replied, “I just started a new school, Joyce Samuel Primary School, and am enjoying that very much.”
I guess you can say education is very important to this 9-year-old successful entrepreneur.