When Life Gives You Lemons: Making the Most of National Lemonade Day
Who knew? There’s a national day for lemonade. Thursday, August 20, is the official day to celebrate that sweet, yet tart, ice-cube-filled libation. Whether you squeeze it by hand or just add water, why not recognize the ‘holiday’ by sharing the goods with neighbors and passersby?
Lemonade stands have been around since the 1870s as a popular entrepreneurial opportunity for children. From just a few cents to a dollar, the stands are often a kid’s first business venture, as well as a way to combat summer boredom. Happily, the stands are as unique as the children that run them. Some sell solely lemonade — classic yellow, of course. Others branch out to pink lemonade and also offer baked goods and other bottled beverages. The stands themselves can be elaborate kiosks, painted and trimmed with computer-printed menus, they can be a piece of scrap wood laid across cinder blocks with hand-scrawled signs, or something in between.
Some kids raise money for charity and some save their earnings, hoping to accrue enough for a big-ticket item. Any way it’s put together, it’s an excellent opportunity to learn about business and practice those skills in a simple marketplace.
So, how to start a stand? First and most important: Parents, make the kids do the work. Take on as little of this as possible. The more they have to problem-solve, the better of an experience it will be.
Next, consider the inventory. Have them decide what they want to sell. How much does it cost to buy or make? Have them figure out how many cups they can sell from the total product and how much of a profit they want to make from each cup (don’t forget to have them pay you back!). This will determine their sale pricing.
Next, set up shop. Any flat surface will do. If the weather is really hot, consider keeping a cooler nearby for additional ice, and know that umbrellas make great sunshades if their stand location doesn’t involve a nearby tree.
Then, make sure they have a money jar and seed money for change. Finally, tell them about advertising. Signage with clear pricing at strategic locations (i.e., a street corner) will draw in the customers. Finally, leave them to it. They’ll create their fun, busking or drawing or reading until some hapless (yet thirsty) individual wanders by to buy.