Busy Bubbers Series: getting the most out of your lemonade stand this summer

Motherhood for me in a nutshell: Teetering between wanting to give my babies absolutely everything they want and resolving to make them work for every penny to buy their own things.  Now, since we don’t have a ton of space, I do prefer their toys to function as decorations, too, so I really don’t buy them pointless toys anyway.  But if it’s aesthetically pleasing to any degree, I will buy that dang toy and figure out a way later to make my babies not greedy and spoiled…

Enter: WERK! 

Yes, I buy cute toys.  But no way will I buy my kids toys they actually want, like Legos or Skylanders or Hot Wheels (haha).  Those they have to work for!  So, we have regular lemonade stands in our neighborhood.  At this point in their lives, I probably do more of the work since they can’t bake cookies in bulk.  But they feel like they are working hard and that is the point, really.  This last lemonade stand, James pocketed over $30!  So they are definitely worth the fuss.  Here are our tips to maximise the payoff of your efforts for your next lemonade stand so that your babies can buy their own pointless nicknacky toys:

Presentation :: You don’t have to go overboard, but try to make it cute!  This will attract customers, build your babies’ entrepreneurial credibility and provide for adorable pictures. And parents are suckers and will throw money at kids doing anything cute, so, BONUS. We already had this little storage shelf (got it from savers for $7 years ago) and John just screwed on the two boards to hold up the flags/sign and bam, it’s a cute lemonade stand.  Once you have a cute, sturdy lemonade stand, you’ll be able to use it for years to come.  I also include cute napkins with each purchase to make them feel like it’s more worth their money.

Market :: A few days beforehand I email a ton of my friends to let them know my kids will be hosting a lemonade stand.  I tell them the date and time to expect and I tell them what will be for sale (as in, if there will also be baked goods) and I tell them exactly how much each item will cost.  This way they can have it on their schedule or at least in the back of their minds and they know how much money to send with their babies.  I’ll also spam them with one more email the day before and maybe even one the morning of.  We have very supportive friends and an awesome community who love showing up for their friends and encouraging little kids, so marketing always pays off for us.

Variety :: Lemonade is great and all, but if you have the time then why not add some baked goods in there too?!  This will add to your workload in preparing for the lemonade stand, but it will only increase how much your babies make in their selling efforts.  I have a classic chocolate chip cookie recipe that I always make for our lemonade stands and one batch makes over 100 cookies! So even though it takes a couple-hour-chunk out of a morning for me, it is so worth it because the cookies are the main source of income at our stands.  This ensures that my babies see the money rolling in and it validates their hard work and the principle that if you do work hard you do earn money.  I will also sometimes print off the recipe of the baked good that is for sale so that if the customers like it they can bake it at home.  This, like the napkins, just adds to the hospitality of the experience and is a nice little something extra they are getting for their money.

Pricing :: You didn’t hear it from me, but I would encourage any parent who is helping their babies host a lemonade stand to OVERPRICE EVERYTHING.  I’m not talking Disneyland prices or anything, but even if you just raise the prices a little bit you could double or even triple what you pocket because, let’s be honest, you will probably sell the same amount either way.  People will not haggle with a baby selling goodies, it’s just nature.  I do individual prices for everything but also will do package deals where it makes sense for them to buy that instead of things individually.  Basically, it’s up-selling your customers and this is where it starts raining!  For example, we do $.50 per glass of lemonade, $.75 per cookie, $1.00 for 2 cookies, and in the future I will do $1.50 for 1 glass of lemonade and two cookies and a “family package” of 4 cups of lemonade and 8 cookies for $5.00.  Other tips: I pre-pour all the cups of lemonade and I only use 6 oz. cups at most.  Also, try to keep all the prices even so that making change isn’t a fuss for your babies.  

Location and Timing :: Even if you have to load up your wagon or van and trek a few blocks, make sure you do all this in a busy area at a busy time of day! We’ve done this on a weekday and made $7 and we’ve done it on a weekend and made over $30 in less time.  If you market effectively you should be able to draw customers no matter what, but it’s definitely worth optimizing timing and location so you maximize payoff.  A weekday could work but I would suggest doing it as school is getting out so that as kids walk home past your stand they will want to run home for money and come back, or do it after dinner when families are playing outside together.  It’s just all part of being business-minded for your babies!

Like I said, if your babies are as young as mine you will end up doing the majority of the work in preparing and executing a successful lemonade stand.  But just try to somehow include your kids in each step so they feel like it is their project. Then, when they go to buy their toys with money they have worked hard for, they will feel the satisfaction that comes from earning something themselves.  They will feel the satisfaction that comes from working hard!  Let me know if you try these tips with your babies this summer, and good luck to you and your little bizkids!