Today we’d like to introduce you to Hannah Hollings.
Hi Hannah, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I am Hannah Hollings, an eighth grader at Brentwood Middle School. I operate H3 Lemonade and Treats with my younger sisters, Halle and Harper Hollings and cousin Madison Meadors. The story of how our business was created is pretty unique. In 2019, my family moved to Nashville, TN from Kalamazoo, Michigan. While in Kalamazoo, we would bike to the local Farmers Market every week. We always wanted to start a Lemonade stand there, but the process felt overwhelming and we didn’t have a lot of extra time. We were busy girls on Dance teams, Gymnastics teams, and active with our Girl Scout Troops.
Then, everything changed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. School closed a week before Spring Break and never reopened before Summer Break. All of our camps were canceled and vacations were postponed. We had plenty of time to create and experiment with our lemonade and cookie recipes. We went through lots of recipes and taste tests until we had perfected our Signature Lemon Cookies and Honey Lemonade.
I searched for local open-air farmers’ markets that were starting to reopen in the area. After a few rejections, H3 Lemonade and Treats was finally granted a spot at “Farmin’ in the Hall.” We packed up a folding table, old coolers, and a tent we used for cross country races. We also used our Easter Baskets to display our products and sat one single lemonade in the middle of the table. Our biggest investments were packaging materials that would work with the Covid-19 restrictions and a Square which allowed us to take credit cards. We sold out in 45 minutes. We were beyond excited about our new business and spent the rest of the market behind our masks talking to the market goers about H3 Lemonade. That was the beginning.
After a successful first market, we expanded to East Nashville Farmers Market and have since become recurring vendors at several Nashville Area Farmers Markets. We are now in our third year of business. Many opportunities have come our way. We have done private events, created holiday cookie boxes and worked with other small businesses to expand our reach. Most recently, we collaborated with 5th & Broad as their featured Lemonade Stand for their Spring “Shop & Stroll”.
H3 Lemonade is grateful that we have been successful enough to grow our business, have a little fun and support local charities. We support other young black girls by donating 5% of our profits to Black Girls Code. This market season, we plan to continue to support the local community through our philanthropic venture, Lemons 2 Lemonade, where we will donate 10% profits. Even though Covid-19 gave us lemons, we have learned to make H3 lemonade.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
One of our challenges is that we sell perishables. Our fresh homemade lemonade has a limited shelf life and our cookies do not last for more than 2-3 days. We do our best to estimate the amount of product we need at each event to maximize our profits. Sometimes we can be in a situation where we have too little or too much product. With more experience, we have learned to ask more questions about the foot traffic of a particular market. Sometimes we just go visit the market and feel the location out.
Additionally, time can become a factor because our goods are perishable as well. Back when we started in 2019, because of Covid-19, we had bottomless hours to prepare for market. But now, because we are back at school and have a full schedule, it can be difficult to produce and package products for multiple markets each week. We love being entrepreneurs and running a business, so we have had to streamline our production. Sometimes that can mean less variety, but we are able to produce high quality treats.
Lastly, we are obviously not legal adults. In order to obtain licenses, insurance, and even a bank account, we need help from our parents. Currently, we depend on my mom to transport our business to and from all of our venues. Until I get a license or a driver, this is how we will roll.
I am aware that businesses have challenges and have to grow and change to compete with other similar businesses. H3 Lemonade is ready for the challenge! I am constantly looking for new venues, new opportunities, networking and marketing.
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about H3 Lemonade & Treats?
We are a black-owned, girl-owned, small business. We offer a menu of freshly made treats and lemonade, made with all natural ingredients, at each of our events. Our lemonade has a wonderfully unique flavor from the honey we use to sweeten it. The lemonade is prepackaged into single-serve pouches to make it more portable for market-goers during the COVID-19 precautions that limited food and beverage intake on site, but it has become one of our cool trademarks. We are excited about the Raspberry Lemonade introduced last summer because it has become our best seller. If you want a real treat, plan to try our Signature Lemonade Cookies that are hand-glazed and taste like summertime.
So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
You can support H3 Lemonade by following us on Instagram @h3lemonade. There, you can find out where we will be next to try our products and enjoy a taste of summer. Please feel free to contact us directly through instagram or email us at email@example.com to collaborate! We do private events, fundraisers, catering, bulk orders, and more.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org