By Francesca Cassola, Sophomore Franklin & Marshall College & KidBacker Intern
Sisters Julia (18) and Nina (14) Mewborne, creators of Las Hermanas Ice Cream, have embraced an entrepreneurial spirit from the start. When they were younger, they hosted lemonade stands and sold bracelets, but now, they fully operate their own ice cream truck! Able to manage their time working hard in school and having other jobs, the sisters drive around their community in Texas selling ice cream, popsicles, and iced coffee, donating 10% of each purchase to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The sisters chose this association because their grandfather, who always encouraged their entrepreneurial activities, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s ten years ago. The Statesman and Community Impact have all recognized Las Hermanas’ impressive contribution to their community.
You can check out their creativity for yourself by watching their YouTube Video.
KidBacker: What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?
Julia Mewborne: To me, being an entrepreneur means creating a successful business that came from an original idea.
Nina Mewborne: Being an entrepreneur means that you are independent, strong and that you can start your own business all by yourself, but with the help of others.
KB: What initiated the idea to start your business?
JM: We had always joked about running an ice cream truck (initially, we had talked about just getting a golf cart and picking some ice cream up at the convenient store) but last summer an ice cream truck drove through our neighborhood, and we realized that we could totally do that ourselves. So we did.
NM: When we were little, we went to visit our cousins in North Carolina, and experienced an ice cream truck there. We have been inspired ever since to start our own ice cream truck in the Texas summer heat.
KB: How did you fund your business?
JM + NM: Our parents loaned us the seed money to get things rolling including money to buy the truck and many other things needed to start our business.
KB: What were the biggest challenges you faced when launching your business? How did you overcome them?
JM + NM: Finding the correct and useful information to operate a food truck was pretty challenging. Some websites said we needed some permits, and others denied that. Eventually, we went into the health department and the tax office to get the right info. Also, finding a vehicle that fit our needs was difficult. We kept looking online for a used ice cream truck or postal truck, but those tended not to run well enough or were located out of state. In the end, we bought a cargo van from a dealership.
KB: What tools do you wish were available to you when you launched your business but weren’t?
JM + NM: Since our business is so new, not many things are now available that weren’t before. We used the internet a lot (for research, communication, marketing) so we are super glad that it’s around.
KB: How did you secure your first customers?
JM + NM: We were pretty vocal about us starting our business, so all of our neighbors knew in advance when we started our first day. Also, our mom sent out a message to all her friends on Facebook, so we just were kind of on call the first day. It was really fun!
KB: Do you have any mentors? If so, who? How do they help you? On what frequency?
JM + NM: I wouldn’t say we have any mentors in particular however we had so much help with our business. Our parents were a huge help with finances, branding, marketing, accounting, etc. Also, our neighbors were super helpful and supportive. One neighbor made our logo for us, and another made our menu board.
KB: If you had three tips to give other young people who want to start their own business, what would they be?
JM: Know when to ask for help or advice (don’t be afraid to do so), and be adaptable (not everything is going to work out perfectly, and that’s ok).
NM: Believe in yourself, enjoy what you are doing, make every step a learning step.
KB: Why should young people consider becoming entrepreneurs?
JM + NM: Young people should become entrepreneurs because it is fulfilling and rewarding. It is an awesome feeling to be able to run your own business. Also, young people have a perspective that adults may lack, you can come up with your own ideas (they may not always be plausible, but they are always valid!).
- It is important to be informed about the legal aspects of selling something, especially a food product.
- To be successful, you must get the word out about what you are doing to friends and family so that your business can gain some traction.
- Every time an entrepreneur faces an obstacle or failure, they must learn from it instead of being discouraged by it.
Julia and Nina’s Crowdfunding Campaign
Julia and Nina contribute a portion of their sales to The Alzheimer’s Association. They are asking for additional support through their crowdfunding campaign on KidBacker. Please donate if you share their passion to finding a cure by clicking here.
Las Hermanas At-a-Glance
Location: Austin, TX
Founders’ Ages: 14 and 18 years old
Business: Ice Cream Truck
Mission: To delight people with delicious cold treats in the Texas summer heat
Launched: May 2015
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