For most of us, a lemonade stand is the first taste of what it’s like to run a business—and make a few dollars to buy books or candy. For ten-year-old Katarina Forstmann, it’s a true passion. The Greenwich local has been selling lemonade since she was three (yes, really!) and giving the proceeds to charity. She’s particularly inspired by the Robin Hood Foundation, which fights poverty in New York City, and its founder Paul Tudor Jones, who once stopped by her stand. To find out more about her fundraising efforts, Serendipity spoke with Katarina, who will do her next stand on June 4th from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the top of Stanwich Road where it meets Taconic Road.
Tell us about your first lemonade stand. When was it? My first lemonade stand was when I was three. I did it for the charity the Make-A-Wish foundation. All my lemonade stands ever since have been for charity—even if I am helping a friend on their lemonade stand, I donate my money that I raise to a charity.
What inspires you to give back to the community? My mom has been an inspiration to me because she volunteered for Memorial Sloan Kettering and the Make-A-Wish foundation. I wanted to be like her and help people who are less fortunate then I am. Those people were in need of my help so I went to work. When I meet Mr. Tudor Jones [the founder of Robin Hood] he inspired me and he still does now. I wanted to help Robin Hood just like he does.
Do you make your own lemonade, and sell anything else? I make homemade lemonade. We also sell homemade cookies, painted shells, painted pots with flowers in them, canvases, signs, necklaces, headbands and several different kinds of bracelets. One time, I got some beads from a charity in Africa and I made bracelets out of those beads, too, so we were able to help two charities, which was great! We have all different prices, but we accept any and all donations and we appreciate everyone who stops. Every penny counts!
Do any of your friends pitch in and help out at your stand? I have lots of friends who help out with my charity stands. My friends, Natlaie, Avery and Lily come over for a craft playdate and help me make crafts sometimes. My school, Greenwich Country Day, also is very helpful and supports me in all that I do…plus my mom!
What’s your favorite part about doing the lemonade stand? My favorite part is on the actual day and working the stand. I love jumping up and down with my friends and waving our signs and getting cars to stop. I love selling all the goodies to people and watching them enjoy them. I enjoy telling all the people who stop about the charity we are helping. I would stay out all day and have lemonade stands all the time if I could.
What’s the toughest part? The toughest part is getting ready and setting up, but luckily I have a couple nice friends, Scott and Billy, who help me move my stand and set up. Also, I am always hoping for a sunny day. Otherwise there are no obstacles in my way.
What business lessons have you learned along the way? I have learned the best way to get cars [to stop] is to show your enthusiasm and believe in what you are doing and your cause.
Will you do your stand all summer? I will have my stands on June 4th and June 18th. I try to do one in September for childhood cancer awareness and in October for breast cancer awareness month.
What other charities do you help raise money for? Make-A-Wish foundation, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, ASPCA, and ALS. I want to do a stand for Autism Speaks, as well. I did an orangutan diorama and raised money for Save the Orangutan, too. I also donated 12 inches of my hair to Locks of Love, and I do community service at my school.
What job or career do you think you might like? I would love to start my own company and sell my products and give money to charity when I am older. There are so many great causes; I wish I could help all people less fortunate. When I am just a little bit older, I would love to volunteer at a charity.
For more inspiring business stories, be sure to check out Serendipity’s June issue on newsstands June 1st.