Siblings make a strong start in business

  • This stuff tastes good: Ma'Layah Swan, 5, co-owner of Zam's Lemonade (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    This stuff tastes good: Ma'Layah Swan, 5, co-owner of Zam's Lemonade (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

  • Zam's Lemonade: Zan'i Swan (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Zam's Lemonade: Zan'i Swan (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

  • Zam's Lemonade: Ma'Layah (left), Zan'i and Amir Swan (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Zam's Lemonade: Ma'Layah (left), Zan'i and Amir Swan (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

  • Zam's Lemonade: Ma'Layah (left), Zan'i and Amir Swan (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Zam's Lemonade: Ma'Layah (left), Zan'i and Amir Swan (Photograph by Akil Simmons)


Ma’Layah Swan might be only five years old, but already she knows the importance of good marketing.

As the co-owner of Zam’s Lemonade, she hands out business cards to whoever will take one, wherever she goes — birthday parties, the grocery store, waiting for takeout.

The Prospect Primary student has been running Zam’s Lemonade with her older brothers Amir, 12, and Zana’i, 8, since December.

“Ma’Layah had been coming to me all year asking if she could start a lemonade stand,” said the trio’s mother, Malisa Swan.

Ms Swan started her own business, the Bermuda Cup Cake Company selling snowballs, cakes and other goodies in 2010.

“My job as a temp in the human resource department of the Ministry of Education was coming to an end and I needed something else to do,” the 32-year-old said.

Now her children often help her to run the business.

“It got to the point where Ma’Layah said ‘Mummy, I don’t want to help you any more. I want my own business’,” she said.

The children got a lemonade stand as an early Christmas gift last year. The stand is really a pink stall on buggy wheels. It has several machines on top that help to “smash” and compress the lemons they use.

Zam’s offers their lemonade in a range of cup sizes and flavours such as strawberry, mango and cotton candy, among others. They also sell brightly coloured popcorn.

The company name Zam’s, comes from the children’s initials.

“Sometimes people think I’m Zam, since I’m usually the one working,” Amir laughed. “But it’s all of us.”

They have their lemonade stand set up in the front yard of their house on Railway Terrace, off Palmetto Road in Devonshire, but it’s easily transportable.

The Zam’s team made their debut at the Kidpreneur Extravaganza in the BGA gym last December, an event showcasing the wares of junior entrepreneurs.

Ma’Layah was indignant at the idea that she might have felt nervous at their first sales event.

“No,” she shouted, “we were brave! We were so happy to have our lemonade stand.”

Amir, a Dellwood Middle School student was a little nervous at the start of the event, but soon felt comfortable given the fact that the other people at the event were also children with businesses.

“We sold hundreds of lemonades,” he said.

Emboldened by their success they spent the rest of the Christmas season doing pop-ups at various markets, events and parties. They also did the Saturday morning Farmers Market for a while, but are taking a break from that right now. They didn’t like having to be there at 7am on a weekend.

“The hardest part about it is waking up early, loading the van and going down to the job,” Amir said.

All three siblings have their jobs, but in reality the burden of work often falls on him, since his younger siblings are so young.

“Sometimes the younger ones just want to play,” Ms Swan said.

Amir said: “My sister lets me do all the work, then takes my money and says she wants to buy dolls.”

But the trio are in agreement on one front, they want to use the money they earn to travel.

“I want to see Mickey Mouse,” Ma’Layah said.

Ms Swan said people are often amazed when they see Zam’s stall.

“They say ‘let me take a picture’,” Ms Swan said. “They want to know if we’re on Instagram. It is available for photo shoots.”

She thinks it’s the custom-built smasher and compressor machines that make them really unique. She is considering selling copies of them in the future.

Amir said he’d like to expand the business when he grows up.

“I would like to do the same thing but get a bigger building,” he said. “I am going to be an entrepreneur like my mother.”

Ms Swan admitted she has an ulterior motive for giving her children the swanky lemonade stall.

She wants to teach them about the benefits of hard work and managing money.

“The trick is to have them do something they really enjoy,” she said. “But I have to show them how to spend money otherwise they would just go bonkers and buy all the sweets they can.”

For more information see Zam’s Lemonade on Facebook and Instagram

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Published Feb 15, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 14, 2019 at 11:54 pm)

Siblings make a strong start in business

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