Aloe Aloe, new drink is going down well
When teenager Dymare Simons launched his own healthy drink business, Aloe Aloe a month ago, a mentor warned him he’d lose sleep, money and friends.
“He was so right,” the 17-year-old laughed. “I have sacrificed sleep, my social life and money as well.”
But it has all been worth it.
Mr Simons has been doing so well with Aloe Aloe, he’s now thinking of taking a gap year from his first year of college in England.
“I want to continue with the business” he said. “My parents are really encouraging me.”
He sells Aloe-based drinks on the upper floor of the Washington Mall, near Heel Quik, five days a week. Drinks come in three flavours, blueberry, hibiscus, and cucumber and mint.
“I wanted people to have healthy snacks and cut down on food and drinks with preservatives, so I thought about incorporating something with aloe in it,” he said. “People often ask me if the drinks are bitter. They aren’t. They are actually quite sweet and quite refreshing.”
He looked up recipes online and then tweaked them to come up with the Aloe Aloe beverages. It took him a couple of tries to come up with the right taste.
“At first they either came out too sweet or too tart, so I had to find something right in the middle,” he said. “Originally, I felt a bit frustrated but through the support and encouragement of my family I was able to stay motivated.”
He got the idea to sell drinks contained aloe, from his great grandmother, Mary Iris, who was well known for drinking aloe and also putting it on her skin after getting a sunburn.
“I never saw her use it, but I heard about it from my family,” Mr Simons said.
Having spent several years of his childhood in England, Mr Simons wasn’t completely familiar with aloe.
“I had an idea of what it was,” he said. “But when I came back to Bermuda I had to refamiliarise myself with it.”
He thought an aloe drink would go over well in Bermuda, because the plant is already well known on the island for its healing properties.
“Aloe isn’t really anything new to Bermuda,” he said. “A lot of people use it, so if I put it in a drink I had a feeling that people would buy it. So far that theory has proven me right. I have sold 700 drinks in three weeks.”
He’s getting a lot of return customers, and sometimes they buy in large batches.
There have been days this summer when he has run out of juices sooner than expected. He had to go back to the kitchen he works out of at the Leopard’s Club on Brunswick Street.
“The biggest challenge is keeping up with demand,” he said. “Every day I am getting new customers.”
At the moment, his sales are cash only, but he is looking to invest in a credit card machine.
He sells his drinks out of a specially designed cooler on wheels.
“The cart was my auntie’s. Brand Lion designed the logo for the cart, and then Island Press offered to put it onto the cart for free.”
It is a little challenging to push it around, but he’s got used to it.
When he brings it to work in the morning in a taxi, it takes three people to lift it into the vehicle.
Mr Simons received $900 in start-up money through the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation summer student entrepreneurship programme.
“That is to get all your supplies, logos and business cards,” he said. “Most of the money went towards the bags and the logos. In the future I’d like to expand the business. I have not thought that far, but I would like to get a machine to put the juices into the bags and seal them. It’s not complicated to get the juice in, but it takes a long time.”
In the coming months he plans to launch phase two of the business by releasing skin care items.
He sells his drinks Monday to Friday from 11am to 3pm for $7.25 a bag.
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