10-year-old CEO takes lemonade to the next level

Ten-year-old Kinyah Bean is founder and CEO of B Chill Lemonade. The ambitious young entrepreneur runs the business with help from her family — dad Demetrius Braddock as CFO, mom Valerie Braddock as COO and younger brother Demetrius Braddock, Jr. as store manager.

Bean started the business in 2017 and opened her first store earlier this year, which is located inside the Hickory Ridge Mall Towne Centre at 3709 South Hickory Ridge Mall. It's open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Customers can enjoy a glass of lemonade, but B Chill also takes bulks orders and caters parties and events.

Bean and her mom said that while they don't get big rushes of foot traffic at the Towne Centre, formerly the Hickory Ridge Mall, it's a perfect starting point to grow her business and her business skills.

“I used to be shy when I started this company, and this company has allowed me to open up," she said.

“This is a way to get accustomed to daily production, to service the community but also to present a polished presentation," said Valerie Braddock. "It really took the kid out of the business and presented her as a boss."

Like many 10-year-old kids, Bean is bright-eyed and curious, but she also possesses a profound maturity and confidence uncommon among her peers.

B Chill Lemonade offers a variety of flavors including watermelon, strawberry and coconut. (B Chill Lemonade)In addition to B Chill, Bean has written a book on her entrepreneurial experience, attends speaking engagements and has been featured by national news outlets

“I'm an overachiever," she quipped. "If you say I can't do something, then I want to do it better than anyone."

In fact, B Chill began with a challenge from Bean's dad.

“At the age of six, my dad challenged me to start my own company by the age of 10,” said Bean.

She rose to the challenge and surpassed it, starting her business at the age of eight.

“My parents know how to set the fire under me," she added.

learning the business

B Chill Lemonade began in Jackson, Mississippi before relocating to Hickory Hill.

Bean launched her lemonade business by putting fliers on cars and establishing a social media presence. All orders were personally delivered by Bean and her family until they opened the new store. Her parents have been Bean's constant support.

“I'm very proud of her. We have a lot of motivational conversations. You need people around you who are committed to your success,” said Braddock.

Bean also knew if she wanted to succeed, she would have to differentiate her company from throngs of other beverage options available at any supermarket.

“I had to ask, 'What is going to set me apart?,' and that is my flavors," she said. "We have original, coconut, blueberry, peach, raspberry, watermelon, mango and strawberry.”

Bean said watermelon is a favorite of many clients.

“Most of my customers are adults, but it is the kids that influence them,” she said.

Life as a young entrepreneur

Bean is home-schooled to allow her time to run the company. Despite having an established career before most kids start middle school, she does still plan to attend college.

“I love being educated. I still want to get that education,” she said.

She's considering becoming a dentist but still plans to expand B Chill Lemonade across the globe.

Life as a 10-year-old CEO does have its drawbacks. Bean is frequently in business meetings, on business trips and working in the store or behind the scenes to grow the business.

She doesn't have a lot of time for friends her own age.

“Sometimes I want to wake up and be like a normal kid, but I am passionate about what I do,” she said.

“Sometimes you want someone there to share your success with,” said Braddock. “That's what we're here for as her family. We're always here for her.”

Steady Growth

Braddock said the Towne Center has been an excellent location for the business to grow. She noted the family has also seen other businesses opening in Hickory Hill and said that while the area isn't as booming as it once was, there is still positive momentum and opportunity.

For B Chill's development, Braddock said many new entrepreneurs take on too many new roles, inventions or responsibilities too soon and can ruin their business. B Chill is focusing on getting great at the basics.

“That's why we're not selling nachos and hot dogs or anything like that," said Braddock. "She's real good at making lemonade, and that's what will lead to success.”

And as it has been since its start, her success is a family affair.

“My responsibility is to get my job done and make sure my coworkers get their job done,” said store manager, seven-year-old Demetrius Braddock.

In addition to Bean's immediate family, two other relatives assist periodically, and B Chill employs one person who is not related. 

What's Bean's advice to other people interested in starting a new business or exploring a new passion, regardless of their age?

“Be outgoing and try new things. Once you find something you're passionate about, you'll run with it," she said. "If I can do it, you can do it too. If you keep doing what you love, you'll be successful.”
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Read more articles by A. J. Dugger III.

A.J. Dugger III is an award-winning journalist and native Memphian who joined High Ground as lead writer for its signature series, On the Ground, in August 2019. Previously, he wrote for numerous publications in West Tennessee and authored two books, “Southern Terror” and “The Dealers: Then and Now.” He has also appeared as a guest expert on the true-crime series, “For My Man.” For more information, visit ajdugger.net. (Photo by April Stilwell)