U.S. News

Juice Online Marketplace With lemonade.com

Linda R. Sittenfeld, Senior Producer

If you've ever wondered how you might tap into the multi-million-dollar Internet sales market, lemonade.com could be for you. It's a virtual lemonade stand offering a far broader market than you ever had as a kid.

Lemonade.com CEO Tom Zawacki explains.

What is lemonade.com?
It's just like when we were kids and we all set up lemonade stands, or at least bought lemonade from a lemonade stand. Our parents helped us and we set up on the corner in our neighborhood. Except now the internet has given us access to a global community. So people put it on a new streetcorner neighborhood, namely Facebook, MySpace and like that.

How did you come up with this idea?
There is $170 billion floating around on the Internet. $150 billion in retail e-commerce, and $20 billion in online advertising. There are roughly 120 million individuals who are authors of content, on social network sites, blogging, etc. The next 10 years of the Internet will be owned by the individual. But those individuals are not making one dollar of that $170 billion. Lemonade allows individuals to set up shop and earn some of that money.

How do you start your lemonade stand?
You go on the site and follow some easy steps. You name and design your stand -- let's say "Steve's Sport Shop." Then you drag and drop from our retailers into your stand. Then select a promotion. You're done.

Why would retailers want to have you as a middle man?
They already do it with affiliate and online ad programs. We're just making it possible for individuals to do it too. It's a huge new sales channel retailers don't have access to right now.

Lemonade stand owners can choose from over 1.5 million products and offers in our database. These products and offers come from the world's largest retailers & advertisers including Macy's, Nordstrom, iTunes and many more. Lemonade is adding new products and offers every day. In addition, Lemonade plans to allow lemonade stand owners to sell their own products in 2008.

Who uses lemonade.com?
Lemonade is for everyone. Lemonade is for kids of any age. We see many kids set up lemonade stands as a project with their parents. Hopefully Lemonade can become the new paper route. We have three other specific user groups:

  • 18-25 year old "social animals." They are on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Ning and more
  • 25-45 year old "super-moms." They are setting up lemonade stands and e-mailing their friends to visit their Lemonade Stand Welcome Page; and
  • 25-45 year old "resident experts." They are lemonade stand owners with an expertise in technology or business who set up their lemonade stand on their successful blogs.

How much money can you make with a lemonade stand? Does lemonade.com take a cut?

Lemonade stand owners currently make anywhere from $30-$50 per month from their Lemonade Stand. Some make more and some make less, but at the end of the day it is up to the Lemonade Stand owner. They succeed by telling all of their friends and family about their stand, updating their products often, and placing their stand on a highly-trafficked, popular site like Facebook or a personal Web site or blog. And yes, lemonade.com gets a 20 percent commission.

Are there ways to use lemonade.com besides making a little money?
Some set up lemonade stands to make money. Others do it to make a wish list. Kids did it at Christmas. They get the stuff they want, and the commissions from the retailers as well! People do it as their wedding registry, take the commissions and go on a honeymoon. People do it on behalf of a favorite charity. If a Lemonade Stand makes, say $20 a month, that's enough to feed a starving child in Africa. People do it to raise funds, like for the marching band to go on a trip.

Where do get your funding? And how's business?
We launched in October of 2007 and business is great. There are 25,000 lemonade stands in the marketplace. We're angel and self-funded right now and will likely look for investment capital in the near future to expand.