Family Business Starts Small While Thinking Big
(CEDAR HILL, TX) Kar’Mel McBride had just started the second grade at High Pointe Elementary when she and her older brother, Marquise II, were thinking about creative ideas to start a business.
Natural lemonade came to mind, because the health-conscious family was always looking for nutritious alternatives.
Their father, 2009 Cedar Hill High School Graduate Marquise McBride Sr. became a vegan after working as a Medical Assistant and his children soon followed with a plant-based diet.
The McBride siblings’ ambitions went far beyond the standard lemonade stand that neighbors frequent on hot summer days. They were thinking more along the lines of supply chains and product placement in supermarkets across the country — and possibly, the world.
As Kar’Mel, now 10 years old, enters the fifth grade at High Pointe, the business has taken off. The family creatively named it “Froot Kaves”
“We wanted the name to be a little different,” Marquise II said. “We wanted the word ‘root’ in there because strong roots grow strong trees.”
The McBrides started ‘Froot Kaves’ by hand-cutting organic fruit cups in their kitchen. They have since expanded their operations to a nearby kitchen.
No Sugar added, 20 Different Flavors Available
There are more than 20 different flavors. The youngest siblings, 5-year-old Carmelo, likes to inform everyone of the “no sugar added!” tagline.
The family uses the plant, Agave, as a natural sweetener, in lieu of sugar for Froot Kaves’ 20 flavors (although the family is marketing “five signature flavors” – Original Flavor aka OG Lemonade, Mixed Berry, Blue Kave, Dragon Fruit, Ginger Lemonade.) They also use Alkaline Water in each drink.
Creating a new flavor might be as simple as one of the siblings saying, ‘dad, how about mango and pineapple?”
Something that was just an idea less than three years ago is now available at more than a half-dozen restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex:
Peace, Love, Eatz
Shells & Tails to Geaux
The Holistic Market
Nunos Tacos- Tex-Mex in Dallas
McBrides Audition For Shark Tank
The McBrides recently auditioned for the popular entrepreneurial television show, “Shark Tank,” which includes among its hosts, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. They had to audition, then submit a 25-page application and 10-minute video.
Finding an investment from one of the Sharks will help “Froot Kaves” expand to a larger audience through manufacturing and capital. But the family is clear that they are unwilling to compromise the product’s health-based integrity for the sake of profit.
Although “Shark Tank” would be their national television debut, the McBrides were featured on WFAA’s “Good Morning Texas” earlier this year.
CEDAR HILL ISD ROOTS
Marquise Sr. attended High Pointe and Permenter Middle School before graduating from CHHS where he was a member of the powerlifting team. It was during his time at Permenter that he met his partner, Sarina Daniels, who helps with the business as well.
“Cedar Hill ISD is a beautiful school district,” Marquise Sr. said. “They have anything you want at Cedar Hill. Culinary is the only thing they were missing and now they have it.”
Kar’Mel said she and Marquise II take turns between doing homework and working on the businesses. Their classmates and friends appreciate the McBrides’ dedication to their business, even if it means less time for other extracurricular activities.
While the siblings are at school, Marquise Sr. handles the business, marketing and social media aspects of the company.
“My advice to my children is to start doing what you love and once you master that, it won’t be considered work because you love what you’re doing,” Marquise Sr. said.
Kar’Mel said her classes at High Pointe have been helpful with enriching her skills. She pointed to one class where there was a model banking activity, and she was the lead banker for the whole program.
“It gets you ready for the world,” Kar’Mel said.
High Pointe Principal Shay Whittaker is impressed with Kar’Mel’s skills, inside and outside of the classroom.
“Kar’Mel exhibits the confidence and social emotional skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur,” Whittaker said. “On a daily basis, she demonstrates that she is a critical thinker and independent problem solver.”
Pursuing Many Entrepreneurial Goals
Kar’Mel has many entrepreneurial goals, including the growth of ‘Froot Kaves’.
“I want to have six incomes by age 13,” said Kar’Mel, who plans to start businesses in nails, lip gloss and vending machines.
For Kar’Mel’s birthday this year, Marquise Sr. purchased a vending machine to begin her vending machine business.
The McBride siblings said working as business partners has made them closer. Their long term goal is “creating generational wealth for their children and grandchildren.”
Like most businesses, COVID-19 presented many obstacles. However, Marquise points out to his children, it’s all about how you respond to those challenges.
“We figured out how to adapt and pivot when things got tough,” Marquise Sr. said.