WESTPORT — With summer in full swing, two Staples High School graduates have come up with a refreshing way to help pay for college — a lemonade stand.
Melanie and Preston Lust, 17, began selling lemonade this past weekend, with proceeds going toward their tuitions this fall. Melanie will attend Northwestern University to pursue journalism, while Preston will study linguistics at Princeton University.
Melanie said their entrepreneurial spirit started after pursuing several different jobs to help raise funds for college. The twins split time baby sitting and tutoring before deciding to pursue their own business.
“We also walked downtown looking for places to work,” she said. “Maybe this is too ambitious of us, but we wanted something that would be more than minimum wage.”
The two hope to raise a couple thousand dollars over the summer to cover tuition costs, and in turn providing refreshing lemonade, cookies and tea to their customers.
“Westport is a really great summer town,” she said. “We thought a lemonade stand would work since it’s the summer.”
Their efforts follow a trend among other young Westporters who have chosen an entrepreneurial route in making money this summer. The siblings have also set up an Instagram page at www.instagram.com/westport.lemonade to raise awareness for the business.
For now, the two have set up shop on Grace Salmon Memorial Park. When the stand first opened Saturday, there were nearly 40 customers.
“It went so well we decided to keep it open for the summer,” Melanie said of the early success.
Preston said they plan to travel to different locations around town, and keep record of how many customers they get to learn which areas have the best traffic.
Since the business venture began, the twins have woken up around 6:30 a.m. each day to start brewing tea, bake cookies and make lemonade, which takes about an hour. They then arrive at the park at 8 a.m. and work until 6 p.m.
“I feel like taking a business into your own hands it gives you a lot more control. You can direct it the way you want,” Preston said. “It allows you to be more connected and passionate about the work you’re doing.”
To alert people passing by, the siblings wave American flags and try to direct any traffic toward the lemonade stand.
“I’d like to say we have pretty aggressive marketing tactics,” Melanie joked.
While the twins have worked together numerous times throughout their lives, Melanie said starting a business was their most successful project.
“We’ve definitely learned a lot,” she said. “It’s really fun to start something completely by yourself and have it be successful on your own times.”