Seattle residents Makayla and Avery, who are ten-year-old twins, are the owners and founders of A&M Jamaican Bag Juice and Beef Patty, an eatery where they sell bag juices in tropical flavors, homemade coco bread, and frozen Jamaican beef patties by appointment through Facebook. They established their business during the COVID-19 pandemic, one of many Seattle pop-up food and beverage options that arose during 2020. The girls sell cooked, frozen patties and give consumers directions on how to reheat them. Those who have tried them say they have the exact flavor and texture of authentic Jamaican patties.
As Makayla noted, a business needs to solve a problem, and the problem A&M Jamaican Bag Juice and Beef Patty addresses is the inability of consumers to find the bag juices and beef patties they enjoyed during a visit to their father’s homeland of Jamaica. Just over two years after that visit, the twins started their business to resolve that problem, and once they opened the business, they searched for customers by bringing their products to the barbershop frequented by their father and learned how important “word of mouth” is to building a customer base in their community.
“Word of mouth is the most powerful thing,” Avery said. The girls utilize the reach of their Facebook page, encouraging customers to leave reviews, and both agree that hearing from the people who enjoy their food is the best part of the business. Praise is particularly pronounced from their Jamaican customers who are glad to get a taste of the home island in the Pacific Northwest.
Makayla and Avery started small, offering just a few juice flavors, but now offer eight flavors, including strawberry pineapple, sorrel ginger and pink guava. After about eight months in business, they began selling frozen patties and have since expanded to offering vegetable and plantain patties in addition to beef. Their newest offering is coco bread, which took some testing until they found the perfect recipe.
Makayla advises other kids who want to open a business to find a good team to work with as it makes everything “Easier, faster, and funner.” Avery cautions them to give serious consideration in how they will manage their money. The girls divide their income into four categories, including one that involves donations to charities, one for investing back in the business, and one for “fun money.”
They both think that the most difficult things about their business is its unpredictable nature and the long drives they must often make to meet their customers.