Bonding over pickles, mom and daughter launch Pickl – ee’s

By Alicia Hernandez, Liberty High School - TX

It’s common for students to start working in high school, but since the pandemic began last year, many students began their own business.

But while several students turned to sweets, sophomore Emily Thomas took things in a different direction and started Pickl – ee’s.

I just love spending time with my mom so it’s been good,” Emily said.”

— sophomore Emily Thomas

Back in August of 2020, when most students were trying to figure out what the school year was going to be like, Thomas and her family found  time to start something on the side.

“Well, it’s funny, my mom went on a trip with my cousin, and she makes pickles, and my family loves pickles,” Emily said. “So we got home and went to the farmers market, and she wanted to try them and actually before the pickles were even done, I ordered a sticker to put on our lids because I was so excited about it and then I guess we just decided it was gonna be a pickle business, so I posted on Facebook and got like 30 orders and then it just took off I guess.”

Relying primarily on social media to build her customer base, Thomas has also gotten orders from students and staff on campus, such as economics teacher, Fred Kaiser.

“It’s awesome, I love pickles and having them available when I get hungry is also very good,” Kaiser said. “But as an economics teacher, seeing that young of a girl, you know going forward and learning the ins and outs of a business, I think it’s really cool.”

Making a little money isn’t a bad thing for Thomas, but the real payment from Pickl-ee’s comes from the time she gets to spend with her mom.

It gives us a chance to hang out and talk about things that we probably wouldn’t talk about and we just have a good time doing it,”

— mom Erica Thomas

“My favorite part about it is probably, I just love spending time with my mom so it’s been good,” Emily said. “We get to spend time together, and it just gives me something to do, we’ve always been really close, I feel like she’s more like my sister than my mom, so it’s been good, we’ve gotten closer and we get to do more together. I’d say it hasn’t taken a lot of time away from school and sometimes it feels like something I have to do other than something I want to do, but at the end of the day I actually really enjoy doing it and I get to spend time with my mom.”

“My favorite part is watching Emily be responsible and work at something to make money and just make money,” Emily’s mom Erica Thomas said. “It gives us a chance to hang out and talk about things that we probably wouldn’t talk about and we just have a good time doing it.”

This story was originally published on Wingspan on May 10, 2021.