Do you remember the feeling you got as a child when you received an unexpected letter from a friend? Or when you received a gift in the mail from your grandparents? Or when somebody left flowers on your doorstep, for no apparent reason? Or when someone high-fived you for an accomplishment that you thought nobody noticed?
That is the idea behind Lemon Letters, the innovative creation of Sherrilyn Bingham, of the Aspen Ward, Kimball East Stake.
“The concept first came to me somewhere in July,” said Sister Bingham. “First, I saw a picture of a coconut, with a message on it. Someone in Hawaii was selling them. Then, a short while later, I read about a man in Texas, who puts messages on potatoes. I thought, ‘What a clever idea. We should do something like that!’”
She remembered how many lemons grew on the trees on her mother’s and grandfather’s property.
“We were always trying to give them away,” Sherrilynn says.
The Binghams—including mom, Sherrilynn; father, Brady; sisters, Becca, 16, and Emily, 14, and younger brother, Aaron, 12—got together as a family to talk about it and to see if they thought letters written on lemons would work. They decided to test it out, to see if it could really be doable. First, they test shipped a package to Brady’s work, then one to their grandmother in Mesa and to their aunt in Utah, to see how the lemons fared during shipping.
“There were a few hiccups in the beginning,” says Sister Bingham, “like when we found out our 4 x 4 boxes had to be replaced with 4 x 6 boxes, to be able to fit the labels and the postage.”
“We wanted it to be a family business, so we could all work together,” says Sister Bingham.
Today, they each help out. Sister Bingham does the writing or artwork, Aaron helps with picking the lemons, Becca takes care of the shipping and Emily does all the social media stuff. Brother Bingham tested out the different versions of recipes for lemonade, until they found the one that was a family favorite.
Along with the help of a graphic designer from work, Sister Bingham got the website launched in August. “Basically, we ship a lemon with a custom message on it,” says Sister Bingham. “Each one comes along with a printed recipe for one serving of lemonade.”
“Some of our customers have come up with very clever messages, too,” says Sister Bingham, “like ‘Sending out good, healthy wishes’ or ‘To my main squeeze, since 2010’ or ‘When life gives you lemons … sorry about your injury.’ Another customers’ sister had just purchased a new car; so the message, delivered on the lemon, was perfect.”
A good portion of the messages are sent anonymously, and the family says that they themselves get a lot of joy from being a part of spreading the happiness and cheer. Their family motto is “Lemon it forward.”
The family was recently featured on the Channel 12 news, after news reporter Emma Jade’s niece received a Lemon Letter in the mail.
For more information about Lemon Letters, contact the Binghams at www.lemonletters.com or on their Facebook page, Lemon Letters (Just For Fun).