69: From Selling Tea Out of Her Trunk to Selling in Major Retailers: Nailah Ellis-Brown of Ellis Island Tea

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69: From Selling Tea Out of Her Trunk to Selling in Major Retailers: Nailah Ellis-Brown of Ellis Island Tea

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Today’s guest is Nailah Ellis-Brown. I first heard about Nailah from my roommates, Nydia and Stefanie at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

They supported her business as part of the MBAs Across America program that they participated in (and you’ll hear more about this in the episode).

I’ve been fascinated by Nailah every since. A Black Woman from Detroit with Jamaican roots, Ellis-Brown has made a name for herself as part of the Detroit manufacturing renaissance. Her distinctive hibiscus Ellis Island Tea, based on a family recipe and bottled in an urban 4,000 square foot plant, has expanded sales into six airports and locations across 12 Midwestern states along with shelf space in regional retailer Meijer, Whole Foods and most recently Sam Club stores.

She’s been named one of the Forbes 30 Under 30, has been featured on MSNBC for a small business makeover, and she’s only getting started.

Her plan was to go to school, work on wall street then quit and be an entrepreneur. But when she realized the student loan hustle, she wanted no parts of it.

On today’s episode, Nailah gets into:

  • How she’s been able to brew and bottle a recipe steeped in family tradition
  • How she went from selling out of her trunk to selling in Sam’s clb
  • Learning the science behind her
  • How she took a leap of faith and started over from scratch
  • How investing in herself and her business led to big rewards in major brand partnership
  • Plus how she’s continuing to grow her brand

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Google Play

Links mentioned on this episode

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Social Media Info

Connect on Instagram:

Ellis Island Tea@EllisIslandTea

Side Hustle Pro@sidehustlepro


Meet the host:

Nicaila Matthews-Okome

Hi! I’m Nicaila, the Creator and Host of the Side Hustle Pro Podcast. I started Side Hustle Pro when I was a side hustler myself. I was a digital marketer at NPR by day, side hustler by night. Through the powerful stories shared on this show and the courage to launch my own initiatives, I was able to quit my own job and go full time with Side Hustle Pro.

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