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Ellis Island Tea CEO Nailah Ellis discusses new partnership with Kevin Hart

How have you been able to sustain your business during the pandemic?

The first two weeks, we weren’t getting many orders so that scared us. … It wasn’t that people weren’t looking for the product, it just wasn’t making it to the shelves because all the focus went to hand sanitizer and things of that nature. Once they were able to get a flow, our sales doubled and then ended up tripling. We’re doing pretty good despite the pandemic. We recently revamped our website so that we could get the e-commerce together, so people can order from anywhere in the country and have products delivered directly to their door.

Tell us about your new business partnership with Kevin Hart.

My mentor is good friends of a friend of Kevin Hart’s bodyguard, who is from Detroit. I got on the phone with his bodyguard, and we connected. He said, “In the 12 years that I’ve been working with Kevin, I’ve always stayed in my lane.” He ended up calling me and saying he’d mentioned it to Kevin and that he’s interested. It took a few months, but I jumped on a plane before Christmas, and I went to California. I told my family I wasn’t coming home until I have a partnership with Kevin Hart. I was sitting across the table from him three days after I got there, and within a 15-minute conversation, he was in. He tried the product, and he loved it. He’s going to be helping us on the marketing side to increase our product awareness.

Check out her business at

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