Rolling Out

How Nailah Ellis leveraged her business with help from Kevin Hart and Beyoncé

How Nailah Ellis leveraged her business with help from Kevin Hart and Beyoncé
Nailah Ellis (Photo credit: Jacob Lewkow for Ellis Isle Inc.)

Most entrepreneurs dream of angel investors to take their business to the next level, but to have the support of two of the biggest stars on the planet is beyond the imagination. Nailah Ellis-Brown owns, Ellis Isle the largest Black female and independently owned beverage company in the U.S. The successful company went viral after Beyonce listed the tea on her website and later Kevin Hart became an investor.

Rolling out talked with Ellis-Brown about her “why,” her future plans and how she attracted the support of the Queen Bey.

What inspired you from your Jamaican history to create Ellis Isle Tea? 

Ellis Isle is directly connected to my lineage. It’s a combination of my paternal family’s name and the path in which our family began our American journey. My great grandfather was a Jamaican immigrant who came to America through Ellis Island in the early 1900s. He brought this tea recipe and so many other Jamaican traditions with him. He entrusted this tea recipe to our family, but understood its value. It all started from a Jamaican island, and now it’s on shelves for the world to experience. 

Business coaches ask entrepreneurs about their “why” when they go into business. What is your why? 

I understood my “why” as soon as I realized I didn’t want to be in the corporate chain chasing promotions and building someone else’s dream. I’ve always been aware of what entrepreneurship could afford me, and that is freedom. This life, while it hasn’t been an easy journey by far, it’s pushed me to think deeper, be more creative, and left me no options but to hustle and get it done. As previously mentioned, my family’s name will be carried on because of this business and be a part of my children’s legacy.  

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