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Nielah Burnett brings healthy offering to people in her community

Nielah Burnett brings healthy offering to people in her community
Photo courtesy of Bertrand Ave

Health and wellness are among the highest priorities in most people’s lives, leading to a myriad of opportunities for business owners looking to offer healthy options and create better communities. Specifically, we saw many opportunities for wellness initiatives within Black communities as the pandemic surged on across the country. Nielah Burnett of InnerG Juice & Yoga has been at the forefront of bringing healthy alternatives and raising awareness to improve wellness and help create better communities. Burnett began her journey to healthier eating while attending Clark Atlanta University as a track athlete and hasn’t looked back. Rolling out spoke with Burnett about her passion for health and wellness.

When did you decide to pursue entrepreneurship and focus on health and wellness?

There was a definite moment while in Nashville, [Tennessee] when I realized there was a need. However, I always wanted to have a business. Even as a preteen, it was embedded in me that I could create income for myself. During the summers, I have a family member who, instead of us just being out running around, they’d have us standing on the corner selling sodas and lemonade with my grandmother. She introduced me to the fact that if I had a concept [and] I would be able to develop my own business out of it. It became oriented around health later in life once I got to Nashville and for two particular reasons. In 2011, Nashville wasn’t the healthiest of places, and I didn’t have the same options that I had while living in Atlanta. I also began acknowledging some things that I’m trying to avoid from manifesting health-wise based on family history.

What were some obstacles you faced bringing your product to market?

This concept that eating healthy is akin to trying to be someone else that I wasn’t, and the perception that being healthy and having this negative relationship impact people around me in my community was a unique challenge. Being able to convince people that I was close with, that our food, in some instances, is not helping us live the life we can and creating barriers to that [living a healthy life] was probably my first and most awkward challenge. That became a mirror to a challenge that I found when I began pitching this idea to people who, in some ways, would be invested in it because they would provide a space or help me out with funding.

How has the pandemic impacted your business?

Within the same week of the tornado that hit Nashville in 2020, we started hearing about COVID, and our world was going crazy here. It could have been a time when we stopped, but what came to me was offering people a way to help first responders and front-line personnel stay healthy during the pandemic. We instituted Juice Pay It Forward, where people purchase six-packs of juice from us on behalf of frontline workers and gift it to them. It was wildly successful, and it helped to propel our business.

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