Nailah Ellis-Brown anchors her great grandfathers name into Sam’s Club. She not only makes her great grandfathers name great, but as a 20 year old college drop out, she has strived far for herself. Ellis-Brown herself had earned national recognition for her business acumen and her brand, landing on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2016, making Forbes All-Star List in 2017 and appearing on The Root 100 list last year. 

Nailah’s great-grandfather, Cyril Byron, immigrated to the United States from Jamaica via Ellis Island. He worked as the chief chef on the Yarmouth, a ship in the Black Star Line, where he brewed and served his own recipe of hibiscus tea and herbs. According to him, his recipe was “meant to be sold—not told,” and that is exactly what his great-granddaughter, Nailah, is doing.

Nailah is the first person in her family to bottle and retail her great-grandfather’s hibiscus sweet tea recipe. Her brewing and bottling operation is done in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan.

Revamping her great grandfathers tea took changes to the look of the bottle. Originally,
The Tea label was displayed with a white circle with the words “ellis island tropical tea” on it in thin lettering. Hibiscus flowers surrounded the circle. Nailah thought of a bolder way to make the brand stick out, therefore creating a new and fun look to the bottle. The tea brand now incorporates more colors and includes more information about the tea to showcase its authenticity. It features the Yarmouth, beneath which are the words “Jamaican Sweet Tea.” Hibiscus flowers appear beneath the lettering. “Ellis Island Tea” stands out  above the ship image with “Bottled Bliss” highlighted below it. The ingredients—hibiscus, rosehips, mint and honey—are prominent at at the label’s top.

Ellis Island Tea was recently only sold in 300 stores, but eventually marked a deal with Sam’s Club. Nailah turned her great grandfather’s dream into reality.

Ellis-Brown is the only African American female beverage maker in the United States with her own manufacturing plant. Since she has opened her facility, she’s been able to provide services for other small beverage companies who can’t afford the minimum batch requirements of larger production outlets.
Nailah is someone you should know.

More facts at World Tea News


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