Movie star and comedian, Kevin Hart, is known for using his coins to invest in startups. This time he’s expanding his investment portfolio via a partnership deal with Ellis Island Tea, a Black-owned tea company headed by Nailah Ellis.
According to Cision PRWeb, Ellis Island Tea’s humble beginnings resonated with Hart and inspired him to invest. At age 20, Ellis started brewing tea in her mother’s kitchen using a recipe handed down by her great grandfather, Cyril Byron, a Jamaican native who arrived in America 100 years ago by way of Ellis Island.
“Cyril’s story is one of a true risk taker. He came here with nothing but his dreams,” Ellis said, according to PRWeb. “He went on to become a head chef on Marcus Garvey’s Black Star Line and then the owner of Byron Caterers, one of the most successful Black-owned catering businesses in the Bronx.”
Ellis’ entrepreneurial journey started with selling her homemade tea out of the trunk of her car, a hustle that reminded Hart of his grind when working small comedy night clubs.
“There were a lot of people pulling for Nailah,” Hart said, according to the press release. “Her name just kept coming up and coming across my radar. So, I figured there had to be something to it.”
Ellis has come a long way from selling out of her car. Currently, she owns a Detroit-based beverage production facility, the largest beverage manufacturer in the United States headed by a Black woman, according to PRWeb.
While Ellis Island Tea is sold in Sam’s Club, Costco, and airport concessioners across the U.S., it is set to make its debut in Walmart this month with Target and CVS distribution coming soon.
Hart’s investment will allow the brand to create new and improved packaging, develop updated e-commerce options, and competitive pricing.
As Ellis adheres to her great grandfather’s motto, “this recipe is to be sold, not told,” she also prides herself on giving back and providing jobs for Detroit residents.
“We all need opportunity,” she said. “I’ve been given mine and now I’m paying it forward and providing that for others.”