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An old family recipe has landed an entrepreneur a major deal with Sam’s Club. Nailah Ellis-Brown, the creator of Ellis Island Tea, inked a national distribution deal with the wholesale store, Rolling Out reported.

Ellis-Brown entered the realm of entrepreneurship at the age of 20 when she launched her own hand-crafted tea business, the news outlet writes. The vision for her passion project grew and she ended up opening her own manufacturing plant; making her the only Black woman beverage creator to do so.

Coming from Detroit, she says she always was determined to not let her circumstances define her and knew that she couldn’t wait for opportunities to come her way and had to create them herself. “Growing up in Detroit, I knew nothing was going to be handed to me. I expected doors to be closed and knew I would need to work hard and never take ‘no’ for an answer,” she said in a statement according to “I’ve heard ‘no’ but I haven’t let that stand in my way. There is always a way forward.”

Under the deal with Sam’s Club, her family’s Jamaican tea will be bottled and sold at almost every one of their stores across the nation. The recipe for the tea was handed down from her great-grandfather. “There is a lot of history in the recipe for this tea. It was handed down to me from my Great-Grandfather Cyril Byron, who was a Jamaican immigrant. He knew his recipe had value,” said Ellis-Brown. “He passed it down through the generations with the caveat that it was to be ‘sold, not told’ – meaning take the tea to market. I am honoring his legacy every single day with every bottle of Ellis Island Tea I brew and sell.” She added that the Sam’s Club order was the largest one that she’s received since she started her business.

Sam’s Club executives are excited about having her product in their stores. “Bringing high quality, unique items that are exclusive to Sam’s Club is what we’re all about,” said Ed Romero, Sr. Vice President of General Merchandise, Sam’s Club. “We think our members are going to love this item.”

Ellis-Brown’s tea deal comes two years after 11-year-old entrepreneur Mikaila Ulmer inked a multi-million dollar deal with Whole Foods to sell her lemonade.


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