Nailah Ellis-Brown
Ellis Infinity, LLC.
Detroit, MI

"My role model/mentor is Bobbi Brown, CEO of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. She is an amazing woman who started her cosmetics company with less than $10,000 and built it into a multi-million dollar empire. Through her success she has remained extremely humble. I aspire to be just like her in business.”

Fueled with a generations old recipe and a will to thrive, Nailah founded Ellis Infinity LLC in Detroit at age 20, and began producing her Jamaican great-grandfather's hibiscus tea in her mother's kitchen, selling it from a cooler around town. She had a vision to build a beverage company that would offer a high-quality, all-natural product.  Despite her age and lack of credit history, Nailah overcame obstacles - including finding an affordable commercial kitchen to lease - that allowed her to expand her business from her first store, Avalon International Bread, on to larger markets including Whole Foods.
When she outgrew commercial kitchens, Nailah found a private backer to help her fund the renovation of a Detroit factory complete with state-of-the-art beverage equipment. The plant opened this spring. She and her three part-time staff expanded their market beyond Detroit to Chicago and New York and stepped up marketing efforts for the plant’s unique co-packaging services.  Nailah's services are geared specifically for the small beverage companies like her own that have had trouble finding a place to produce their beverages affordably.  Quickly, a flock of small beverage companies sought her help.
Her success is an inspiration to others who dream of entrepreneurship. Nailah has succeeded on the strength of her belief – in her product, in her city, and in the quality she could offer in a niche market.  Her tea is sold on Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty/Liberty Island in the gift shops and cafes.  Nailah does not dream small, and is willing to work to make those dreams reality.

© 2019 Manufacturing Institute
733 10th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001