She is the proud maker of Ellis Island Tea and is the only female African American beverage maker in the United States. The Detroit entrepreneur even has her own manufacturing plant. Her family recipe for Jamaican Sweet Tea can now be found in every Sam’s Club location in the country!

In 2008, Nailah was a 20-year-old college dropout and was living in her mom’s basement. But the savvy business woman knew her recipe for Jamaican Sweet Tea, handed down from her great-grandfather, was gold dust. Each night Ellis-Brown would brew tea in her mother’s kitchen and sell it from a cooler in the trunk of her car around Detroit. “People would see me and say ‘Hey aren’t you that Lemonade Girl?’ and I’d say ‘No, I make tea,” Ellis-Brown told the Milwaukee Community Journal.

“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. 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.” Ellis-Brown’s business is now booming. She is the only African American female beverage maker in the United States with her own manufacturing plant. Her state-of-the-art facility also provide services for other small beverage companies.

This led to her inking a huge deal for her Jamaican Sweet Tea to be stocked in every Sam’s Club location.

“This Sam’s Club order is by far the biggest order I’ve received in my 10 years in business,” Ellis-Brown said. “It’s exciting to have our plant operational every day almost ‘round the clock. I know I am creating jobs for fellow Detroiters, which has been one of my goals since I opened my plant in 2014.” “We’re heading into summer so the timing couldn’t be better,” Ellis-Brown said. “Ellis Island Tea is the perfect party beverage for summer celebrations, backyard barbecues or holiday festivities. It is an antioxidant rich, beautiful red tea with a smooth, exotic flavor. It offers iced tea lovers a fresh, innovative beverage made from all-natural ingredients.” Ellis-Brown has earned national recognition for her innovative business. She made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2016 and the  Forbes All-Star List in 2017. For more details about Ellis Island Tea, visit


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