High Growth Happy Hour, Startup Week edition, feat. DROUGHT & Ellis Island Tea

Detroit Masonic Temple

May 23, 2017 , 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Join Model D Media, the New Economy Initiative, TechTown, and Endeavor Detroit for a special Detroit Startup Week edition of High Growth Happy Hour featuring Nailah Ellis, founder of Ellis Island Tea, and Julie James, co-founder & CMO of DROUGHT Juice.

Ellis Island Tea and DROUGHT Juice are two of Detroit’s fastest growing beverage brands. We’re excited to hear from these women founders about how they’ve launched and grown their companies.

About Julie James, co-founder & CMO of DROUGHT

Julie earned a BBA from the University of Michigan-Dearborn majoring in marketing and management. After opening her first business, a yoga studio in Birmingham, at the age of 23, she took a brief hiatus to raise her now 7-year-old daughter Stella. In 2011, she formed DROUGHT with her sisters Cait, Jessi, and Jenny. Drought is the Midwest’s first raw organic juice company, now with five brick-and-mortar locations. The company has sold over half a million bottles of raw juice through its retail storefronts and e-commerce site, managing to become the leading homegrown juice brand in the Midwest without stepping foot outside Michigan. The company has taken the crucial first step to becoming a national brand with the recent launch of a wholesale line for distribution in specialty food retailers, restaurants, hotels and cafes across the country. DROUGHT was named an Endeavor Detroit company in December 2016.

About Naihlah Ellis, founder of Ellis Island Tea

Nailah Ellis-Brown is the founder of Ellis Infinity, LLC, maker of Ellis Island Tea. The 29-year-old was born, raised, and educated in the Motor City, where she now runs her fast-growing beverage businesses. Her drinks are derived from a family recipe for hibiscus tea that was passed down from her Jamaican great-grandfather, who was master chef for Marcus Garvey’s Black Star Line. Nailah began her business back in 2008, selling bottles of tea from a cooler in the trunk of her car. In 2014, she opened her first beverage production and co-packaging facility in Detroit. Today, Ellis Island Tea is sold in nine states in more than 300 markets, including Whole Foods, Meijer and Kroger. Her products are also available in several airports and on


6-6:30 p.m. – Networking & drinks

6:30-7:30 p.m. – Casual chat and Q&A with attendees

—–> Please RSVP on Eventbrite if you can join us: Space is very limited for this special event. Drinks and light appetizers will be served.

This installment of Issue Media Group’s High Growth Happy Hour series is presented in partnership with New Economy Initiative. The series brings together southeast Michigan’s aspiring entrepreneurs and founders who have successfully scaled companies.