Eli Tea brews success with Blackstone LaunchPad

Elias Majid took his love of tea and turned it into an up-and-coming business.

But being the first in his family to explore the entrepreneurial spirit, the 26-year-old Wayne State nutrition and food science major needed help to take hisEli Tea company from paper to brick and mortar. That’s where WSU’s Blackstone LaunchPad program came in.

Blackstone helps students jump-start their own businesses with free training, consulting services and sometimes seed capital. Through Blackstone, 137 student entrepreneurs have launched new ventures.

Majid (pictured) credits Aubrey Agee, Blackstone LaunchPad’s senior program administrator, with bringing Eli Tea to fruition.

“He’s the backbone behind Blackstone. He’s the one who is interfacing directly with students on a daily basis,” Majid said. “He guided me through things such as how to sell my product, marketing and working out partnerships with other businesses.”

Eli Tea earned $3,000 dollars in seed money from Blackstone’s Warrior Fund. Majid used the cash to buy equipment and marketing materials such as banners and a five-gallon carafe to supply his tea at trade shows. “I can now do trade shows that bring me up to speed with the big guys,” he said.

Majid said he’s always been interested in nature, health and science topics. “But I wanted to create my own job where I could do that every day,” he said. “That’s what brought me to tea.”

Located at 108 S. Old Woodward Ave. in Birmingham, Eli Tea makes its own organic teas and features American-sourced herbals and selected teas from around the world. Only real ingredients are used, and you won’t find anything artificial (flavorings or syrups) in Majid’s brews, according to Eli Tea’s website.

Teas are available in four collections: American herbals, hand-blended chai, international classics and homeopathic blends. Currently, Eli Tea supplies more than 20 metro Detroit stores and restaurants.

“I am a tea drinker, but now I take it to a whole new level,” Majid said. “Pitching tea to Detroit has been an interesting experience with a lot of product education. I’m trying to modernize it, make it more inviting and an everyday experience.”

But the hardest challenge is a personal one.

“Making that commitment to start your own business is a huge leap. Saying you want to start a tea company is crazy,” Majid said. “Doing something that’s not a traditional desk job is a lot to think about, but there’s no turning back.”

For hours and more information, visit Eli Tea's website. Have a business idea of your own? Reach out to Blackstone LaunchPad.