Written By: Christine Garcia
Kishana Mills is the founder and CEO of Tropical Harvest Slushies and Juices, a plant based/natural juice beverage company she started after she felt a calling to do something different in her life. Mills felt like a change was on the horizon and necessary for her own life in order to be completely fulfilled and so came about Tropical Harvest Slushies and Juices. Mills even recalls asking God to help her “ bring forth something from all of the experience and knowledge that [she has]”. After spending years making natural juices for her family and friends, the first thing that came to mind was to bottle the juice and sell it to others outside of her close circle so that they too could enjoy the delicious flavor her natural juices have to offer.
Her talents in making the juice as well as her motivation, did not just develop overnight. Mills was born and raised in a farming community where she was brought up by her grandmother who would use her husband’s farm produce to make various different things around the house, all of which Mills found to be “intriguing and exciting”. She also found these things to be incredibly astounding as well being that not only did they carry an amazing flavor, but they were packed in nutrients when store-bought food items or juices were not. Later, after having children of her own, she was faced with her son, who was an incredibly reluctant eater and refused to eat what simply did not look and taste appetizing to him. Her solution was then to implement the juices as a way to entice him to eat more of what she was offering as a meal. Lucky for Mills, this worked incredibly well, not just for her son, but for the other children within her family and friend groups as well. In fact, it came to the point where everyone began asking her for juice. This love for her juice is then what inspired her to sell and make an actual profit.
It was Mills’ son who actually began selling for her. He would go to his local barber shops and hair salons to distribute the juice. By doing so, both him and his mother realized this could be a great business venture and so they continued to sell at other places, mainly fairs and festivals. They also collaborated with nearby stores to sell their products there.
Unfortunately, however, once the pandemic hit, her business had a major setback as they could no longer attend fairs and festivals due to regulations set in place that made it much more difficult to distribute their product in person which initially is what brought them a majority of their sales. Despite this setback, Mills never thought she would wind up working online, let alone partnering with the Tech Incubator at Queens College. She merely trusted that she, along with her team, would figure everything out as the pandemic continued. Nevertheless, through her partnership with the Tech Incubator Kishana has been able to reach an audience beyond her own and get her story out there so that more and more people could enjoy her delicious juice. She has ultimately been able to develop a relationship with the Tech Incubator that has allowed for her business to further thrive in a time where the shift to everything being online, including businesses, was very drastic and sudden, especially for those, like Kishana who were already accustomed to running their business in person.
This lighthearted and hopeful energy is what has ultimately allowed Mills to remain true to herself and keep her business successful. In fact, when asked what advice she would give to those starting their own business she says, “with business being tough you have to believe in your core. So, regardless of the toughness, you can push through”. This exact mindset is what kept her motivated to continue expanding her business.
As her business continues to blossom, Kishana Mills stays true to her company’s mission which is to promote plantbase/natural ingredients, exotic and nutrient rich products. She explained that “natural ingredients should be the backbone of anything that we eat because our body’s are inclined to be able to absorb those nutritive values.” Juices that are traditionally found in stores, on the other hand, can not provide these same nutrients as they are packed with powders and dyes that are not readily absorbed by the body or the manufacturing process of production has eliminated the nutritional value and make them nutrient deficient. In Mills’ words, Tropical Harvest is giving the “customer value for their money, not just giving them a product but to give them something that’s going to enhance their lives by increasing vitality, increase their strength and boost immune support through food” While broadening the baseline for farmers to utilize their farm produce into products for a healthier society.
Connect with Kishana Mills through:
Website: Tropical Harvest
Phone: (646) 462 – 0821
Facebook: Tropical Harvest
Instagram: Tropical Harvest