At 26, Rikki Kelly is not only a successful entrepreneur, but she has made history as the first Black woman to own a tequila brand in Texas. Growing up, Kelly said she had always wanted to be an entrepreneur and create brands and products people could easily associate with or relate to.
“I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur and create a brand that people could relate to. Since I enjoy tequila, I decided to bring a good one to market for other people to enjoy,” she told Dallas News.
Before turning 15, Kelly was working at a local grocery store as a sacker. However, it didn’t take her long for her to realize that she wanted to become her own boss. She ventured into tequila because she wanted to introduce drinkers to new tequila brands.
She first experienced tequila when she was 21. She saw so many spirits in the market that she wanted to explore. And within three years, she started the process of developing her own tequila brand. Prior to starting her own brand, Kelly said she didn’t see a lot of people who look like her in the industry. Multiple media reports suggest that there are only three Black women in the U.S. to launch a tequila brand, including Kelly.
Kelly started her Ego Tequila with little knowledge in the industry and no guidance. To acquire knowledge in the sector, she did extensive research and self-financed her business although she later got some help from her mom.
On its website, the company said, “Ego is distilled in the heart of Jalisco, Mexico using natural spring water from a local inactive volcano, agave in lowland & highland regions, and is distilled using Aldehyde Separation to guarantee no headaches.
“Our mission with Ego Tequila is to do away with the stigma of ‘bad tequila’, and spark mixology exploration with consumers.”
Kelly said she named her brand Ego because of the way it makes people feel when they drink it. “When I created Ego, my goals were to make sure it was smooth in quality, approachable for newcomers and tequila loyalists, and out of the ordinary. I believe I understood the assignment,” she said.
Kelly said she produces her tequila in Mexico because she wanted to incorporate Mexican culture into her brands. “As I said before, I knew it needed to stand out. And if we get some people hooked because of the beautiful bottle first, then we can retain them as fans with juice,” she told Dallas Observer.
Kelly said she is now looking forward to expanding into other markets. She is exploring the possibility of making agave wine. According to her, she wants to bring awareness to agave winemaking.
She said Ego Tequila is a 100% pure agave Tequila. The brand offers two different types of tequila — Blanco, and Reposado. “Ego Tequila was created on three key elements: quality, consistency, and excitement,” she told Voyage Dallas.