Maliesha Pullano, the founder of Mamaleelu Cold Brew, was born in Benton Harbor, Mich. She moved to Kalamazoo in 1999 with her young son to attend Western Michigan University.
While attending WMU, she recognized that the world was becoming a smaller place and decided to study abroad in Spain. Maliesha won a scholarship that allowed her to study abroad and take her 4 year old son, for a year.
As a single mother abroad she didn’t get to do the things that “traditional” students were able to do, however, she was able to hang out, with son in tow, at lots of cafés, drinking coffee with other mothers that she met. This was where her love for strong, black, bold coffee was born.
In the early months of 2014, Maliesha applied for, and won a grant to start a food business with the Can-Do Kitchen. She was laid off from work and desperately seeking a way to support her family of three. Her brand Mamaleelu Cold Brew was started later that year.
Since starting Mamaleelu Cold Brew, Maliesha often is asked about her journey as an entrepreneur. She has won several awards, a pitch competition, and has been quoted in Roast magazine. She continues to grow her line of products, gain new stores and enter new markets.
Maliesha’s passion and mission for Mamaleelu Cold Brew’s future is to highlight her brand as a black-woman-owned food brand in a highly competitive, yet not very diverse market.
She believes that representation matters and that representation is one piece of the puzzle towards empowerment.
She hopes as her story continues to unfold, that it inspires, brings hope, and empowerment to the ones who need it most. She also desires for you to relax at home, or at the home of a friend with a cup of STRONG. BLACK. BOLD Mamaleelu and let your stories be told!