Entrepreneur Emerges from Homelessness
Hakika (Kika) Keith spent many days at the doctor's office and in emergency rooms as she tried to help her young daughter deal with dangerous asthma attacks. When traditional medicinal options seemed to be failing, Kika's mother developed a simple, organic remedy containing chlorophyll. After a few weeks of drinking the green drink, her daughter's attacks decreased dramatically. Within a year, she no longer suffered from chronic bouts of asthma. Kika started her business in Texas after getting her mother's permission to use the recipe.
Kika moved to Los Angeles to promote the drink, but personal challenges led her to a homeless shelter. Still, she manufactured the drink out of the small business incubator kitchen at Mama's Hot Tamales, but couldn't legally deliver the product because her driving record was obstructed by tickets obtained while struggling as a single mother. Public Counsel's Homeless Court program came to the rescue, helping her clear her record. Then, Public Counsel's Community Development Project connected her to a pro bono attorney at Foley & Lardner to help trademark her drink. Today, her drink "Gorilla Life" is sold in 62 stores in California and her company employs 5 people.
Kika recently returned to Public Counsel for legal help to structure an investment vehicle for her business, so that she can take the critical next steps in hiring contractors to manufacture and distribute the drink and enlarge her operations. Pro bono attorneys at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher are currently helping Kika with advice about investment structures. Sales of her drink continue to grow.