An Interview with Kat Mische Elle
Nixie & Rafael, how did the two of you meet?
The night we first met, it was out on a dance floor in a club. We connected so quickly it almost didn’t feel like we were meeting for the first time. We quickly learned that we had so many things in common! We discovered that both of our parents were born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to the United States during the late 70s. Rafael and I are the first generation born in the U.S. and the eldest child in our families. We were both in family-owned grocery store businesses, and we lived in the same neighborhood, only about 5 minutes from each other, yet we had never crossed paths. It was incredible that we both lived in this small town in Queens and that this was the first time we met. It took a night being motivated to dance to traditional Merengue-style music of the Dominican Republic at a club about thirty minutes away from our homes for our paths to cross.
Rafael: Hence the art on our coffee bag with the dance club on the logo. Before meeting Nixie, I had written about the woman I wanted in my life on a piece of paper. I was very clear and specific on that list with the descriptions of the partner that I wanted in my life. And I wasn’t going to settle for anything other than what I put on that piece of paper. Dancing had to be one of those things. That dancing partner needed to be a smart, kind, and attractive woman. That was Nixie. After that first night, Nixie and I spent about two to three months where she would come to my house every night.
Nixie: There was no physical intimacy during those months, but we connected on deep intimate levels about our visions for business and life.
He says he knew I was the one from the moment he met me.
Nixie: I, on the other hand, was more reserved about my thoughts, but I knew there was a connection, and I really wanted to see him every day.
Rafael: Something was pulling her and me together, and I decided to trust and follow where I was being led.
Nixie: Even though we had opposite personalities, our core values, self-respect, and inspirations were an exact match! Recognizing that what we had between us was so incredibly special, it was a truth like no other, something we had never experienced before. After dating for six months, Rafael proposed, and we decided to get married! The day we said “I do” was when the journey really began. That was the yes to our marital commitment and the yes to choosing the life and business adventures we would embark on. We genuinely have the most authentic form of partnership between us.
This was the beginning of our business and love story.
Nixie’s – ‘A cup of love.’
After many years of working in a managerial position in the family-owned grocery business, Rafael wanted to explore entrepreneurial adventures. He was invited to be a part of a growing business that sold coffee machines. With the idea of being his own boss, Rafael was inspired to spearhead the opportunity and take it to its next level. Because the grocery store industry was what we both were the most familiar with, Rafael began to sell the coffee machines there first and then moved on to hotels and then car dealerships. It was one cup, on-demand from the whole bean to grind to a fresh brewed single cup of coffee. People loved the difference in quality, freshness, and taste.
It went from the bean to the cup, and this required a high-quality, great coffee bean because it was such a high-end machine. Once picked, the beans went straight to a roaster to bring out a very rich-tasting coffee bean for brewing. After creating the three fantastic roasts for the coffee machine, it was time to take it to the next level. We then ran into some blocks with the funding needed to expand the vision of selling the coffee machines. So, we took a step back to listen to where we were being guided even though, at the moment, it wasn’t apparent to us.
A short time after looking at our situation, Rafael and I went to a business convention where we both decided to move past the subject of the coffee machines at that moment and focus on the coffee we had developed. I turned to Rafael and said, “You know what? Let’s become business partners. And let’s do something with that coffee because that is GREAT coffee. Even though yes, it’s the machine that brews it, BUT it’s the coffee itself that everyone is raving about!”
At that moment, we both could feel the energy, excitement, and clarity around the idea of us becoming partners once again in what would end up becoming our simultaneous second marriage. Since the selling of the machines originated from our previous business partner, we decided to part ways with that aspect and instead took over the operation of the coffee beans.
We were also learning more about CBD and its magical properties and decided to create CBD-infused coffee during this time. It turns out that CBD and coffee made an incredible team together, like Rafael and me.
We came back home, and we started working on how to develop this brand, and that is when ‘Nixie’s Coffee’ came to life.
KME: That’s a real commitment the two of you share. Sometimes those situations can break a relationship with the expansion and contraction that occurs during the business and relationships’ growth phase. It looks like you two keep going, growing, and glowing together!
Nixie: I think the aspect of the two of us having very different personalities is also what makes us great and strong in our business. Because we each have what the other is missing. We can create that balance and become more powerful together.
Rafael: Nixie is very kind and giving and can envision the big picture easily.
Nixie: And… Rafael is more results-oriented and focused on the goal. When I need direction and action, he drops in with the suggested next steps for the results I want to achieve. And then I share with him my view on how those suggestions can expand over the whole vision before we reach that destination.
KME: So, you bring the color to his black and white. And his black and white creates guidelines to stay within so all the colors you bring don’t bleed into one another. Right?
Nixie: That’s a great analogy.
KME: It looks as if the first dance in the nightclub continues to this day.
KME: But that doesn’t just happen. Success in life, love, or business – you must do the work.
Nixie: It’s true. I have learned a lot, and I give thanks every day.
What is the focus you use for yourself to stay in future-forward momentum heading towards your goals?
Nixie: Lots of personal development. We set big goals for ourselves!
Rafael: Huge. Goals that usually scare us. But we have come to know that fear and excitement are the same feelings; it depends on what thoughts we are putting into it.
Goals that usually scare us. But we have come to know that fear and excitement are the same feelings; it just depends on what thoughts we are putting to it.
Nixie: And we continue to strengthen that aspect of ourselves every day. Personally, I look for ways to get out of my comfort zone. I have come to love how alive I feel when I do. For example, I became a minister at my church because I was terrified of standing in front of people, even though my character seemed outgoing. But when it came to standing in front of a large group of people, I couldn’t see myself. A part of me would hide inside. So, I decided to look that part of me in the face and heal it.
Tell me how you went from selling coffee beans to becoming television producers?
Nixie: When we were growing our business, we ran into several blocks during the production of the CBD-infused coffee version. We were kept from proceeding to its next level due to New York’s ban on CBD products being produced and sold in the state where our company is established. So, we reeled that back to just staying the course of our already very popular and successful original coffee beans. At that time, the same partner that Rafael had in the coffee machine business circled back into our lives and invited us to be a part of producing The Voice, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and soon, Shark Tank in The Dominican Republic! We loved the idea, and how it also was an opportunity to bring us back to where our families began, so we said yes!
Rafael: To be able to launch these programs in the Dominican Republic is a fantastic experience. This is our homeland for our families. Nixie and I are first-generation born U.S. citizens. With the opportunities that have been provided to us here, we want to be able to bring something back to The D.R. The productions will bring a few hundred jobs to the community, giving exposure to all the incredible talent and genius that the people have in the D.R. and entertainment.
Nixie: We then flew into the Dominican Republic. We sat down for the very first recording of The Voice, and oh my, I fell in love! I mean, with everything! It brought me back to the moment when I used to do backstage work in high school and college. I instantly wanted to be more involved with this and not just an investor. I told Rafael that I had “the butterflies” confirmation.
At that moment, Rafael went straight away and told his partner, “Hey, Nixie wants to work here.” Rafael will not let me sit on the sidelines if he sees anything that lights me up. He will always lovingly pull and encourage that jump. And just like that, I went from Barista/coffee entrepreneur to a hands-on television producer of The Voice.
Rafael: It’s because I see you.
Nixie: I was then told to come back next month and be prepared to work.
I worked myself into the position very quickly. I was a natural at it. It was as if I had always been a part of television. Being reconnected to the Dominican Republic has also propelled us to grow our business for Nixie’s Coffee there. We are focused on building a solid team to give more time to the T.V. productions with our extended visits to the D.R. ;
What is your favorite part of bringing these productions to life in the Dominican Republic?
Nixie: You fall in love with the people and their stories. When we began this adventure of production, we sat in that audience so we could take in the experience purely as an observer. I cried listening to the stories of these people of whatever age. A woman in her 50s shared that she felt that she was too old to even get up on stage and sing, yet she made it to a finalist! This woman was incredible!
The Dominican Republic is a third-world country where opportunities like this are little to none. Before developing the production of The Voice in the D.R., people did not have the opportunity to get out and show their talents. Everyone has dreams to be and live something bigger in their lives, no matter where you are from, and I am happy to be a part of bringing this experience to all those who want it in the Dominican.
Then you have the entire team that was extremely enthusiastic behind the scenes putting everything together. Everyone is so inspired and happy to be part of a big project.
The excitement and joy are contagious when we are setting up for a show, and we all can feel how we lift each other up during the process of being a part of something so big.
What is next for you?
In 2022, the second season of The Voice will be airing in the Dominican, and also Season one of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Then, expansion of Nixie’s Coffee because we want to keep on growing our first baby.
While also preparing to launch Shark Tank for the Dominican Republic in the fall.
Who would you like to thank for all your adventures in life and love?
Nixie: My deepest gratitude is for my parents and for my husband. My parents are two of the most hardworking people I think I’ve ever met. They came from a dirt-poor life. I’m talking about a very rural area, with no electricity and no running water at times. They came into this country where they knew no one. Having babies in a country where they did not know the language, the more I hear about their stories, the more inspired and motivated I get to continue to build on our success.
I cannot disregard or take for granted all the work they already put into life for my siblings and me or let it go to waste. I have got to do something with all of that. It would be sinful of me not to have that gratitude for them and what they have done. And, for my husband. He has been the one who always pulls me into a clearer view of myself and helps me see what I am capable of.
KME: We can get profound information from an outside observer in helping us see ourselves where perhaps we choose not to look.
Rafael, where do you place your biggest gratitude?
Rafael: My uncle. He left me in charge of running the family business. It was then that all my skills were given a push to become stronger, which helped shape my future for being a boss. I learned how to deal with people, employees, obstacles, you name it. I learned it. I can sit and envision everything that could happen before it happens. And how to correct it before it even gets to a challenging situation. I am also incredibly grateful for my wife, Nixie. The smile in her eyes reminds me that we are on the right path together every day.
How can the readers follow you?
Nixie: They can find us at: nixies.com or at nixiescoffee.com, which is our website for coffee. And ‘Nixie’s Coffee’ on Instagram and Facebook. I answer the messages myself.
I’m the one who is answering any questions. I also send handwritten notes to everyone who orders our coffee.
I’m so thankful for every single order that comes through that I want to take that extra moment to just say thank you to that person.