Rafati Khalil – Ex Prisoner Junkie to Juice Millionaire
Rafati Khalil overcame his addiction to heroin and crack to building a multimillion dollar juice empire, Sunlife Organics. However, his journey was no fairy tale, on two occasions he was almost a breath away from death. Khalil’s life had spiralled to the verge of despair and how he overcame his surmountable hurdles is truly remarkable. On the brink of death twice, Khalil escaped living in a cardboard box in the infamous Skid Row in Los Angeles, turned his life around and raked in millions as a juice entrepreneur.
The Early Days
Rafati Khalil was born in 1969 in Toledo, Ohio to a Polish mother and Muslim father of Palestinian descent. As a child he was subjected to child abuse, had several encounters with the law and eventually dropped out of school. In an attempt to escape the sexual abuse Khalil travelled to Los Angeles where he started a successful detailing business. Luck was on his side when he managed to secure employment on Elizabeth Taylor’s estate and soon other celebrities followed. Despite his initial success, at the age of 33 Khalil’s recreational drug use escalated from marijuana to heroin resulting in his life hitting rock bottom.
Twice on Death’s Doorstep
In 2001, whilst attending a house party, Khalil had an argument with his girlfriend and overdosed intentionally.
“I took everything I had, I put it in a spoon, I drew it up and I shot it. Hoping to die.” Rafati Khalil
He was revived by paramedics and admitted to hospital. After recovering Khalil resumed his old drug habits and his second close encounter with death occurred in 2002, when he was injecting drugs and intruders shot at the door he was standing behind. Thereafter he was homeless on Skid Row as well as having spent time in prison. Despite numerous attempts throughout his life to remain drug free he finally got his life back on track in 2003. Sean, a yoga teacher gave Khalil healthy smoothies in an attempt to rejuvenate him, which evidently worked and Khalil tributes the juices for saving his life.
The Birth of Sunlife Organics
Therefore, it is no surprise that Khalil started making the healthy juices for the residents in a sober living house he founded in 2007 in Malibu. The ‘Wolverine’ Sunlife Organic’s signature smoothie – originated, a healthy blend of dates, banana, bee pollen and royal jelly “it was meant to rejuvenate and strengthen the patients.” After witnessing their health benefits Khalil saw an opportunity in opening Sunlife Organics. Why would you not? The recognition of his juices became so well known that people were willing to queue in line to receive a healthy smoothie.
Following Khalil’s focus on health and wellbeing the journey to creating a million-dollar juice empire was inaugurated. Together with his business partner Hayley Gorcey they set up their first store in Malibu, California, now there are six stores with over 200 employees.
Khalil’s focus on wellbeing also extended to his staff, often paying it forwards to give other individuals in need of assistance the opportunity of employment.
Khalil’s story reveals that despite being on the brink of death twice your life can turn around simply by the choices and attitude you take. Kindness by others no matter how slight can also help you take a monumental shift towards a breakthrough. Simply because you are in a dark place now, remember it is only temporary and a new positive reality is often just around the corner. Have faith!
Watch the video below of Khalil’s story: