When Michelle Ntalami’s father was losing hair due to chemotherapy treatment, she shaved her hair in solidarity.
It was back in 2013. It was her way of trying to ease the pain that her dad, Edward Ntalami- a former Capital Markets Authority CEO- was facing.
Her hair grew back, but she had already made a vow to love life differently, more healthily, and naturally.
She ditched chemical-based hair products and chose to go organic.
It was not a walk in the park living life the new way, but it was also a way of ensuring she reduces the risk of getting cancer.
Making Organic Hair Products at Home
She had to import organic hair products from abroad, mainly in Europe or the US, but it was a costly exercise.
It forced her to create natural hair products for her use.
She used readily available products.
This saw her mix many things to come up with her hair product solutions at her home.
She also shared them with friends to try them out.
Her hair was glowing, and as for her friends, they all gave her positive feedback.
She noticed an opportunity to turn her small bathroom hair products into a business.
At the time, she was employed, but she had always itched to start a business from scratch. Her hair product idea was something she was excited about.
She teamed up with her co-founder Niyata Patel and worked on coming up with the products.
One researcher asserted there was no market for organic hair products in Africa. She knew she had to prove him wrong and supply the market in Kenya and the continent.
Ingenious Marketing to Launch Marini Naturals
Her friends could attest that her organic hair products worked with impressive results. She had to cast her net wider to the market.
To succeed in a market filled with chemical-based products, she had to work hard. She needed to show that her hair products were worth it.
She embarked on an ingenious marketing campaign. It gave her the exposure she needed. Michelle Ntalami’s marketing background came in handy.
She joined Niyat Patel in assembling 30 models. Through videos, they showed the world over 50 hairstyles. They were all made using Marini Naturals products.
This was the spark needed to make her natural hair products accepted by the market. Many viewed and shared the videos, and she was now in business as Marini Naturals.
Many ladies now started considering using natural hair products. It was easy as they could now be accessed locally.
While Michelle Ntalami had to import them when she chose to go natural, others didn’t have to struggle.
She had identified a gap in the market and worked hard on providing a solution at scale. One of the selling points was African sourced ingredients.
The only thing she didn’t get within the continent was the packaging. The Marini Natural’s aspect of being a homegrown brand resonated well with many.
Selling Organic Hair Products Across Africa
From creating organic hair products for her personal use, Marini Naturals is a hit. She now sells Marini Naturals products across the African continent, a big deal.
She also has a few sales across the continent.
Marini Naturals is helping more African people to use products that are made for them and by them.
For Michelle Ntalami, what started as a way of keeping in solidarity with her late father has become big.
She lives a healthier life and more than that.
Marini Naturals is a thriving business and a source of employment for many. Among other achievements, Michelle Ntalami has been named :
- Safaricom Blaze Mentor
- BD Africa Top 40 Under 40 Women in Kenya,
She is an inspiration to many who look up to her and is a regular panelist on entrepreneurship forums.