Marini Naturals CEO, Michelle Ntalami on February 18, 2021, took to social media to remember her late father, Edward Ntalami, who passed away in 2014 after a long battle with cancer. Pouring her heart out in a lengthy Instagram post, the entrepreneur described her father as a meticulous scholar.
“I wore my dad’s lapel pin from the University of Sheffield to work. A pin he got 40 years ago during his Masters. My dad was so scholarly, intelligent and extremely meticulous about his work. The biggest perfectionist I’ve ever seen, and yes, more than me! He would lock up my siblings and me in the study room and force us to read one storybook per week. Then come home in the evening and ask us about it. I’d usually read only the first and last page of a chapter, (coz obviously I was too busy stealing his VCRs to watch the Octagon by Chuck Norris) then make everything in between up. But he’d always, always bust me,” she wrote.
The reading culture that her father three decades ago tried to instil has slowly grown into her. Ntalami stated that she often finds herself buried in books - a powerful tool, she says, has helped her in shaping her life and dreams.
“Three decades on, here I am locking myself up in my office, writing my life story. No making things up, no skipping the chapters, no faking the story. I now apply all the lessons he instilled in me every day. Education, hard-work, discipline, etiquette, honesty, eloquence, excellence in everything you do, having high standards, taking no-nonsense, bossing up and dressing sharp. As I wear his lapel pin, I feel so proud knowing I continue his legacy in the way he would have wanted me to. I smile up at him because I realize of all the things my Dad ever did for me, ensuring that I remain a woman of integrity, high value and good moral standing is by far the most priceless gift he ever gave me...especially in today’s world. Thank you, Papa. The chapters are finally coming together,” she added.
She founded Marini Naturals in 2015, in honour of her father, who passed on exactly a year earlier. Opening up on her motivation behind the company, Ntalami explained that after learning of her father’s diagnosis, she made a conscious decision to live healthily.
“I cut my hair and started afresh but couldn’t find products on the market that catered for women with natural hair. So I mixed organic products at home and eventually shared the results with friends. I got a lot of positive feedback and was encouraged to take it further. I reached out to a top certified cosmetic formulator with my ideas and Marini Naturals was officially launched with help from family and friends,” she said doing a previous interview.
Through it, Ntalami has managed to win numerous awards, including a listing on 40 Under 40 Women in Kenya.