Efforts to reach out to her as soon as the allegations surfaced did not bear fruit. However she did respond with a lengthy statement divided into nine slides.
Marini Naturals CEO Michelle Ntalami penned a nine-part statement shared on her Instagram on Wednesday, June 9, after she was accused of wanting to exploit small businesses through her haircare brand.
Ntalami was trending the better part of Wednesday morning after a user only known by the name Johanne hinted to Ntalami promising exposure as a means of payment.
“Let me tell you Maina, that influencer wanted my daughter to become Marini brand ambassador/influencer, payment = exposure… the audacity,” she tweeted on Tuesday, June 8, the post albeit going unnoticed until the following morning.
Efforts to reach out to her by Viral Tea as soon as the allegations surfaced did not bear fruit. However she did respond with a lengthy statement divided into nine slides.
Michelle Ntalami’s latest post addressing claims of exploiting small businesses. /INSTAGRAM
She began the statement by narrating her 10-year journey to where she is today. Before Marini Naturals, there was Brandvine Group, a brand design and strategy firm that she began 12 years ago in a small office cubicle.
Throughout the journey, she explained that she had managed to build a Kenyan brand that has been recognised worldwide and earned her several accolades.
“That being said, my job is not to convince you that I truly want to support other brands. My purpose is to try and shed some light to you on meaningful business collaborations. Most people were excited and inspired by my post but some were triggered.
“The ones who are triggered, quite frankly have a lot of work to do. The ones who are inspired have grasped the concept of collaboration, brand value and accelerated growth,” she addressed.
She clarified that she closed off the comments on one of her latest Instagram posts as they were too many, other than netizens’ opinions. Over 1,000 of them dropped comments on her posts, prompting her team to assist her shortlist their selection.
Ntalami wanted to use that post to promote Kenyan brands during her upcoming birthday photoshoot, later this month, by giving back. This entailed collaborating with brands that would avail their products to present in the photoshoot and she would give them free marketing, but there was a catch.
She noted she would get to keep anything she liked or whatever the brands decided to bless her with from their collection.
“I only get to keep the items that I like, or whatever you choose to bless me with from your collection! I’ve already got the concept, so all I need is the awesome team and brands to put it all together,” she wrote.
She noted she was looking for photographers, make-up artists, shoe brands, outfits, jewellery stores, hairstylists and even hotels to partner with.
Ntalami did not get the reaction she wanted from her fans who bashed her in the comments to the point she had to switch them off.
Nonetheless, she has since won plaudits and admiration in equal measure for her energetic spirit and smart dealings in a competitive business environment, making her a woman of interest outside Kenya for her unequaled influence and focus in the business world.
She launched her brand officially on November 19, 2015, based on the decision she made that changed her life forever. The company specializes in the manufacturing of hair products, and the Swahili name Marini translates to naturally beautiful.
The hair company, based in Nairobi, sells over 50,000 bottles and tubs monthly across 12 countries, 10 in Africa as well as Turkey and France. It also caters for the men with body, hair and beard care products.
Michelle was chosen and featured by Okay Africa in the list of top 100 women in Africa in 2018 as well as Top 40 Under 40. She has also earned several credits from leading institutions and brands such as Safaricom Blaze and CNN Africa.
Michelle Ntalami posing next to a swimming pool during a past photoshoot. /INSTAGRAM
Read her entire statement below: