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Maleka Irfani

Ordinary is easy. Extraordinary is what will separate you from the crowd

Hi I am Maleka. I have a bachelor’s degree in Commerce, and a post graduate in MBA (HR & Finance). I also have a diploma in French Language and worked as a teacher in India for around 4 years. However, after moving to Kenya, I discovered that the core of who I am is a designer at heart. I love the whole creative process that goes into designing a product, from the ideation stage to the finished product stage. This passion is what led me to start a small batch handcraft body soap business, known as Indulge Beauty Kenya. I learnt a lot during that phase, in terms of business and Kenya as a market for products.

In Kenya, I realized there was dearth of home interior products that were made in Kenya or Africa, despite there being a lot of local artisanal talent. That led my partner & me to launching the brand Zoa Collective.

What lights me up is the ability to see good being done around me, to see the potential of an artisan, to create something beautiful out of an idea, The values I live by are, honesty, authenticity, compassion, empathy, tenacity, connection, respect, freedom of choice, persistence and transparency.

The reason I am joining Nampelka, is because it offers me an opportunity to learn and receive guidance from an expert from a different environment, than mine. It is beneficial to see things from a different perspective ( for e.g. how to approach markets as an entrepreneur locally as well as globally) and at times it encourages one to think outside the box. What may seem impossible in my own environment, an expert from another country can push and encourage me to think outside the box, thus challenging me to even take steps outside my comfort zone, thereby adding value and growth to me as an individual and to my business as a whole.

ZOA COLLECTIVE

In Kenya, whilst I was searching for home interior products for my own home, I realized there was a dearth of home ware, that was made in Africa, despite the immense local artisanal talent. That led my partner and me to launch the brand Zoa Collective in the year 2022. We design home interior accessories, like vases, coasters, candle holders, made of an acrylic water based resin, that is free from any volatile compounds,

We also work with weavers, to design throw blankets and beach towels. We stock at a few stores in Kenya, and are looking to scale our business, locally & internationally. We are also, looking to set up our own weaving and design studio in Mombasa, and wish to have guidance on creating circular sustainable products (in textile weaving) and setting up of sustainable systems & practices, that have global appeal and standards, for us to foray into the international markets.

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