Naturals in Business : Angela Lush of Malkia Jewels
TN: Tell us about Malkia :
My core business is Malkia Jewels, where I make and source jewellery and accessory pieces that are unique and that will leave one feeling and looking like a Malkia (Queen.) Most pieces made and sold are not duplicated. The goal is to leave one feeling special knowing have purchased a unique piece.
Malkia Jewels came about because of my own obsession with jewellery and accessories. I wanted to have an inexpensive way of wearing the same outfit but changing it up. This started out as a hobby and became my fully-fledged business.
TN: How has Malkia enabled you to enrich the lives of others?
I created Maasai-inspired jewellery and this allowed me the chance to empower Maasai women from the Magadi Soda Foundation, a social enterprise under TATA Chemicals LTD. I taught them how to create contemporary pieces using their skills, and what was made was then used to help create a dynamic Maasai Collection ended. The women were able to translate what they learnt to their own businesses and earn too. This opportunity led me to collobarate Okhai Organisation, which is the India Social Enteprise under TATA Chemicals. I went to India and worked with Indian women from the Rabari tribe and I did the same with them too, I was able to incorporate their skills of mirror work to make a range of chokers which were hit here and all sold out in a matter of weeks.
In terms of my customers it gives them the confidence to showcase their beautiful features. Like with head chains a client can showcase and embellish her hair at the same time. Which is the ethos of my brand, to help women look and feel beautiful with what they buy and wear.
TN: What has being in business taught you?
Being in business has taught me that I have resilience and that any heat I go through is just a process for me to be refined. Also that maintaining your networks will help in you increasing your net worth through the opportunities gained because of it.
TN: What hair advice has worked for you?
Don’t compare your hair to another. Often what works for another won’t work for you and what another does you may not have the patience to continue doing. So first learn the traits of your hair. Try new products and new styles until you find what fits and suits you.
TN: For how long have you had natural hair?
I transitioned from 2011 so I would say this October I’ll be clocking 6 years.
TN: What led to your decision to go natural?
I was just tired of relaxing and I questioned whether I wanted this to be my life through out. So I stopped relaxing and just let my hair evolve into its natural state.
TN: Describe your current hair regimen?
I usually alternate between braiding and having my hair out.
I wash my hair once a week and I have discovered bentonite clay and apple cider as my ideal shampoo regime, which gives my hair a fuller life.
I use oils like coconut, grapeseed and argan. I often combine it with Shea Moisture conditioner crème or cantu when I want to have a twist out look or when I want to stretch out my hair.
I rock my hair in a bun, wash and go look, or high puffs and occasionally will have the twist out or curls look.
TN: What is one product you cannot live without?
TN: How do you simplify your washdays?
I set a washday in the week when I am not occupied. If I am deep conditioning, I do that first then I carry on working as it stays on in my hair before the wash. I also pre-decide what I want to do with my hair immediately after whether it will go in twists with a head wrap protective look or a wash and go style.
TN: What doesn’t your hair like?
If I don’t oil it, then it doesn’t not cooperate. I always moisturize it every chance I get.
TN: What has your natural hair journey taught you?
Not to compare my hair with others but to embrace what my hair offers me and give it more love. It has also made me appreciate the versatility of my beauty and I would not change what I have and what I have become since being natural. I love it and love me even more.
TN: How has this spilled into the other aspects of your life? (Please be specific)
It has added to my confidence of believing that I am enough and that I am the variation one is looking for which is the attitude I apply for my jewellery business especially as there many other jewellery businesses. So having the attitude that I am unique and the difference one is looking for has truly transcended to what I create to sell.
TN: Name three of your favourite natural hair Influencers:
Influencer – Vikki Wambui (Napspiration) – I met Vikki two years ago at my friends wedding. She is such a sweetheart and I always tell her she is my hairspiration. She has so much knowledge on all things hair too. I enjoy learning from her hair care routine. She is the one who has solely taught me that if you truly give your hair love, it will love you back even more.
Blogger – Wangari Tangotini – Her hair is also goals too but I love watching the different ways she styles her hair, very inspiring and oh so creative. As my hair grows she is one I look to emulate in various ways of styling.
Entrepreneur – Michelle Ntalami – I have known Michelle for years and her journey as an entrepreneur inspires me as a fellow entrepreneur. Her drive to keep striving has led her to thrive in endless ways. Michelle reminds me of the type of woman Sheryl Sandberg wants women to be, which is a woman who leans in and takes a seat at the table, as she is both driven and ambitious. She is helping put Kenya on the natural hair world map, and making other women and young people realise that ones dreams are valid if you are willing to be driven by the courage to succeed rather than being stopped by the fear of failure.
TN: Favourite quote?
I couldn’t choose one so I chose three that are my motto for life:
“ All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” Havelock Ellis
“ Starve your distractions and feed your focus.”
“Don’t be led by emotion for the E comes before the motion and E is energy, which has a way of controlling your behaviour.” – Quote by me.
Check out Angela’s range of cool pieces here.