The Beauty Queen From Tanzania Who Is Building A Furniture Empire – Forbes
Weaving in and out of Dar es Salaam’s grating midday traffic in her chauffeured white Mercedes S550, Jacqueline Ntuyabaliwe, a svelte 38-year-old beauty, is transfixed by an image of a dining set on her phone. With a slim, elegant finger, she prods her cellphone screen to show me the picture she’s looking at.
“This is one of our pieces,” she says, pointing to the picture of a 5-piece dining set. It’s one of the items produced by Molocaho by Amorette, the furniture-manufacturing firm she recently founded. “This set was handcrafted from timber which was reclaimed from old cargo boats from the Indian Ocean along Tanzania’s coastline,” says the entrepreneur earnestly.
The dining furniture, she tells me, has been ordered by a family from Europe who recently visited her showroom in Dar es Salaam during a vacation a few weeks back, and she’s about to ship it over to her new European clients. But first, she’s rushing to her factory to inspect the set herself for the umpteenth and final time before it’s shipped off, to ensure the wood finishing is perfect.
Jacqueline Ntuyabaliwe, a self-acclaimed perfectionist, is a lady who pays great attention to detail. Despite her busy schedule (she is an African ambassador for WildAid and sits on a number of corporate boards; a mother to twin boys; wife to one of Africa’s most successful businessmen, and runs an education-focused charity), Ntuyabaliwe ensures she personally inspects every bit of furniture her company produces before it’s sold or exported.
“I love perfection!” exclaims the former Tanzanian beauty queen and musician, chopping the air for emphasis. “Everything we do at Molocaho has to be perfect,” she says. “We’re competing with the best from around the world and if we don’t put our best foot forward, we might as well just pack our bags and go home.”
Ntuyabaliwe, a Tanzanian-born, British-trained interior designer, is the founder and principal designer of Molocaho by Amorette, a Tanzanian company that designs and manufactures high end quality made- to-order furniture, furnishings, designer fabrics, lighting, decor, outdoor and garden furniture. Molocaho has created a high-end Afro-centric furniture brand by subtly blending traditional Tanzanian fabrics into contemporary, worldly designs to present a transcontinental finish. Molocaho, which is one of East Africa’s fastest-growing furniture companies, has earned its mojo by ensuring that only the finest Tanzanian wood and materials are used to handcraft furniture with global appeal.
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