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Jacqueline Mengi | Tanzania | Perseverance!!

I started my company as an interior design business but then I realized that there was actually a gap in what was available in terms of furniture and that’s how I saw the opportunity to design and manufacture furniture here in Tanzania.

At first I wasn’t quite sure where to start but I went ahead and bought a few machines and tools, hired some people and tried my very first design. It was quite a learning experience, and during the process I realized that I really enjoy designing furniture and despite the challenges I faced I was willing to go through with the idea and launched Molocaho by Amorette furniture brand.

What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?

First I had the challenge of finding the right craftsmen, I wanted to make furniture of the highest quality with the best finishing so I had to hire people who would understand and share this passion for perfection. Another challenge was the sourcing of materials or components that we use to manufacture the furniture, we would often find ourselves having to import some parts that weren’t available locally and that affected our manufacturing costs which automatically affect selling prices. The other challenge was to get people to believe in our product, to know that we make furniture of very high quality and standards right here in Tanzania. Since most of the furniture is imported and people are used to buying that, we had to convince our clients that they will be getting the best quality for their money right here with us.

What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?

I’m currently reading Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark which is about artificial intelligence, a very fascinating book about how AI will impact our lives and before that I was reading Reason for Hope by Jane Goodall whose life journey is so incredible I just can’t get enough of reading her story. For entrepreneurs I’d say read I can,I must, I will by Reginald Mengi who happens to be one of the most successful businessman and a great philanthropist in Tanzania. He shares the story of his humble beginnings and how against all odds he succeeded, its a great inspirational book especially for upcoming entrepreneurs.

Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?

I think in the beginning when you want to do something new there will always be those few people you’d meet who would be skeptical about the idea but I generally think that if you believe in your idea you should always follow your gut despite what others believe. I’m the kind of person who listens to what other people say but I also know what I want and tend to focus on proactive advice rather than just negative opinions.

What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?

I’d say perseverance, creativity and positivity. Because I didn’t give up when I faced challenges, created designs which were different which made Molocaho by Amorette stand out and that’s how we got people’s attention and stayed positive believing in our products, success naturally followed.

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?

There are two types of entrepreneurs, those who choose to engage in businesses that require a lot of their physical presence and time and there are those who invest in businesses that don’t require their physical presence. I chose the first option which means my physical presence is quite important for my business, now as much as I love and enjoy what I do I sometimes wish I had chosen the second type so I’d get more time to spend with my kids and family and travel the world.

What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?

I’d say the best business is the one you are very passionate about. We spend many hours of our lives working, being an entrepreneur allows one to choose the type of business one wants to engage in I think it’s important to choose a business that you love because it will be a pleasure to do it rather than it being just a source of income.


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