Changing perceptions and creating opportunities are objectives at the heart of The Tianar Models, an organisation created by Robertinah Nzula, a Kenyan entrepreneur on a mission to make a difference to the lives of others. She is not only changing an industry sector for the better, but she is empowering young people to follow their unique career and life paths.
LoA found out more about this unique organisation from its founder Robertinah Nzula this month.
What does your company do?
The Tianar Models, a start-up legal entity (with a long term goal of making it the first ever modelling NGO in Africa), its core business is discovering and nurturing raw talent in modelling, art, dance, music, poetry and theatre, event management and provision of socially responsible solutions to companies. The Tianar Models simply means – Transcending Ideas to Acquire & Nurture Active Role Models. Besides securing and creating job opportunities for models, the organisation has a major inclination towards community empowerment, women’s empowerment, youth mentorship, wildlife conservation awareness, boy child agenda, environmental conservation, charity work, and all this is achieved by members of the organisation under the patronage of its founder, Ms. Robertinah Mbula. The organisation’s support group comprises of pioneer members who have already found their paths in life thanks to the mentorship offered at the Tianar Models organisation.
"The core business of The TIANAR Models is discovering and nurturing raw talent in modelling, art, dance, music, poetry and theatre, event management and provision of socially responsible solutions to companies."
What inspired you to start your company?
A few years back and still in some parts of the world, modelling was considered a negative hobby, associated with low morals and using undesirable and socially unacceptable means to make one's way to the top. This stigma associated with the modelling industry bugged me every time I told someone I am a model and they would give me those looks suggesting"who did you sleep with" or "who did you bribe". Knowing myself so well and looking at what I had achieved outside of modelling, It was easy to see that people had a misjudged concept about models, because some of us are actually morally upright and have earned every single achievement we have received as models. Also I discovered that some clients would not agree to adequately remunerate models after doing their jobs. Poor payment and the stigma caused me to start my agency, where our goal is to infuse beauty, business and charity work, while at the same time moulding as many role models as possible, so that they can go out there and be a reflection of models who are upright citizens, working for every penny they get, and positively impacting the society and communities from which they come.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
We have for three years now established our market position in executing the most prolific fashion and pageant events. We study the intricacies of the brand and do the very best by tailoring a special and client related event. The same principle is applied in providing clients with models for ushering services, commercial shoots, vixens, advertising campaigns, product launches, and photography. Our models are very disciplined as that is a mandatory requirement before anyone joins our organisation.
"Besides securing and creating job opportunities for models, the organisation has a major inclination towards community empowerment, women’s empowerment, youth mentorship, wildlife conservation awareness, boy child agenda, environmental conservation, and charity work."
Tell us a little about your team
My team is comprised of a Managing Director, who is also hotelier by profession, a Projects Co-ordinator, a choreographer, two trainers, a Make Up artist and a photographer.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Way before I graduated from university, where I achieved a 1st Class Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree, I used to juggle my student commitments with entrepreneurial activities, starting with an enterprise delivering vegetables to a small eatery in Nakuru town right before I went into class. From the daily allowance given to me by my parents, I would set aside half of it to buy the vegetables in the busy morning market, and then resell them at a profit to an uptown eatery. I also gathered a little experience in the car-wash business from the church youth group I was attached to back then. After graduating I stumbled upon an events planning assignment from a very special friend and this moved me to venture into events planning as a business. So, coupling this with my passion to establish a reputable modelling agency, I decided to register my agency and try to infuse my education, experience and ideas and pass on the same knowledge to the members in my agency.
"My future plans include transforming my modelling agency to be the leading modelling NGO in Africa."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
My future plans include transforming my modelling agency to be the leading modelling NGO in Africa. I also picture myself married and with a beautiful family.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
That I am able to pass on a skill that I have onto others and help them follow their own unique paths.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Women should know and accept the fact that they are women. Being a woman is the most special thing the world can ever have. As a female entrepreneur, my advice to fellow women is that they should follow their hearts and give a deaf ear to all the negative energy thrown their way. Embrace positivism and never compare your own journey to that of others. Yours is unique.
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Why LoA loves it….
Successful entrepreneurs are those who can take a passion, unique skills-set, or mission to make a difference, and create a sustainable business by finding a gap or need that has to be filled. Robertinah Nzula recognised that the modelling industry in Kenya was not viewed in the most positive light, and she has set out to change that perception by creating an empowering environment for young people to carve out their careers in the most positive and nurturing space. Her company Tianar Models is proving to be a positive role model for change in the sector. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa