Melissa Kiguwa is the poster child for living life to the fullest. The entrepreneur, poet, and podcast host has lived on three continents, had 3 different careers, and has always looked fabulous while doing so. Her latest project involves bridging the gap between luxury and sustainability through her high-end jewelry rental company, Obánj.
The chic adventurer lives a high-risk, high-reward type of lifestyle, and her results have been nothing short of incredible. Melissa has spontaneously hopped on cross-country Greyhounds to move cities and has flown to places like China and Guatemala on a whim. But her most brave accomplishment may have been launching her own business during the pandemic.
Obánj was born out of an innate desire to leave the world a better place than she found it. A former television and radio journalist, Melissa is passionate about sustainability yet has a deep appreciation for the finer things in her life. The company is a perfect reflection of Melissa’s two passions. She calls it a fusion of ‘champagne life and conscious living.’
Melissa feels that people shouldn’t feel guilty to live well, but they should be mindful about their consumption habits. Obánjencourages a circular fashion cycle. Renting extends the life cycle of a piece of jewelry and saves the planet from the detrimental environmental impact and ethical issues associated with the jewelry industry. The innovative company allows wearers to create a better world in Bulgari, Dior, and Chanel.
Building a fashion tech startup from the ground up during the pandemic was challenging, and Melissa often wondered if her business would survive. Fortunately, Obánj is thriving thanks to its founder’s resilience and business savvy. The company’s waitlist is so high that Melissa and her dedicated team are struggling to keep up with demand!
The ever-optimistic founder now attributes the process to strongcharacter. Melissa has always believed in making the most of the resources she’s been given, and the immediate success of Obánjjust proves Melissa’s talent. She loves that she’s able to grow her vision with a team of like-minded, passionate people.
Melissa’s diverse background also plays a large role in her influences and determined work ethic. The child of a Ugandan political asylum, she grew up in London, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Arizona, and spent her early 20s traveling the world with a dream of changing the world. After living out her best black bohemian life, Melissa felt that she needed a break from the world’s complex global issues. She entered the glamorous world of Hollywood and worked as the Executive Assistant of a renowned TV show runner and celebrity producer.
Her new career was exciting, but it made Melissa realize that working for someone else wasn’t the path for her. Before taking the full dive into entrepreneurship, Melissa also worked as a managing editor at a PR firm and a radio & TV host. She had the ideal marketing and storytelling skillsets to build her own empire.
Always the dreamer and achiever, Melissa’s future is filled with brightness. From her flourishing jewelry rental company to her upcoming memoir, Melissa is one to watch in the business world.