The Founder


It was 1987 and Adelphi's founder, Nalina Rupani, had a conundrum. As a fashionable lady in her twenties, living in Nairobi, where could one find chic high quality accessories that spoke to her style? It seemed the market was flooded with either imported and exorbitantly priced pieces or low quality knock-offs.

She scoured the city looking for the best materials available and created a small production run to form her first collection. She hit the streets going door to door to find an outlet for her products. After a few months she realized her products needed their own standalone store and the best person to sell her products to customers was herself.

She approached a landlord of a heritage building in Nairobi's Central Business District. The rent she was willing to offer was much less that the landlord was willing to accept, not to mention in the 80's a 23 year old woman was not considered an ideal tenant. With her heart set on the location, she persisted. The landlord admired her guile and courage, and he agreed to let to her the store for much less than market rent. There was born the Adelphi brand - the first locally made luxury accessories brand in the country.

As a young girl in the 1970s, Nalina knew she wanted to run her own business. She had an affinity for history and spirituality, and was a voracious reader. Whilst reading a novel about the Ancient Greeks she came across a story about the Oracle of Delphi. She would tell her friends 'one day when I own a company I will call it Adelphi'.

Nalina went on to become a champion for African women entrepreneurs. She was the founding member of the Kenyan Association of Women Business Owners (KAWBO). Later, she was appointed by the Minister of Industrialization as the Vice Chairperson of the Kenya Leather Development Council. 

Nalina travelled the world to spread the word that 'Made in Kenya' belonged in the lexicon of the global standard of luxury and quality. She attended conferences and trade fairs in Japan, Germany, Holland, China, India, United States of America, United Kingdom, Egypt, Tunisia, Finland, to name a few.

She later went on to be appointed as the Chairperson of the COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) Regional Leather Sector Core Team. Travelling to many COMESA member nations such as Malawi, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, and Ethiopia, Nalina mentored and inspired many across the continent.

32 years later, Adelphi stands as a legacy of her passion for luxury fashion and her dedication to building the local community and industry.