History of Arimi's, the beloved milking jelly that Kenyans can't get enough of

Hanish Shah, who created Arimi's after finishing high school, explained how a milking jelly, initially manufactured for use on cows gained countrywide acceptance.

History of Arimi's, the beloved milking jelly that Kenyans can't get enough of

Over the last few days, Kenyans on social media have stamped their foot that the rebranding of one of the most popular skincare products, Arimi’s is no longer a discretion of the company.

This follows the surfacing of images showing a rebranded version of the milking jelly that has angered Kenyans across the country.

The company has since clarified that the images are not authentic and that there are no plans to rebrand, at least not anytime soon.

Many people might be asking themselves, how did a milking jelly, initially manufactured for use on cows gain countrywide acceptance?

Growing up in the early 1990s, the product was viewed as an option of last resort to families that had run out of petroleum jelly or had no money for fancy skincare products.

Walking into a classroom after using Arimi's attracted comments such as “Who has just milked a cow?”, never mind if it was Monday 8 am or that the milky jelly did not have a dominant scent.

However, those who knew, knew. Nowadays you will find even the most refined Kenyans who praise fancy brands also recognise Arimi's’ magic properties.

The history of the company started in 1983 with one man from Meru by the name Hanish Shah.

Hanish, a father of three, was an O-level graduate who managed a modest retail company selling goods before joining the family business in 1978. He got the concept for Arimi's after interacting with various German enterprises.

Shah conducted research on the problems faced by small scale farmers in the region at the time and created what he called a high-quality product that was also affordable.

Not many people notice the apostrophe on the name Arimi’s.In many Bantu languages, Arimi means farmer and the apostrophe gives farmers a sense of ownership on the products.

Shah reckons that the popularity of the brand grew gradually through the years through word of mouth from one generation to another.

Due to the success of the jelly, operations were relocated from Meru to Nairobi in 1985, and Arimi's is now made by Tri-Clover Industries (Kenya) Ltd, of whom Hanish is the managing director.

Surprisingly, the company has never marketed Arimi's as a skincare product but remains one of its best brands, despite the company producing actual skin care products.

“It is formulated using the best quality of raw materials which are accepted under US FDA approval standard grade as safe to use on skin care, a slightly different formula in comparison to the normal petroleum jelly but 100 per cent safe for human application,” Shah said during a past interview with The Standard.

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