In May last year, Muriuki Kagiri walked up to his parents and made an announcement – he had identified the career he wanted to pursue – fashion blogging.
His parents were not amused, understandably so. They could not understand how they could educate their son up to university level, only for him to turn around and say that he wanted to become a fashion blogger, was that even a career to begin with?
Muriuki, then 23, had just graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Technology from Multimedia University of Kenya.
“Though they were disappointed, they did not stop me from following my dream,” says Muriuki, who has been fashion-conscious for as long as he can remember.
As you read this, Muriuki is the winner of the inaugural MIMI Fashion Blogger Contest, 2015.
“I have always been keen on my image – when my friends wore ripped jeans and scruffy sneakers to school, I was in well-ironed pants and dress shoes.”
As a result, he would often get compliments on his style, even from strangers. At the time however, he had not considered a career in fashion, but once he started growing his knowledge about the industry, he discovered that it could be an area worth venturing into.
He started out as a self-taught fashion photographer, and even managed to shoot look books for a couple of local designers.
“What I know about photography I learnt from the Internet – I bought my first camera in my second year at university,” he says.
In 2015, he embarked on setting up his winning brand, The Dapper Brother, and launched his website: www.thedapperbrother.com
“My skills in IT have played a big role in turning my blog into what it is – the best part about it is that I don’t need to contract a web developer to build, optimise or maintain my website – I do it myself.”
Through his blog, he shares style tips and explores fashion trends, besides reviewing products that he uses.
“When I was starting out, fashion blogs were saturated with female bloggers – recently, there has been a surge of male bloggers, the likes of Sir Bryson, Freddie Anyona and Ian Mussilli, which I think is very healthy for the local blogging industry, since we all have different styles and can appeal to a much larger clientele,” he explains.
Besides blogging and image consulting, Muriuki also does digital media consultancy. Though hesitant to disclose how much he makes in a month, he explains that the size and nature of the brand determines his charges. What he makes is also influenced by the season and number of clients he has at any given time.
At the moment, his is a one-man show, though he works with a contracted photographer who takes photos for his blogs.
“The main sources of revenue from my blog are from sponsored content and brand collaborations – these are basically sponsored blogs and advertisements,” he says.
His focus now is creating a diverse clientele as well as meeting the modern style of advertising.
“Many big brands are starting to embrace influencer marketing since it appeals to an individual audience who look up to them for advice and tips, and so conversion from this marketing technique tends to be higher than traditional advertising,” he points out.
If you are interested in fashion blogging, Muriuki advises, you should have a long-term business plan.
“As long as you have identified your niche and have a long-term business plan with various revenue streams, you are good to go – however, you need to put in hard work, dedication and be consistent,” he says.
He adds that his biggest asset is the trust he has gained from his audience.
“This is why I will turn down a brand that I don’t believe in, or whose products I can’t vouch for. I am careful not to jeopardise their trust. I also respond to any queries that they have and follow up to ensure that they are satisfied,” he says.
Muriuki is currently working on his YouTube channel, which he intends to integrate with his Blog, the aim to make it the ultimate menswear resource.
“The beauty of this digital era is that we have the power to create whatever we want through the click of a button – there are so many opportunities online to monetise your passion.”
The problem with many of his peers, he say, is that they dream big but are not willing to sacrifice to turn these dreams into reality.
“As long as you are dedicated, willing to put in work, are consistent and are patient enough, it will definitely pay off,” he says.
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