To many parents, blogging is not their preferred career for their children. This is largely driven by the fact that the field is relatively new and not much is known about it. What is more, pioneer local bloggers are yet to strike a gold mine in term of earnings.
It is therefore understandable that parents, who have struggled through thick and thin to see their sons and daughters attain good education and even university degrees, do not envisage their children carving out an illustrious career out of blogging.
This was the case for Mr Muriuki Kagiri. His parents were not entirely pleased that their IT graduate son had decided to pursue a career path whose prospects were anything but clear. Even him entertained doubts if this largely unexplored path held much promise.
He was however undeterred and decided to take a leap of faith in 2005. He started his own brand ‘The Dapper Brother’ www.thedapperbrother.com.
A few years down the line, his parents’ apprehension and his own doubts have been put to rest as his business has turned out quite well. Indeed one can safely say he is literally on the fast lane, making good money in the process.
The blogging idea was inspired by his deep passion for fashion. “I have always been keen on my image. My friends always came to me for advice and I used to get compliments on my style even from strangers,” he says.
“I didn’t think much of it at the time, but once I started growing my knowledge of the industry, I found that it was something I’d be venturing into”.
When he finished high school in 2010, he dabbled in fashion photography.
“Immediately after completing my secondary school I started doing fashion photography for local designers to keep myself busy before I launched my blog,” he says.
His IT course at the university played a major role in fanning his passion. “From early age, I had always wanted to work with computers and that’s part of the reason I chose to go for my Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Technology. It was during my coursework that I discovered my love for digital media,” he added.
Having studied such a course, considered by many as a stepping stone to a premium career, it was only sensible for his parents to question the career path he had taken.
However, Mr Kagiri was determined to succeed and indeed one year down the line his resolve began to bear fruits. His parents took note of his impressive progress and started gradually embracing the idea that even non-traditional career choices can pay off handsomely.
Mr Kagiri has made significant strides and is now a men’swear influencer and image consultant. He also runs a blog where he shares style tips and outfit inspiration as well as exploring fashion trends, and reviewing products that he personally uses.
“The best part about it is that it actually complements my blog as I don’t need to contract a web developer to build, optimise or maintain my website,” says Mr Kagiri.
Dominated by female players
His decision to specialise in men’s wear was informed by his desire to be unique and make a difference in a field dominated by female players.
“The industry is saturated with female blogs. At the time I was starting out, I knew of only two other male bloggers. Furthermore, my interest is mainly in menswear and it was only natural that I specialise in that,” he says.
“Since then, there has been a surge of male bloggers, the likes of Sir Bryson, Freddie Anyona and Ian Mussilli. This is healthy for the local blogging industry as we all have different styles and we can appeal to a much larger clientele.”
Mr Kagiri makes up to Sh120,000 in a month. “The main sources of revenue are sponsored content and brand collaborations,” he says.
His focus now is creating a diverse clientele and meeting the modern style of advertising.
“Many big brands are starting to embrace influencer marketing as it appeals to an individual’s audience who look up to them for advice and tips,” he says.
Mr Kagiri advises those eyeing the field to have a long-term business plan. “As long as you have your niche, and a long-term business plan with different revenue streams you will succeed. You just need hard work, dedication and consistency,” he says.
His biggest asset, he says, is the trust of his customers. “That’s the reason why I will turn down a deal with a brand that I don’t believe in, or whose products I can’t vouch for. I do whatever is in my power not to jeopardise my customers’ trust,” he says. “I also respond to their queries promptly and follow up to ensure that they are satisfied.”
Like any other venture, he has encountered a number of challenges: “One challenge is with clients who aren’t willing to go out of their comfort zone due to stereotypes they might have towards dressing a certain kind of way,” he says.
Mr Kagiri is currently working on his YouTube channel which he intends to integrate with the blog to make it the ultimate menswear platform.
“The beauty of this digital era is that we have the power to create a revolution from the palms of our hands. The best thing about being alive in this day and age is that there are a lot of opportunities that can enable you to monetise your passion,” he notes. “As long as you are dedicated, willing to put in work, and you are consistent and patient enough, it will definitely pay off. The problem with some of us millennials is that we dream big but we aren’t willing to sacrifice in order to turn it into reality.”
Mr Kagiri won the inaugural MIMI Fashion Blogger Contest in 2015. “It was an amazing experience and it gave me the push I much needed at the time to continue generating content for my blog,” he says.