Chiedza Mahere: Social media is the cornerstone of entrepreneurship

chiedza mahere she leads africa

“Downtown Harare evokes people’s emotions”, says fashion blogger and rising #MotherlandMogul Chiedza Mahere. Chiedza is the woman behind Diary of a Smurf Dinkie. Despite the fact that she started blogging without a solid plan, Chiedza is the Zimbabwean International Women’s Award (ZIWA) Blogger of the Year 2016.

It’s no secret that at SLA, we love Beyoncé but Chiedza Mahere’s actual person is Solange. Believe it or not, Solange inspired Chiedza to start her blog and establish her brand. Diary of a Smurf Dinkie is a thrifter’s heaven, through the blog Chiedza reveals the (affordable!) fashion gems that can be found in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Using social media, Chiedza has expanded her website to include a store and is now making moves to become a stylist. And guess what’s also really cool? Chiedza works for/with her boyfriend! Of course, she shared tips from her experience below.


Tell me about yourself and what you love…

I am Chiedza Mahere, I am 26. I love fashion, clothes, I love shopping and I love to see people happy. Clothes reflect what a person’s feeling on that day.

On a gloomy day you’ll see me wearing all black. Then on a happy day you’ll see me wearing all sorts of colours because it evokes my emotions. It happens lots, it’s just that people hardly notice what’s really going on. Clothes were made for feeling.

Tell us about what inspired your blog

You know Solange Knowles? That’s my actual person! After listening to her first album 5 years back, I introduced her to everyone I knew. They’d ask, “Who is she and what’s she all about? Oh, Beyoncé’s sister!” She was never just Solange. I felt a deep connection to Solange not only because I loved her music and had a passion for fashion just like her but because I could relate. I was always Tari’s sister, so I understood exactly how she must have felt.

Everyone had been telling me to start a blog but I just wasn’t ready. I didn’t feel comfortable, I was a size 16 then, much bigger than I am now. I didn’t like the idea of having something made just for me because I couldn’t fit in the sizes the clothes came in. It wasn’t until I listened to Solange’s second album that I thought, she really is growing. People were starting to identify her as an individual and not just as Beyoncé’s sister anymore. She was breaking the mould and I wanted the same thing. It was time for my blog.

During a discussion with Zash, my boyfriend, he told me different clothes reminded him of the city, —downtown to be exact. Downtown Harare evokes people’s emotions, it makes them think their parents would have worn jeans like this; their grandmother probably would have worn a dress just like this and been in this exact place. So I decided I’d mix designer pieces like a Haus of Stone dress with thrifted shoes or a thrifted belt. We did our first photo-shoot in the city, I had no idea it would be that big, everyone loved it.

I decided that Diary of Smurf Dinkie is only going to be in the city, it doesn’t matter which city just downtown. I can’t wait to do a shoot in downtown Cape Town. People neglect the downtown part of their cities, Zash and I want to show that downtown a beautiful place.

@smurfdinkie believes downtown Harare evokes people’s emotions, even in fashion Click To Tweet

What is does blogging mean to you?

Blogging’s like a little magazine you can draw inspiration from but you don’t have to buy because it’s online. Blogging helps me express who I am, how down to earth I am and how I want to inspire women to be confident in their own skin. I don’t do the typical upper class look, I like old school clothes because I want you to feel like you aren’t pressured to be something you’re not or wear something that you can’t afford especially because we are young.

My blog shows that you can go to Mbare, Avondale Flea Market and get a top for 50c and a dress for $5.
My blog lets you know about the joys of thrifting, what’s hot at the moment and about what people are working on so that you discover local fashion designers in Zimbabwe and support them.

chiedza-mahereHow did you fall in love with thrifting?

During our time in Botswana, my mom and I went to the mall one day, I didn’t feel like going into Mr. Price so I went straight into the second hand store next door. As I walked into the store, I saw a real pretty dress, similar to one I had when I was 6. This dress was orange and had daisies on it, my mom used to call me Daisy because she said the daisy was almost like the sun. My name “Chiedza” which means light, represented the sunshine I brought into her life. The dress was only 10pula,  I was 11 years old at the time and and I fell in love with thrifting then.

When we moved back to Zimbabwe, my mom’s friend asked me if I wanted to tag along, she was going to Mbare. I didn’t know what that was because I hadn’t grown up here, she told me it was a ‘musika’, a market where they sold everything from building material to clothes, I was so excited. We got there and I went punk, I was so excited to find a pair of original Calvin Klein jeans. You get all these cool things that no one else is going to be wearing.

Through Diary of a Smurf Dinkie, Chiedza Mahere highlights Zimbabwean fashion designers Click To Tweet

So your love for thrifting yielded a blog and you recently won a Zimbabwean International Women’s Award (ZIWA) for Blogger of the year. How does that make you feel and why do you think you won?

I don’t know why I won! The great thing about blogging is I get to meet so many people that I never knew I was going to meet. The internet really is a small community because everybody’s connected to somebody. People saw my efforts and thought it authentic because it shows our home.

Most Zimbabweans my age that are overseas haven’t been home for almost 10-15years. They love my blog because they get to see the city, they get to see the parts that they remember going shopping with their moms, dads and grandparents. Apparently I’m bringing something that no else is bringing, which I still don’t understand because I see other blogs with pictures taken in the city.

I went into this thing blind, so winning this award was mind-blowing! I had no idea it was going to be such a big deal!

chiedza mahere she leads africaHow will this award help you grow?

My dad’s my biggest fan and he asked me this. To be quite frank, I think this award gives me so much exposure.
It’s the start of something new, it means a lot to me because I want to start styling.

It gives people more confidence to call me up and say they need a dress. It will definitely bring attention from designers all over, regionally and even overseas.

Twitter Chat with Tsholofelo Dikobe: Building a multifaceted fashion career (Dec. 1)

fashion career tsholo-dikobe

There are various ways to get involved in the fashion industry besides fashion design. We recently met a Motherland Mogul who is making waves in the fashion industry via multiple channels.

Unable to be branded under just one category of fashion, Motswana Tsholofelo Dikobe, is known as a fashion artist. As a fashion journalist, blogger, curator, stylist and creative consultant, Tsholofelo is fully immersed and respected in the world of fashion. She is currently in the running for Southern Africa’s Most Stylish Female Celebrity.

Join us Thursday Dec. 1st for a Twitter chat with Tsholofelo Dikobe. She’ll be sharing with us how she has been able to build her own niche within the fashion world and created a career for herself on her own terms.

Follow She Leads Africa on twitter and use the hashtag #SLAChats to ask your questions and participate in the discussion.

Topics that we’ll cover:

  • Networking and making connections in the fashion world
  • What it means to be a fashion artist
  • How to become a stylist for A-listers and celebrities
  • Staying unique and wading through the noise

Twitter chat details

  • Date: Thursday Dec. 1, 2016
  • Time: 7am NYC // 1pm Lagos  // 3pm Gaborone
  • Location: Follow She Leads Africa on twitter and use the hashtag #SLAChats

Help us spread the word:

Join @TheKhoi_Fro & @sheleadsafrica for a twitter chat about building a fashion career, Dec. 1 @ 12pm GMT Click To Tweet

fashion career

About Tsholofelo Dikobe

Named a fashion trail-blazer you should follow by CNN, Tsholofelo Dikobe is a fashion artist from Botswana.

Tsholofelo Dikobe is the co-founder and fashion artistic director of GaTsh Fros, a creative duo that focuses on advocating for creativity and confidence building through fashion. She is widely regarded as a pioneer in fashion, image consultancy and fashion creative direction within Botswana. Tsholofelo works with Botswana fashion enthusiasts on brand positioning to help brand a new Botswana where now the focus is in favour of raiment designs by local Botswana artists.

Tsholofelo has worked as fashion stylist alongside one of UK’s top stylists, Arieta Muray, for Gaborone Fashion Week featuring people like Quincy Brown, LaQuan Smith, YaYa Dacosta and Sessille Lopez. She had also appeared in campaigns and her style had been profiled by CNN African Voices, ELLE Magazine, S.A. New African Woman magazine, Marie Claire, AfroElle, Glamour and many others.

Twitter Chat with Iman Mkwanazi: Building your brand while in school (Nov 10)

build your bran with iman

Your university years are an important time to lay the groundwork of your career and build your brand. Many people even choose to begin a side hustle while in school. This side hustle can become a full blown business or just work towards establishing your authority in a certain field.

While the idea of building a brand is great in theory, the practicalities of doing so can be daunting. We assure you it’s not too complicated. Building a brand consists of not acting a fool, and planning your moves. Whether you are looking to be a blogger, a model, an entrepreneur or simply be an authority in your field even before you receive your diploma, building your brand while in school  is essential to all your future endeavors.

Join us Thursday Nov. 10th for a twitter chat with South African entrepreneur, blogger & model, Iman Mwkwanazi. While studying for her BSc Honours, Iman was also hustling to co-found a construction company, build her modeling and blogging careers and establish herself as a creative director. Needless to say, it took lots of branding and planning ahead. She will be sharing her advice and processes for establishing her thriving brand while completing her studies.

Whether you are in school or not, this webinar is one you will not want to miss.

Some of the topics we’ll cover:

  • What it means to have a brand
  • Balancing school & your side hustle
  • Finding and networking with people in the right industry
  • Establishing your voice & authority early one
  • What to do when your studies and the industry you are going into don’t align

Webinar Details:

  • Date: Thursday November 10, 2016
  • Time: 7:00am New York City // 12:00pm Lagos // 1:00pm Johannesburg
  • Location: Follow She Leads Africa on twitter and use the hashtag #SLAChats

Help us spread the word:

Tune into #SLAChats on twitter Nov. 10 @ 11am GMT to learn from @ImanMkwanazi about building your #brand in school: Click To Tweet

build your brand

About Iman Mkwanazi

Iman Mkwanazi is a busy girl. As a Bsc Graduate, entrepreneur, blogger, model, creative director, influencer and speaker, she works with companies and brands to optimise their brand awareness through digital, content and social media marketing. She is also the co-founder of Mkweni Groundwork.

Mkweni Groundwork was founded two years ago and they are contractors for City Parks and Studio Six interior design. In the short time that the company has been around, it has been featured in Forbes Woman Africa and Iman and her partner Nene Mboweni  are Levi Pioneers Nation speakers.

Iman is also the Creative Director and contributor for online magazine; MadMash, which focuses on lifestyle, health, wealth and fashion. She most recently covered Africa Fashion Week for MadMash.

Iman has collaborated with various brands on an array of projects, including Puma, Spitz, and Styling for Mr. Price. Iman has also modeled for companies such as Edgars, Legit, Cell C, Adidas, Nike, Samsung and Foschini.

 

6 steps to building the confidence you need to bring your blog to the masses

Abiola Babarinde

Have you ever wanted to share something with the world, but you’ve hesitated? You ask yourself, ”can I really do this? Will people like what I produce?”

I can relate.

Putting yourself out there is daunting – the Internet can be a scary place. If anyone had told me a year ago that I’d be running my own website, www.abiola.me and sharing my thoughts on life and faith, I would have laughed in their face. Me? Faith? My experiences? It didn’t sound very glamorous and we all know it can be a touchy subject. After months of umm’ing and ahh’ing, I decided to take the plunge.

Since then, I’ve found that the world of writing isn’t so big and scary after all. In fact, there’s a lot of good that can come from joining the conversation. Now I’m going to share 6 steps to help you to launch your blog with all the Naomi Campbell-level confidence you can muster.

Step 1: Believe in your product and it’s purpose

First of all, your product (or in the blogger’s case, content) should be something you’re passionate about and you think other people will enjoy. I didn’t start Abiola.me just cause I ‘wanted to have a blog’, that’s not enough to sustain you when the novelty wears off. From chatting to friends and strangers alike, I could sense that we were all looking for something ‘more’ in our lives, that missing piece.

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Personally, I had found something that had a huge impact on me, and I had a strong feeling that other people might find it useful too. In true Olivia Pope style, I decided to trust my gut. A strong belief in your product will eventually outweigh your self-doubt or fear of what people might say.

Step 2: Your online voice is unique, believe in it, develop it

Next, think about your tone of voice. This is one of the most important things as it helps people to buy into and believe in what you’re offering. I decided that I wanted my blog to be approachable and relatable, kind of like speaking to a wise, trusted friend. Each time I publish a blog post, I continue to ask myself, do I sound like that friend? Asking yourself these questions regularly will help bring your content to life.

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But I can’t write as well as some of the other people out there… I hear you say. Listen, no one becomes good at something without practice – don’t ever let that put you off. We all have to start somewhere, as long as you’ve got your spelling and grammar down, you’re good to go. If you need help, send a draft post to a friend for feedback – that’s what I did at the start and it worked like a dream. The key is to share it with people who are supportive but also comfortable with giving constructive criticism.

Remember that this entire experience is a learning opportunity, and waiting until you’re ‘perfect’ is unrealistic (even the Chimamanda Adichie’s of this world have still got stuff to work on! We all do).

Step 3: Take the plunge, spread the word

The next thing to do is to tell people! It’s really that simple. When I first started my blog, I told no one except 4 or 5 close friends. Even worse, when I added new posts I didn’t tell anyone at all because I was too shy. This is where belief in your product and yourself becomes super helpful: I knew what I was creating was useful and I was putting in too much effort for it not to be shared. So I decided to finally put on my big girl pants and spread the word, what was the worst that could happen?

Sharing wasn’t easy – the very first day I prepared my social media promo posts, I was nervous. I knew deep down that I would never feel 100% ready, I’d always find another excuse, so I just did it. Sometimes, you’ve just got to close your eyes and go for it. It’s like jumping into a pool, you’re hesitant at first but the adrenaline pushes you to do it anyway, and once you’re in you realise that it’s actually pretty fun! It also gets easier the second time, then the third time, and suddenly you’re 6 months down the line telling everyone about it.

The best thing about sharing is that it’s infectious. If people like your product they will share it their friends without you even asking. I have had colleagues, old university mates and acquaintances tell me how much they enjoy reading my work. But it’s up to you to get the wheels turning; you are your first and biggest cheerleader, so never be afraid to lead the pack.

Step 4: Be sponge, soak it all up

Congrats, you’ve made it to Step 4 in one piece – not so bad is it?

Next, absorb lessons from everyone (and everything) around you; articles, blogs, other people, celebrities – whatever. Inspiration comes from the most random places. So many things inspire the way I write, the images I use or my future plans. Also, never underestimate the power of your own story, even though learning from your peers and the gawds is important, don’t forget to get busy living.

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Be open to discussion, collaboration and feedback – there’s nothing like bouncing ideas around with people you respect, whether that’s friends, family, mentors, your readers or your peers in the writing game. What you choose to do with the feedback is totally your choice, but always be open to listening.

Step 5: Your non-writing experience is relevant too

Ever had a job or been in school, university or college? These experiences have helped you to develop the prioritisation and organisational skills you need to keep your blog alive. Developing content takes commitment, dedication and sometimes saying no to brunch (#tears) or staying awake for an extra hour.

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Being able to keep yourself accountable and balance all your responsibilities will be the difference between a one-hit-wonder and something more substantial. Luckily for us, we live in a world of automation, so you can use tools like Buffer, HootSuite and Latergramme to help you get organised. So while you’re sleepin’ you’re also tweetin’ – you overachiever, you.

Step 6: Be patient, be authentic and expect the best

Stick to your blogging hustle ladies, you might have some kinks to work out at first, but stick to it. Continue to tell people, continue to improve and most of all continue to produce that good content.

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Some days might be easier than others, some blog posts may be more or less popular than you expected but keep at it, it’s so worth it. You’ve got something unique to offer, so don’t keep it under wraps! It’s amazing what happens when you’re willing to put yourself out there, even just a little bit.

Good luck!

5 tech tools for blogging bosses

If you’re a blogger, you probably know how time-consuming managing a blog can be. You need tech tools for blogging because between editing your pictures just right, resizing them for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—and making sure your posts are typo-free—one can become frazzled very quickly.

Blogging bosses cannot afford to be stressed out. We must maintain an air of effortlessness at all costs.

So, here are a few of my favorite tech tools that take care of the annoying parts of the blogging business so you can keep focused on the big picture.

Fiverr

Delegate, delegate or delete; that’s my mantra. If something will take up more time than I have available, I find a capable person to handle it or I delete the idea.

Find a programmer to do those annoying CSS edits to get your blog looking just right, or hire the perfect graphic designer to breathe new life into your blog images. Fiverr has it all, and for $5 a pop, you can too. No wahala!

Tomorrow App

How many times have you been stumped trying to figure out where you wrote your to-do list? Okay, maybe you’re organized and your lists are always within reach, but, there’s nothing like being able to see all your to-do’s, personal and professional, in one place and never run out of paper!

Tomorrow App is a simple app without distractions. Just put in a to-do item and tap to cross the item off the list when it’s completed. If you don’t get to it, it automatically transfers everything over to the next day. I’m a staunch ‘paper and pen’ girl, but this Tomorrow App on my phone is a lifesaver!

PicMonkey

I take most of the pictures for my blog, ThisAfropolitanLife. Photography is on my list of creative pursuits. As much as I try to make sure I take pictures good enough to post without edits, sometimes I fail and a little touching up is necessary.

PicMonkey is a quick and effective online tool. No need to download anything, just upload and edit away. For blog graphics and more involved designs, I use Canva.

Canva

Between Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and all the other social media platforms, one can be tasked with a nightmare of a job; adjusting one single photo into dozens of different sizes, just to make sure they display properly.

Canva makes this easy and eliminates the stress. They have pretty pre-designed templates in all social media sizes you need. It’s a one-stop-shop to make all your blog graphics come to life.

Grammarly

There’s nothing more off-putting than an errant typo or grammatical error on a blog post. Don’t loose readers, tighten up your prose with Grammarly; a free tool that catches typos and grammatical errors.

It’s like having your own personal editor or English professor within reach. Just upload your document or post and watch Grammarly work its magic.

Don’t vex: 10 must do’s for using social media for business

There is so much hype on using social media for business. Yet, many brands are not using it at all or many of those who are, are not getting it right. We’ve complied the basic must dos for all of us to revisit once more.

Thousands of businesses have taken to platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus to build a brand that’s accessible, lovable, and profitable. Instagram has proved to be an especially viable means of building a customer base for fashion brands. Think Orange Culture, Eve and Tribe, Shop Zuvaa, Iconola, Tzar Studios, and so on.

Social media gives you access to an enormous audience that could be converted to loyal customers if you play your cards right. Below are 10 steps that will help you dominate social media and harness its potential.

1. Know your why

Explore why your business is on social media and why you are on each specific platform. While social media allows you to build a relationship your audience, the nature of the relationship you have with your consumers is completely up to you.

Are you on social media to share relevant information to your industry, showcase your business products, establish yourself/business as an expert or some mix of them all? Whatever it is, knowing your ‘why’ is an imperative first step.

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2. Decide the best platforms for your business 

Use your why to inform the social media platforms you choose for your business. There are over 400 social media platforms currently active and it is impossible to be them all. What platforms do you think would be more beneficial for your business? Let’s dive into the benefits of a few: Instagram and Pinterest allow you to connect with audience on a visual and emotional level.

Google Plus helps with search engine rankings. LinkedIn is great for publicizing your company profile page or business resume. Ryze is a social network for businesses, may especially helpful for business to business (B2B) companies. Twitter, Facebook, Talkbizniw, Affluence, and Quora; the list is exhaustive.

Take time to study the benefits of each of these platforms then pick at most 3 of the those platforms for your business.

3. Develop a strategy

Wondering why 100 fashion bloggers are talking about the same shirt from a particular fashion brand at the same time? Well, it’s no coincidence. Welcome to the world of strategy – the ultimate key that unlocks opportunities for businesses.

To start, your key strategies must align with your company’s mission. While all of the elements listed below are part and parcel of doing the strategic work, it is important to understand that setting time aside to write our your overall social media strategy is a vital actionable step that stands alone.

Having a good social media strategy is essential for growth. Your strategy should include all of the elements listed below as well as data and feedback metrics. With a clear metrics for examining progress and growth, this work will be for naught.

maya-rudolph-thinking gif4. Get the timing right

Preparation + opportunity = success.

Opportunity is a function of time, and posting the right content at the right time makes a difference. On Facebook, post from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m any day for the highest average click through rate; 3 p.m. on Wednesdays is the peak time.

For Twitter, post from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. from Monday to Thursday. The peak times for LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google Plus are 5 p.m. daily, 3 p.m. on Fridays, and 9 a.m. on Wednesdays respectively.

5. Be human

Think of developing a well rounded person as you develop your brand on social media. You must clearly articulate your mission and choose consistent brand colors, style, and tone for all of your social media accounts.

Remember to show empathy in your branding, after all, there is a person on the end of the screen.

nicki-minaj-human-being6. Know what your audience wants and give it to them

As you begin to build your followers and audience, take the time to listen to them. Study the kind of posts they react to; which posts get the most comments? Which ones get the most likes?

Which of your social media pages does your audience constantly engage on? Are they creating content and visuals related to your product that you can repost. Social listening and data collection is crucial: once you provide your audience with what they want, they’ll stick around and tell others about you.

7. Use hashtags

As distracting as they appear to you, hashtags go a long way on social media. People are constantly searching for things, and correctly hashtag-ing your posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, will put you on the radar and increase your visibility on search engines.

Use hashtags reasonably and strategically, and soon enough you’ll see the benefits.

8. Offer promotions, contests and discounts 

Everyone likes freebies in every shape and form. Giveaways, special offers, and discounts will get people to notice your brand.

Be clear on how every giveaway you host improves your business, helps you grow, or increases audience interaction and participation. In order to create a win-win situation, everything you do must also be beneficial to your brand.

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9. Link back to your website

Many people forget this step: don’t forget that social media is there to help improve your business and as such, people must know where to find you off social media.

Connect everything to your website so that your followers can actually make the purchase after you’ve done the work of building the relationship and converting them to loyal fans. Don’t just add your website link to your social media profiles; share that link with your audience intermittently as reminder.

10. Stick to the plan

Finally, it is so easy to fall off on social media as a tool to grow your business if you are not consistent with steps 1-9. But there only way to win in the long run is to be consistent.

As famous entrepreneur Jim Rohn accurately described: “Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic principles”.

We would love to know – what are some social media tips that you apply to your brand?

Sharon Mundia: I want a fantastic, mindblowing life

Sharon Mundia - This Is Ess

Sharon Mundia started blogging regularly three years ago, right after graduating from Monash University in South Africa with a degree in Marketing and Management. She had always had a passion for literature, even receiving a high school literary award, but practicality won out when it came to choosing an academic major.

Luckily for her, the background in marketing came in handy when she started to think of her blog, This is Ess, – which started as an online avenue for sharing little pieces of her life – as a platform on which to build her brand.

As her community of readers grew, companies sought her out to advertise their products. Initially, she would feature the free products she received from them without asking for anything in return. Blogging, however, took up time and energy.

She realized she would burnout if she couldn’t make it profitable. Her parents, who were concerned about her, gave her a time frame to figure it out. The resulting sense of urgency compelled Sharon to rethink her approach to her blog and to start viewing it as a business.

Turning the blog into a business

Sharon Mundia - This Is Ess

Sharon had to first stop accepting freebies as payment for featuring products on her blog. “Imagine Company X chose to advertise at a media house– would they tell the media house: ‘Can we give you five pairs of shoes to run this on your platform?’” she said. “They would never, so I started to think of myself as a platform for companies to share their product.”

However, she is aware that a “don’t accept freebies” policy might not work for every blogger. “It depends on where you are,” she said. “If you’re just beginning then you need some flexibility.”

She then came up with a rate card for potential clients. The card clearly spells out the cost of featuring on her blog and social media accounts. As a rule, she gives this rate card to anyone she works with – including pro-bono clients – as a way of communicating the monetary value of her work.

In order to give her site a more clean and professional look, she started working with Victor Peace, a skillful photographer who now takes most of the pictures for This is Ess. For special projects, she also partners with Corrine Munyumoo, a hairstylist, and Muthoni Njoba, a makeup artist, who both ensure that she is camera-ready.

For the most part though, This is Ess is a one woman show. Each post that successfully goes up requires a multistep process that Sharon runs on her own. First, she drafts proposals and budgets to send out to potential clients. Since This is Ess is a lifestyle and fashion blog, she approaches companies that are in those industries and that are a good fit.

Once she has received a yes from a client, it is then up to Sharon to communicate with them, organize meetings, and send invoices and post-shoot receipts. Sometimes companies approach her to work with them. She then has to assess whether the products that they are offering align with her brand.

As the creative director for the photo shoots, Sharon scouts for locations, picks themes and directs Victor Peace on the specific details she wishes to capture. After Victor has edited the pictures and selected the final ones, Sharon then adds the necessary captions or graphics, writes a piece to go with the photos and finally uploads them to This is Ess.

The entire process can take up to several days and a lot of emailing back and forth, yet the final product can be consumed by readers in less than a minute “Sometimes people think you just show up and take a picture,” she said. “But you don’t know how much time – how many emails, proposals, time for the shoot – went into making that product.”

Investing in the blog has also presented Sharon with several other opportunities. It has opened the door to endorsement deals, for example. Sharon is currently a brand ambassador for Store 66 – a Kenyan clothing store, and for the Samsung A Series.

Last year, her blogging caught the eye of Capital FM, a leading Nairobi-based radio station that was getting into online content creation. She now shoots videos and writes articles for the station.

To prioritize, Sharon divides her day into neat chunks for each activity. During her most productive morning hours she is working on content for Capital FM. Afternoons are saved for emails, planning photo shoots and attending meetings.

In the evening, she might have an interview or take photos for her blog. She doesn’t party, after discovering early on that partying on Friday night meant that she’d be recovering on Saturday morning instead of taking pictures for her blog. That is one of the sacrifices that she has to make as a mediapreneur in order to achieve her goals.