Meet Mogusu Momanyi, a passionate marketer and a seasoned entrepreneur based in Nairobi, Kenya.With his charisma and aggressive entrepreneurial drive, he has steered several enterprises, including GoldSky, a stellar marketing agency, and now, Bespoke Soapstone Shop. Born alongside 2 siblings, Mogusu grew up in the lush green lands of Kisii County. He went to Pace Primary school where his entrepreneurial journey sprouted early.He started selling sweets at school to his classmates.Soon enough he ventured into the shylocking business. Afterwards, he moved on to Kisii High school where he was very active in various business clubs like the Junior achievers Club. Naturally, he would proceed to business school at the University of Nairobi where he majored in marketing. Mogusu Momanyi is the classic example of the perfect sales man.He could easily sell snow to an eskimo.He tells us more about his determination to break through entrepreneurial barriers.

You have worked widely in the marketing space. Why Marketing? Is this the career path that you always dreamed of?

Given my background in the business arena, sales and marketing were natural strengths for me. In each endeavour I pursued, I consistently found myself engaged in sales. This skill seamlessly transcended various ventures I explored.I also realised that not only did I enjoy the creative and strategic aspects of marketing but I also thrived on working on project work.As a result, I recognised the importance of delving deeper into the subject and striving to become an expert in that domain.

What are the things you wish you had been taught at the university that would have helped you in your current adult life?

Looking back, there’s a number of lessons I wish I’d uncovered back in my school days. However, if there’s one that really stands out, it’s this: don’t rush into launching a service or consultancy business right straight after finishing school. No matter how brilliant you may be, take time to learn and build robust networks, especially in the corporate arena. The corporate world isn’t particularly kind to newbies, so solid groundwork pays off big time!”

You started out in the corporate world and then switched to entrepreneurship. What changed?

 Yes I did.Here’s what happened: I kicked off my journey as an intern at a certain marketing agency, and within a swift three months, I was promoted to project manager because of good performance.However due to the office politics and a lot of red tape at the company,I realised that the corporate path was just not for me.I quickly switched back to my first love—entrepreneurship and never looked back.

What would you say is the key ingredient for a successful marketing strategy for small businesses on a tight budget?

The key to a successful marketing strategy especially when you do not have the financial muscle that most corporates do is perfecting the product and the customer interface.The product itself is a free marketing tool.It speaks for itself excluding the biases linked with the owner’s characteristics such as skin color or even personality.Simultaneously, the customer interface serves as a crucial gateway to directly connect with clients.It serves as the primary channel for direct interaction with clients.Business owners,whether big or small should always ensure that they treat their customers well.They should make their customers remember them for your good service.

“People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” Maya Angelo

When customers are happy, they  spread the word about your business to their friends and network. They act as advocates for your brand and encourage others to try your product or service too. As a business owner, all it takes  is that one customer and the rest will fall in place.

Please tell us about your current entrepreneurial venture

I run a gallery called bespoke  soapstone based in Sarit centre,Nairobi.It is a sanctuary for those who appreciate the exquisite fusion of nature and creativity.We avail artistic pieces made from soapstone from my village in Kisii. Each piece in our collection is a testament to the profound relationship between artistry and the natural world. With their deft hands and creativity, our artisans breathe life into the stone’s elegance and malleability, transforming it into captivating forms that speak to the soul.

I’m particularly passionate about Bespoke Soapstone because it carries the essence of my heritage. I grew up watching skilled artisans crafting it with boundless creativity and I made it my mission to one day inspire the world with these exquisite pieces of art.Look at me now 🙂

What are some of the most important lessons you've learnt about money?

I have learnt that it is important to separate your personal and business finances.This will help you get an accurate picture of your business cash flow.It is essential that you have a bank account specifically for your business and have all the  customer transactions directed to it.If you need to use funds for personal expenses, treat yourself as an employee, ensuring clear separation. Doing this will enable you to  value your business and this will also be a great leveraging tool when engaging financial institutions for  services 

What's your take on Mentors?Do you have one?

Well, I’ve had a couple of mentors myself, and I would honestly say that they are a bit overrated, if you ask me. I prefer sponsors instead. Sponsors are individuals who go out on a limb for you. They mention your name in important rooms and actually come through whenever you need support. Mentors are good to talk to when you need advice, but most of the time, you realize that you had the answers all along; you just needed someone else’s validation.

What would you say is a misconception that most people have of you?

(Laughs) A common misconception that I’ve often heard, especially from my business partners and colleagues, is that Ive had things have come easy in my life. There’s this idea that I attended fancy schools because of the way I speak or that I’ve always had financial backing from family or friends for my businesses. Nothing could be further from the truth. I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth, and I had to work for every single coin that I earned. Nevertheless, I’ve found that this misconception has worked in my favor because it has motivated me to live up to some of these expectations set by my peers. I’ve always aimed for the best for myself, and now I put in double the effort to attain some of the luxuries that people assume I have.