Sharon Mundia Biography
Sharon Mundia was born in 1989 to a veteran journalist, Mundia Muchiri and Mrs. Mundia. She is the founder of This Is Ess, Kenyas best fashin blog. She has not only risen to become a fashion icon but also one of the most sort fashion icon but also one of the most sought after for beauty product endorsement.
Sharon Mundia has been blogging for a couple years now and what started out as a fun hobby has turned into a great passion for me. “I’m lucky enough to be able to do what I love which, in essence, is to share my personal style and other bits of my life in the hope that it will inspire women of all ages.” She says
Sharon Mundia Education Background
2009- 2011: Undergraduate student at Monash University, South Africa, Bachelor of Business and Commerce, Management and Marketing
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Student at Rusinga ,She did GCE system
Sharon Mundia Job History
January 2012- December 2012: Marketing Officer at 50 Treasures Of Kenya Trust
- Developing partner concepts; assisting in promotional campaigns; developing the Treasure content; identifying and approaching possible sponsors; identifying and approaching Treasure ambassadors; developing a marketing strategy for 50 Treasures etc.
August 2011- November 2011: Recruitment Assistant, Holystic Approach
July 2011- October 2011: Businesss Law Tutor at Monash South Africa
February 2011- March 2011: Sales Assistant at Van Schaik Bookstore
- Worked part-time and assisted with sales transactions, queries and placed bookings for customers.
Sharon Mundia Career as a Fashion blogger
Sharon Mundia came to realise that fashion isn’t just about being trendy and cute, it’s about expressing your character, building your confidence and ultimately celebrating yourself.
Sharon Mundia started blogging 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 Mundia to rethink her approach to her blog and to start viewing it as a business.
Sharon Mundia – Turning a blog into a business
Sharon Mundia first had to 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 cautions 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.”
Sharon Mundia 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 Mundia 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 Mundia 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.
Investing in the blog has also presented Mundia with several other opportunities. It has opened the door to endorsement deals, for example. Mundia 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.
Sharon Mundia – My day
To prioritize, Sharon Mundia divides her day into neat chunks for each activity. During her most productive morning hours she works 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.
Sharon Mundia – Baby Steps
Would she advise her children to get into a creative career? Without missing a beat, Mundia’s response to this question is “Absolutely.” She would then prepare them for the challenges of the business.
One of the biggest issues she had to deal with was rejection. In the beginning, for every twenty proposals she sent out, only about two were successful, and up to fifteen were not responded to. Compared to established media in Kenya, blogging is still the new kid on the block. This means that Mundia has to work hard to demonstrate to companies the validity of her blog as an advertising platform.
Sometimes companies say yes but the actual experience of working with them doesn’t match the expectations. “Two weeks ago, I had something that I thought would be huge and then I went into the meeting and it was nothing like I expected,” Mundia said. Other times it takes much longer than planned for things to work out. She initially received a “no” for the Samsung A series, for example, which turned into a “yes” much later on. On occasion, clients still expect her to feature their products for free. As they see it, they are giving her “content” to blog about. They fail to realize that people are drawn to blogs more for the unique voice of the blogger, rather than for a particular kind of content. Besides, there is no shortage of content when it comes to fashion.
Mundia’s faith in God and the progress she has seen over the years keep her moving in the face of such challenges. “More and more people understand that bloggers are a brand and influencers, and have worked hard to be where they are today,” she said. “So if they agree to work with you on a project, X amount of people will learn about the project and X amount of people could buy the product.” “Whichever way I look at it, I can feel myself moving forward, and that is fulfilling and I’m so grateful,” added Mundia. In two years she has gone from worrying about the sustainability of her career to owning a car and becoming financially stable. The gains are small, but they add up.
Sharon Mundia – Rejoicing and Ridicule
One challenge of having a personal blog morph into a commercial entity is learning how to balance the blurred boundaries between personal life and business. Just before our interview, for example, a man walked up to Mundia to offer his business card, and a young girl asked to take a selfie with her. Sharon Mundia welcomes such attention. It reaffirms that people are reading, and watching whatever she shares online.
The flip side of this is that it comes with its share of critics. “When you let the world into elements of your life, then they have the authority to comment on it, to ridicule it, to hate on it, to love it, to share it, to rejoice in it,” Mundia said. “It [The criticism] hurt the most when it was the first few negative comments.” Such comments have also been fueled by the rise of online Kenyan tabloids, which she now intentionally avoids. “Even tabloids are willing to take on anyone who has some kind of remote online life,” she said. “That also would upset me because I used to think why would you publish something that was so untrue or so mean?”
In dealing with criticism, Sharon Mundia has learnt to differentiate between constructive criticism and personal attacks on the internet. She considers the former and not the latter. She is very deliberate about what parts of her life she exposes to the public, especially when it comes to family. “I’ve been very careful only sharing things that I am OK having the world get into,” said Mundia.
In early May, when Sharon Mundia announced her engagement on her blog, she thought only a small group of readers would see it. Instead, the massive reaction on the post (which was viewed over 100,000 times in the first 24 hours) led not only to her website crashing for most of the day, but also to her being dubbed a “newsjacker” by a national newspaper. The event illuminated Mundia’s impact and her potential as an ideal partner for companies wishing to reach an internet savvy youth audience.
However, If she had to do it over, she would not announce her engagement on the blog the same way. One of the lessons she learnt from the whole experience is that it’s better to enjoy those private moments for a little while before making them public. “I’m not sure if looking back I would have announced it. I thought at first it would just be my circle of readers and then it grew into something more and I thought: I’ve exposed a really sentimental part of my life and people can comment on it– ridicule and rejoice– and that was scary,” she said. “If for instance I had a baby today, would I share the story on my platform tomorrow? Maybe not. But in a few weeks– I just might.”
Sharon Mundia – Future prospects
Sharon Mundia acknowledges that she is privileged in many ways. For one, her family has been willing and able to support her in her journey. Her father, a journalist himself, gave her a lot of advice when she was starting off, especially when it came to decisions about building her brand. Being based in Kenya allowed her to have a greater impact than she would have had had she been blogging from outside the continent. Finally, she has had the freedom to pursue her creative endeavours while young and before starting a family of her own.
In the long run, Mundia hopes to expand This is Ess into a full-fledged lifestyle and media outfit that brings together creators from across Africa. She also hopes to launch a line of fashion and beauty products in her name. In the meantime, she plans on blogging more regularly, and growing her brand and following.
On a personal level, she would love to live a fulfilled existence. “I have always yearned for a great life,” said Mundia who commits to doing everything with passion. “I want a fantastic, mindblowing life, to travel with my friends, to see this world in ways I have not seen it yet… a happy family and to be financially secure.”
Sharon Mundia gives her thoughts
Each morning you wake up with a blank canvas and just like an artist, you choose to paint a picture of yourself that you then share with the world. My hope for my blog is to inspire women around Africa to be the best damn artists they could possibly be.
Sharon Mundia Awards
- Top Student in Organisational Behaviour at Monash South Africa
- Awarded merit Scholarship at Monash South Africa, 2010-2011
- Awarded merit Scholarship at Rusinga International School, 2007
- Received Top Literature Student Award, Kenya, from Cambridge International Examinations, 2007
- Best fashion Beauty and fashion blog of the year at the BAKE awards
Sharon Mundia Boyfriend
Sharons fiancee is Lonina Leteipan, Relationship Manager at Chase Bank Kenya Ltd. He did his undergraduate at USIU and postgraduate degree in Rhodes University South Africa. He previously worked for Barclays Bank as a Relationship Officer then at CFC Stanbic as the Corporate Relationship Officer.
Sharon Mundia Photos