Early this week, Sauti Sol’s Bien Aime Baraza ventured into business, opening his own entertainment joint.
Bien launched the new bar and grill, named The Manhattan, showing up to the event with a few friends. It was an intimate affair, with drinks, food and music setting the mood.
He talked about his new venture in an interview with YouTuber Eve Mungai, revealing that he has other businesses and is driven to become an established entrepreneur.
“I admire how business savvy and successful Jay Z is, and I want to aim for something like that. Opening up a club has always been something that I’ve had in mind and hoped to do,” he said.
The singer said that the name of the club was inspired by a night out with friends in New York, Manhattan.
“I invested in this place with two of my friends that I went to university with. There’s a time when we had a Sauti Sol show in New York, and after the show, we went out in Manhattan and had an amazing night. Tukasema tukifungua club, tutaiita Manhattan,” Bien said.
He said that spending a lot of time in clubs was another factor that encouraged him to take the plunge and dive into the club business. It helps that one of his business partners already owns a club, and knows the ins and outs of the field.
“I am often paid to make club appearances. So I thought, why don’t I replicate that same success in my own space? It’s been such a beautiful experience. My fans have really came through and supported me. It’s only been open for one month but it’s been great.”
The singer said that he took that one-month period before officially launching The Manhattan so that he could make sure everything was perfect from the back end.
“Even during that short time period, I feel like it makes so much sense businesswise. People have been so supportive. Ilikuwa lazima ni make sure kwanza that nime pata everything right. The service delivery, food quality, and understanding stock take. But now that I’ve understood the back end of it all we’re moving forward,” he said.
He added: “I have other businesses, this is one of them. I come from poverty and I never want to go broke, that’s why I work so hard. Forever we multiply.”
Although this time around he has gone at it with friends, the singer has also ventured into business with his band in the past.
The Afro-pop band dived into the headphones and earpiece business in 2021, collaborating with local headphone brand Pace Africa for the project.
“We’ve been together now for eighteen years, it’s just the other day that we counted. In all that time, our collaboration with pace is one of the most symbiotic synergies we have made. We are taking this move very seriously. This is a beautiful, brilliant world-class product,” Bien said during the February 2021 launch.
Another popular personality, Tik Tok creator and dancer David Moya has also recently made business moves.
Moya launched a beauty spa dubbed Moya City Spa at the End of July. It was a packed event as his friends and fans showed up in large numbers to support him.
In an interview with Eve Mungai, the dancer revealed that his fans heavily inspired the solo project.
“I have many female fans; that was one of the things that inspired me. It was a good way for me to connect with my followers and friends. I’ve come to appreciate the time women take to make themselves look good and I wanted to support that. Pia ni hustle,” he said.
Speaking about getting the right team for the spa, the Tiktoker noted that he was connected to potential employees via social media and conducted an interview process before the launch.
“It’s officially open today but will start operations on Monday, August 1st. I plan to be coming by the spa often to interact with clients and ensure everything is running smoothly,” Moya said.
He added that the venture was one he had been planning for some time, revealing that it cost him “several millions” to open up the lavish spot.
“Nime struggle in the past and I don’t want to waste, I want to invest. Na pia mimi ni mfanya biashara,” he said, “It has been my thing for a long time and I’ve loved business since I was in high school.”
He added: “I’m grateful for my friends who urge me to make smart money choices as they also inspired me to do this.”
And Moya is not the first to see an investment opportunity in the beauty business- several notable personalities have launched salons, barbershops and spas.
The popular Influencer Vera Sidika, Lillian Muli and Betty Kyalo- both media personalities each have an eye on the beauty market in Kenya, having invested in salons and beauty spas.
Sidika owns a self-named beauty parlour, which she opened in June 2018. She moved the parlour from Nairobi to Mombasa in September 2020.
“I’m nervous but I’m also very excited. I’m about to cut the ribbon which will mean that we are officially open,” Sidika said during the 2018 launch.
It was a glamorous affair attended by friends in the entertainment scene, staying to true to Sidika’s reputation of hosting mega parties and events.
A tour of the new Mombasa-based spa was uploaded on YouTube by a channel called Inspire to Inspire. It reveals beautiful finishing and an all-white theme.
Betty Kyalo has been open about her own journey in owning and running a beauty establishment. She opened her salon Flair By Betty in 2018, and uses her impressive social media skills to advertise and market the brand.
The YouTube page Inspire to Inspire showcased the beauty parlour, which is decorated in detail. It features an area exclusively for manicures and another for pedicures, and even a children’s area.
“I want it to be that when the kids come, si ati wanalia. I want them to enjoy the experience,” Kyalo said on the tour, elatedly describing how young ones will also be part of a fun activities like palm painting.
She spoke to Jalang’o ahead of the tour and discussed why she recently relocated the establishment. It was previously located in Kilimani.
“Growth is inevitable. We needed to grow from the old place, which was beautiful, but it was time,” she said.
“I felt that I needed to give my clients more space, more options and variety.”
And speaking of the media personality Jalang’o, he too has explored his entrepreneurial side, owning an eatery that serves traditional food and African cuisine, Wapek restaurant.
He opened the Nairobi-based establishment earlier this year after hosting a grand opening.
“I hope you already know about the new restaurant in town, and it’s called Wapek. Wapek means ‘we are heavy’,” Jalang’o said on a YouTube clip on his channel, adding that the restaurant has two locations.
The jolly funny man took viewers on a virtual tour of the sleek restaurant, showcasing pretty African art that can be spotted all over, showing off the spacious, well-lit set up