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Making an extra coin: Celebrities who have ventured into business

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Early this week, Sauti Sol’s Bien Aime Baraza ventured into business, opening his 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 have 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 is a time when we had a Sauti Sol show in New York, and after the show, we went out to Manhattan and had an amazing night. Tukasema tukifungua club, tutaiita Manhattan (We said when we open a club we would call it 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 has been such a beautiful experience. My fans have come through and supported me. It has only been open for one month but it has been great.”

The singer said that he took that one month before officially launching The Manhattan so that he could make sure everything was perfect.

“Even during that short period, I feel like it makes so much sense businesswise. People have been so supportive. The service delivery, food quality, and understanding of stock take. But now that I have understood the back end of it, we are 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 is 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 have been together for 18 years. In all that time, our collaboration with pace is one of the most symbiotic synergies we have made. We are taking this move seriously. This is a beautiful, brilliant world-class product,” Bien said during the February 2021 launch.

Another 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 have come to appreciate the time women take to make themselves look good and I wanted to support that,” 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.

He added that he spent “several millions” to open up the lavish spot.

 David Moya [Instagram]

“I am 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.

Influencer Vera Sidika, and media personalities Lillian Muli and Betty Kyalo have an eye on the beauty market, having invested in salons and beauty spas.

Sidika owns a beauty parlour, which she opened in June 2018. She moved the parlour from Nairobi to Mombasa in September 2020.

Betty has been open about her 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.

“I want children to feel comfortable when they come here. I want them to enjoy the experience,” Betty said during the tour, elatedly describing how young ones will also be part of fun activities like palm painting.

She spoke to media personality Jalang’o ahead of the tour and discussed why she had to relocate the spa to a bigger space.

“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 Jalang’o, he too has explored his entrepreneurial side, owning an eatery that serves traditional food and African cuisine, Wapek Delicacies.

 Jalang'o [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

He opened the Nairobi-based establishment earlier this year.

“I hope you already know about the new restaurant in town, and it is called Wapek. Wapek means ‘we are heavy’,” Jalang’o said on a YouTube clip on his channel, adding that the restaurant has two locations.

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