Mwenesi Musalia, 35, is a face you have probably come across while scrolling your Internet feed especially on Facebook and LinkedIn. His popular brown seat and fitting suits are hard to go unnoticed as he covers a number of topics on his YouTube channel – Get Yours. If this is not the case, then you probably might have have seen him on his weekly show – Top Job – on Switch TV.
He’s the perfect definition of Mark Twain’s saying that clothes make a man. Mwenesi does dress the part and he has no apologies for that.
He lives by two whys; one is to fulfill his God-given potential and secondly to help others discover theirs. “I believe God put me on this earth for a reason and I try daily to figure it out. I also believe that I have a responsibility to make others believe and see their potential as well,” Mwenesi shares.
The first-born in a family of three was born and raised in Nairobi. His father was a lawyer and his mother a researcher. With such intellectual parents, Mwenesi had no choice but to rise to the occasion. “My father used to tell me that if I was always going to be a follower, I was nothing more than a sheep,” he recalls.
His parents always encouraged him and his siblings to have depth and substance. At the age of four while other children would be playing with their toys, Mwenesi would be surrounded by an array of books. “This made me thirst for knowledge and awakened my curiosity about a lot of things. At the age of five, I would read about countries and become fascinated,” he shares.
His knowledge was even further expanded when he globetrotted to South Africa, UK and many other countries for holiday with his family. And when his family relocated to South Africa, there was no holding him back.
After completing his A- levels, Mwenesi joined the University of Witwatersrand to study law.
“I initially wanted to study commerce but I was not strong in math so I chose law instead,” he explains. He soon realised that he could have his cake and eat it and thus specialised in contract law in order to appease his love for business and its transactions. For his Master’s, Mwenesi chose commercial law and international trade.
“I did my Master’s purely because I wanted to sound smart. I also knew I wasn’t going to practice law as I was more fascinated by international matters from the movement of people to goods and services,” he says.
Another interest he had picked while studying at the university was entrepreneurship. “This stemmed from the fact that I hanged with children from affluent families. I didn’t have the money they had and thus resorted to selling stuff so as to shore up my pocket money. I began to sell clothes, houses, CDs and offered DJ services,” he chuckles.
As his school mates went on with pupilage, Mwenesi started a DJ business with some of his friends in Johannesburg. The business picked up causing him to rub shoulders with huge entertainment players such as Channel O and this created avenues for him and his team to start hosting after parties for celebrities that visited the country for concerts. “To date I’m still a huge music lover,” he confesses.
His stay in Johannesburg was abruptly cut short thanks to visa issues, which saw him return to Kenya. This came as a shocker and he took time to settle.
“It took me a year and a half to find myself,” he shares.
Sinks into depression
For Mwenesi, he was certain and sure about where he was headed and what the future looked like and the drastic shift took a toll on him and he suffered a period of depression. “I had a plan: I was going to live in Johannesburg, have a house with a nice picket fence and a thriving business. I saw this dream fizzle out and so I began questioning my abilities and my view of certain things that were happening in my life at the time,” he expounds.
In his search for answers, he drew closer to God. “During this period, I found God and it became clear to me on what I should be focussing on as far as my purpose here on earth is concerned. Pulling strength from God and my family enabled me to pull through during this period,” Mwenesi elaborates.
He says that God brought a sense of calmness and balance in his life. “Understanding that I am on this earth for a finite amount of time and ensuring that I utilise this time well is important. To other men who might be going through this season in their life, I would ask them to take it easy, pick themselves up and keep moving,” he adds.
Venturing into image consulting
After going through a season of depression, Mwenesi got a position as the regional manager for corporate affairs at Lancet Laboratories East Africa. He was thereafter head hunted to be the country director for A&K Global Health.
With these positions, he had to ensure that he was taken seriously and be a person of depth as his parents had taught him and his siblings to be when they were young. For him to be taken seriously, step one was to make sure he dressed the part.
“During my tenure at Lancet Laboratories East Africa, a friend of mine told me I could no longer afford to look casual; I had to wear proper tailored suits. I heeded his advice and I felt the impact in the first meeting I attended in a tailored suit: everyone thought I was the managing director. From then on, I began budgeting every month for shoes, ties and suits for my wardrobe,” he shares.
His appearance – dressing, behaviour and speech – became something he paid attention to. This changed how people interacted with him and it fascinated him. “This roused my interest in human behaviour and so I started reading books that specialised in it. I kept learning and applying these things in my own life,” he says.
He stood out from the crowd and it was hard to miss Mwenesi; he was now a brand. He then started receiving requests from individuals interested in dressing and behaving for success.
Shift to self-employment
Having had enough of employment and seeing the potential to start his own image consulting firm, Mwenesi quit formal employment.
“In 2014, I took all my savings and started House of Major – a strategy and communications firm. Since then, the company has grown with 70 percent of its clients being internationals who come into the country to invest and establish themselves,” he elaborates.
Since he deals with diverse clients from all over the globe, Mwenesi has invested in image consulting and is now a certified trainer from the Protocol School of Washington, US.
“Attending this programme gave me diplomatic training to be the best at what I do. Secondly, it equipped me with connections that have helped me grow my business, giving me room to connect with CEOs, mid-level managers and politicians and helping them improve their image and presentation for success,” he adds.
On his return, he set up the Etiquette and Protocol Institute of East Africa (EPIEA) in 2017 with the aim of offering training and capacity building on soft skills which include behavior, communication, etiquette and personal branding.
That same year, in August to be precise, he took his lessons a notch higher by sharing them with many others through his YouTube channel – Get Yours. “Everyone has something special in them and the only best version we can be is of ourselves,” he states.
The videos on his platform are his way of investing in people who are not be able to pay the Ksh15,000 he charges for an hour of consultation. “When I began, I intended to do a maximum of five videos but to my surprise I now have over 170 videos,” he says.
Being in the public eye has in no way changed Mwenesi. For him, staying humble and grounded is equally important. Having been influenced highly by the likes of Barack Obama, Trevor Noah and his dear parents, his future aspirations are representing his country on a global platform.
He urges young men and women to have a mindset of abundance in all that they do. “There is sheer abundance in this world and we must learn how to think and live in that abundance. The world is big enough to accommodate each of us, hence we should not live in a frugal mentality but one that goes hard and attains what is ours,” he concludes.