Meet Grace Muendo, a Quantity Surveyor Who Has a Passion for Fashion

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For many people, especially the young generation, working full time and getting a second part-time job can be draining. It however requires appropriate planning since some companies may demand your full-time attention, even off-hours. Whereas many young adults think weekends is a time away from work and while them away aimlessly, Grace Muendo choose to make her weekends accounted for. During this time, she is not just busy dressing people up, but also helping them feel fabulous and confident.

Who is Grace Muendo?
I’m a young Kenyan adult, who works as a full time quantity surveyor and a part time blogger/fashion consultant. I’m a girl with a keen eye for detail. I know the ins and outs of the fashion industry because I’m passionate about it. I attend fashion shows in my free time to learn more about the industry.

How did you get started as fashion consultant/stylist?
I started by giving my friends advice on purchases and offering to shop for my family members. From there, I learned about trends and outfits as well as how to pair them and being organized enough to work within a budget. The rest, as they say, just fell into place.

Tell us more about UniqUrban – Bits of me?
UniqUrban is a fashion and travel blog featuring scenes in both Kenya and the United Kingdom where I lived for some time. It keeps up with the latest trends in the fashion industry and showcases outfits for a wide variety of clientele.

What inspired you to start the blog?
My friends encouraged me to open a website. After that, it was basically jotting down bits and pieces about me and my style and getting people hyped about reading and seeing my content. The feedback was great. I started getting questions on all types of outfits and how to pair them up. That is how I became a fashion consultant.

As a fashion stylist/blogger, what sets you apart from others in the industry?
You’ve seen my blog right? My passion for fashion goes deep and while everyone in the industry has their own style, I would categorize my style as modern and fun. I think that is why I receive a lot of consultations.

We also understand that you are a quantity surveyor. Can you tell us more about it?
Quantity surveying is about administering contracts and coming up with Bills of quantities. We basically make sure things are running smoothly in a project (No cost overruns). Anything that can affect costs in a project goes through us.

Do you practice or you have devoted your time to fashion consulting?
I practice quantity surveying. Fashion consulting is a side job. I mostly do it on the weekends so it works well for me.

What can you say you have achieved so far?
The answer to that is twofold. First, I have obtained my masters degree. Secondly, being a personal shopper for a few clients is great. These are achievements that make me quite pleased. I’m looking forward to more steps in future.

Have you faced any challenges, and how did you overcome them?
Like any other career, there are some challenges you encounter as a fashion stylist.
To start with is inconsistency. Ideally you need to be consistent with your content. Organizing photo shoots, balancing quality edits, achieving deadlines and managing social media among others. It’s tough; I’m not going to lie. All I’ll say is if you’re driven, you’ll manage.

Secondly, gaining recognition is also hard. That’s because, the fashion industry market is saturated. Piece of advice, it’s important to find a niche and stick to it.

Thirdly, getting hands on experience. I would like to undertake an internship but I really don’t have the time. I’m working on something though.
Another note of concern from my experience is that the fashion stylists I’ve met in Kenya are very reserved with information. What’s up with that? I think the more we share, the more we progress as an industry. It’s great to be competitive but not “jealous”.

What gives you the most satisfaction being a fashion consultant?
Seeing someone smile or get excited because I listened and got what worked for them. It’s priceless.
I also get satisfaction from knowing my stuff. I can’t really say more about that.

Finally, referrals. When someone refers you, you get an inner joy that tells you you’re doing well, you know?
Can you comment on the current trends in the fashion industry in Kenya?

In Kenya, I feel we don’t have our own style yet. We are still trying to recreate most of the western culture. We are also so conservative. What we do have though is the Ankara prints. Wildly beautiful…and people are doing crazy, amazing outfits with the fabric like the sweatshirts, pants, bags and the recent umbrella designs. We also have a leather vibe going on. It’s cool. ☺️

All the off-shoulders, cut-outs, kimonos and palazzo pants are all western outfits which we are assimilating quite well into our fashion.

What are your future plans and aspirations?
Breaking into menswear for my styling because I haven’t styled a man yet
Have more fun shopping sprees. (PS: if you need a personal shopper because you don’t have time to go for shopping, hit me up on Facebook or Instagram)
Get a fashion internship.

Have my own studio and possibly finally join my brother in having our own merchandise.
Collaborate with more bloggers, photographers, models and brands.
I aspire to keep inspiring people with my outfit suggestions and put Kenya on the map.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Don’t be discouraged by the numbers. We are many but when you are passionate and hardworking you’ll make a mark. Open that blog or attend conferences / talks where people discuss fashion issues.

Also be humble and kind. In this life you need other people. Try to learn the most that you can. Research on the current trends in the industry is important, planning equally so.

Most remarkably, trust yourself. The only person who knows you are nervous is you, so pull yourself together.