I create lasting impressions

Esther Murugi set up her branding venture, Elite Mawu Agency, after enormous pressure from balancing the competing demands of employment and her family.




Branding is the reflection of your business, executing professional and captivating designs will make you stand out from your competition.” These were the words from Esther Murugi during my visit to her branding company’s office located on the ground floor of Riara Corporate Suites on Riara Road, Nairobi, for an interview.

Esther Murugi, founder of the Elite Mawu Agency.


Esther founded the company in 2019 and named it Elite Mawu Agency (EMA), offering professional branding designs, printing, marketing videos and website development.


“ At that time being employed was such a task. It was hard for me to balance employment and being a family woman. My child was born prematurely, and the first three years of her life were difficult. She couldn’t keep her food down and honestly my body was physically in the office, but my mind was wondering if she would have her meals with no incidents. That’s one aspect,” she narrates.


When it comes to branding, she started hustling back in 2014 just before she graduated from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Jkuat).

“While growing up, I always wanted to be a physiologist. I love to talk to people and just help them where I can when I see that they are not happy. I am the shoulder they come to lean on. Later on, I fell in love with branding,” she says.


Becoming innovative


Esther studied Mass Communication at Jkuat and majored in Advertising and Public Relations. She says that there’s no foodspooning in that institution and this helped her develop a thick skin even later in her business. “I can say that the “survival for the fittest” at Jkuat has helped me be more innovative when it comes to my business. No one could follow you to ask if you have read for your exams or delivered assignments. It was a do or die kind of situation and looking back, I am grateful. I became more responsible,” she applauds.

Esther started her branding job on a small-scale by asking around if there was anyone who would like to have business cards printed. Later on, a friend introduced her to a woman who was starting up marketing and branding business.

“I remember walking with her to visit top branding agencies and I believe that’s how I got to understand better what branding is all about. I can say school gives you knowledge and understanding, but real work experience gives you the skills and that’s how I started my journey in branding,” she says.

She recalls growing up as an active child in Nairobi’s Buruburu estate, in a family of four siblings. She says the experience was different to the current one where a child would be fine staying indoors playing games with gadgets.

“Life was interesting; getting to learn how to share everything with the rest of my four siblings. I grew up in Buruburu Phase Five up until I was about 12 years old. I always recall having the best childhood. School holidays used to be a blast. I remember playing from morning to evening, not a life the current generation would understand; survival for the fittest the motto for every day. I think it shaped me into the woman I am. To survive, you need to hustle to get what you want,” says Esther.


ESTHER: The inspiration behind my business was to offer creative and quality branding solutions


Pandemic attack

When businesses were struck by Covid-19 pandemic in the first months of 2020, the Elite Mau Agency was in its infancy. Esther recalls her sister sending alerts to her about the virus spreading all over the world. At that time she didn’t think of the impact it would have, but she is thankful that the tough challenges never led her to close the business. Nevertheless, she is now glad that things are gradualy getting back to normal.

“Business is almost getting to how it was pre-pandemic. I remember in the month of May 2020, I had no single brief. I remember waking up every morning and doing the marketing bit, but the business didn’t receive any shilling. It was devastating. I am happy to say I haven’t experienced such since then and business has been growing,” she discloses.

Esther defines her company as her life. “I live, laugh and love within it, of course with a few tears and self-doubt here and there,” she says. As of now, the firm offers professional branding designs, printing, marketing videos and website development.

“The inspiration behind my business was to offer creative, quality and professional branding solutions. I also came to realise that no matter your age or background, a number of people are really not aware of the importance of branding your business. Branding is your image; how your brand is and how your clients will view you makes a huge difference,” she asserts.

The mother of one believes that what sets the agency apart from the competitors is its professional branding solutions. “We are able to execute professional designs that set you aside from competitors. My team and I have the knowledge, understanding and skills all across the services we render to

achieve your envisioned brand for your business. Also, a key point to note, branding your business professionally helps you market your business with the support of your products or services,” she adds.

As the trends keep on changing with the modern tech, Esther says they are never left behind when it comes to the new trends in branding.

She says, “I do a lot of research. I also learn a lot through online tutorials and online talks from all around the world, which helps me be innovative. The current emerging trend in branding is 1-4 having credibility in the online world. This is how you connect your business to the I world at large. Most businesses have taken their brand online. social mediaa has revolutionised advertising and keeping your business relevant.

“With the proper branding of your business, it makes it easy for you to get influencers to market your brand or use other online marketing strategies such as paid media. The top influencers would not work with just any brand.

You need to have the proper branding to assist your brand to set it aside from your competition,” she emphasises.

With the country being in a political year, branding companies are expected to greatly benefit through the printing of promotional materials. Esther states that she expects to see a big difference in the branding industry this year.

She chimes: “The campaigns are about to engage the top gear, and most branding companies are channelling their revenues into purchasing

materials they will need for their business to support the campaigns. Such as bulk purchasing in caps, T-shirts, and papers for posters, among others. We are ready to support respective parties to support their campaigns through branding their collaterals.” Growth aspirations Esther intimates that her company has more than 50 clients (15 among them are regular), and has employed five permanent employees that comprise a graphic designer, printing coordinator, web developer, cameraman and an editor. She is ambitious that EMA will be the next top branding solution from assisting all levels of businesses to the best version of what it can be and beyond in regards to branding.

She urges women, especially the young, to venture into business. “Start! Be consistent. Be diligent. It is possible. I would like to emphasise, be consistent. Wake up every day and do what you need to do. Give it your all like you don’t have any other option. It gets better with time. Most importantly, believe in yourself,” she advises.

In conclusion, Esther shares her experiences running EMA by saying: “What I have learnt is that business needs a lot of patience and dedication. You will not wake up one morning and become a millionaire in a blink of an eye. Be consistent and with time, it’s rewarding. Keep your head high and learn how to not dwell on negative criticism. Take advantage of technology and how it has made it easier to connect to your clients and potential clients.”

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