Success Story

How Eugene Mbugua failed at many businesses and became the prolific producer behind The Real Housewives of Nairobi

Eugene Mbugua is a Kenyan entrepreneur behind the success of The Real Housewives of Nairobi. He took his first step into entrepreneurship when he joined a student-owned canteen that offered break snacks during his high school days.

He became a shareholder in the venture and also sold attractively decorated envelopes to fellow students for writing messages to lovers in other boarding schools.

His passion for entrepreneurship did not decline after high school as he continued to explore the world of entrepreneurship at the university, selling bootleg DVDs.

“I also tried my hand in different businesses varying from event management to a tour company; they all failed,” Mbugua told Forbes Africa.

However, his early encounter with film-making after he had completed high school would become his breakthrough. His cousin had brought him to a film set after high school and that would ignite a passion in him that would change his life for the better.

Thus, he studied television production at university while managing his small businesses and dreaming of creating a TV show in the future.

A month before graduation, he did his first TV show which was bought by a local station. The 2013 business show, Young Rich, focused on the meteoric rise of young entrepreneurs and soon became the favorite of TV viewers.

“That was our first milestone, the premiere of our first TV show Young Rich in 2013. It’s what set the ground for everything else that came,” Mbugua said.

The Kenyan entrepreneur and his team at D&R Studios went on to create more than 20 television shows, earning acclaim in Kenya’s media landscape.

Through partnerships with Showmax and NBCUniversal, Mbugua and his team’s most recent hit, The Real Housewives of Nairobi, is drawing viewers from all over the world, not only in Kenya. The reality show follows influential women as they work their way through relationships, careers and luxurious living.

In addition to producing TV shows, Mbugua is a player in the beauty industry. He recently launched a cosmetic line called Unapologetic with media personality Betty Kyallo.

For young aspiring entrepreneurs, Mbugua has the following piece of advice: “Start where you are with what you have and embrace new technology quickly. In a rapidly-changing media landscape, early adopters are handsomely rewarded.”

Abu Mubarik

Abu Mubarik is a journalist with years of experience in digital media. He loves football and tennis.

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