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Putting the Man in Manicure: Meet Alex Muchomba 

By The Kenyan Bar Guy

Published on 31/01/2023

One of the unwritten rules of being a man, apart from having a firm handshake, leaving one urinal unoccupied between you and the next stream pusher, and knowing how to roast meat is to own a nail cutter. Unkempt fingernails are an eyesore, safe to say they stick out like a sore thumb. There are only two reasons why a man should have long nails and that is if they are a carpenter or own a hardware shop somewhere in the middle of dusty Ruai town. Do you get the drift? But as men, we get away with a lot when it comes to the hygiene of our hands. There are those notorious for not washing after shaking. The ones who use the back side as a handkerchief. Then there are those that scratch their behinds and as if it is not enough, they bring it close to their faces to take a whiff. I don’t know what they usually expect because I doubt the outcome is ever different. Personally, the most intense finger cleaning I get on a regular basis is whenever I have to do the dishes, so if we meet and my hands have a lemon fresh scent no judging. 

While the running assumption is that hygiene is a feminine trait, there could be nothing further from the truth. There is nothing masculine walking around like a scarecrow smelling like a damp towel. If not for yourself, think about the innocent passenger who has to keep their window open while sitting next to you in public transport braving the biting breeze in order to save their nostrils from atrocious warfare. Also, handshakes with fingernails harboring the dark evidence of the last meal you had with callous palms tagging along do not send the message you think it does. A little effort is all that is needed. 

But, enough about men and their fingers. If you do not live under a rock and do not need some green building in the CBD to act as your anchor for directions whenever you are in the city then you might have come across a new breed of hawkers – I call them “nail peddlers”. They will be lined up on crowded sidewalks, wielding cardboards with nail clip-ons, adorning fancy streetwear, and if not all most of them have a clean mop of dreads sitting on their scalps. They throw decorum out of the window and scamper for anything or anyone in a skirt asking them if they want their nails done. They give more attention than a soldier in a pass-out parade. I do understand though that women are their biggest market but then at times, it does leave one feeling dejected. Are my nails less deserving of attention? Are they born of lesser fingers? 

These questions needed answers and the best way to get them was to go straight to the source – and no. It is not what you are thinking. I did not walk up to a lady with finely manicured talons (because literally, that is what they are – they are not licensed but they are not afraid to use them). I decided to talk to one Alex Muchomba, founder and CEO of Lexy’s Nail Spa. Knowing nothing about nails, this meeting was a shot in the dark facilitated by, in my opinion, one of the most consistent and literally down-to-earth content creators – Lavender Ikamar. If you are reading this Lavender, thanks for the link up. 

Not knowing what to expect when I went there, the first thing that I noticed is that Lexy’s Nail Spa could be described as the split between the red sea that let the Israelites through – a straight safe passage into the promised land. There is no harassing of clients to win them over, no shouting and there is a calm aura about the place. Which to me was a nice touch given it has the name spa tagging along its reputation. It is situated on the 9th floor of The Bazaar Plaza along Moi avenue. If you are not aware of where the Bazaar is, then it is in a part of town where you do not have to keep clutching your purse afraid it will find a new owner or padding the pockets of your jeans every time someone brushes past you. But, if you are one of those whose appetite is scent-driven then there’s Sonford right across the street. A fair warning, that is if you are watching your weight, to come on a full stomach. 

Now, I am on the 9th floor. The place is located on the B wing. I have always wanted to say that – B wing. Sounds like I am in a sophisticated building on a covert operation with an earpiece tucked into one ear passing information to my fellow agents. I think it would be a nail-biting blockbuster. See what I did there? Anyway, the hallway is what I would imagine would be the metaphorical apple in the creation story. If Eve were to ever walk down this hallway, she would emerge from the other side broke and needing 2k urgently. There is every conceivable service tailored for women on both sides from salons with the sounds of hums emanating from hair dryers, shops with lots of shiny beauty accessories to luxurious boutiques crafted to help you find hair for your hair. 

But, there is light at the end of the tunnel (hallway?) and that’s Lexy’s Nail Spa. From my approach, I can hear the sound of music gradually welcoming me in. It is not too loud or obnoxious. Just enough to set the mood and maybe allow you to grab a quick read while you wait. I would say Kudos to whoever curates the playlist, my guess is one of the lovely ladies who were seated at the reception. I would like to say I exchanged pleasantries apart from a quick hi and a brief introduction to who I wanted to see. There is something about ladies in their element that is intimidating – do not judge me. 

Lexy’s Nail Spa IG Account

With the meeting set for 11 a.m. I was impressed that I managed to keep time but even more impressed by Alex’s timekeeping. Any writer out there will tell you one of their pet peeves is being kept waiting. Alex however possesses an easy-going vibe about him. Easy and amicable, it does not feel like talking to a doctor when you are explaining the symptoms of an ailment that is alien to you. I mean, why do doctors have to ask you about the level of your pain? I do not know if my pain is a 3 or a 7. Are there scales for that? Shouldn’t they be the ones to tell you what level of pain you are experiencing? I digress. 

Alex whisks me away into a conference room where we can have a chat. See what I told you about feeling like being in a spy movie? Conference room? Being whisked away? Netflix better be reading this. After a few hearty sentiments to break the ice, we got down to it. 

Alex, Founder annd CEO Lexy's Nail Spa
Alex, Founder, and CEO of Lexy’s Nail Spa

Of course first things first, I had to find out who Alex is but not in the conventional, boardroom-talk way with the piercing eyes of an interview panel waiting to see you falter. It was more of bar counter talk without the buzz of huge screens showcasing highlights from previous football matches. Alex is a cool cat. He enjoys the occasional swim, bumps to some of the best afro beats and hip hop he can lay his ears on, and apparently loves a cold Heineken when he needs to kick up his feet and relax. His demeanor is calm and he takes his time to pore over his answers first. 

Naturally, I had to find out how he got into the nail business. Sometimes you are looking for answers that you have already scripted to make an article look nice. You know? Like maybe there was an epiphany involved or a fetish that could be monetized. Something or anything to rouse the readers. Well, that was not the case. But it was not disappointing either. Alex developed this passion ever since he was a kid. He divulges that he had a close relationship with the mother and she on the other hand was a beauty aficionado, and with what they say about apples not falling too far from the tree, he did pick up a few things here and there. He would moonlight as her personal mirror letting her know what looked good and what did not and from there – a fiery passion grew. 

But it must be weird working with nails. I mean, hands are fine but toenails on the other hand could be disgusting. I had to find out if he had encountered a pair of feet that would have him refer the owner to an amputation ward. The answer was yes. But, being the professional that he is, he takes that as a challenge. He says that his job is to make such feet beautiful. That’s what he does. Not all heroes wear capes and guys this is the best time to buy Alex a cold bottle of Heineken for never having to suffer the sight of bad feet. 

Asking if he loves what he does, there is no hesitation. It is a resounding yes. But with love comes its ups and downs. It is never all rosy. For Alex, starting the business was a bumpy ride. Do you remember the usual high school answers we would give when doing a test on factors limiting business growth? Well, the same applies here. There was of course the issue of raising capital and making sure the business survives. He braved through that and while he is not yet at the happy ending he would want – he is happy to be growing his skills and gainfully employing a team of 13! Remember asking about the nail peddlers who dive in like hawks for a kill when a lady passes by? I just had to ask how many men are on his team. The number wasn’t specific but he does say they are the majority. Ladies, care to share? 

I had to tread very carefully as I moved on to the next question. I did what no man should ever do when talking to a fellow man. With women, you never ask their age and with men, you never ask about their relationship status. Ring or not. But I asked anyway. Why? Well, he is working in an industry that has a predominantly female clientele. So it was sort of necessary. However, to cut a long story short I will leave you with a common phrase that summarizes his answer – a good dealer does not get high on his own supply. Do with that information what you may. 

Back to business, having been on social media for a while, there have been many assumptions made about women with fine manicures. There is no consensus yet but they have been labeled and classified into demeaning cliches that most people seem more than happy to enforce. So, I had to ask Alex what kind of women flock to his establishment. He did not bat an eyelid with his answer. It was pretty succinct. To him, women who walk into his business are women who know what they want. Anything else apart from that is hogwash from biased opinionated keyboard warriors. I loved the response, and after all, aren’t women who know what they want?

With a busy business to run, time was quickly running out so the interview had to come to an end but not without a parting shot or two. You would be intrigued to know that if Alex was not doing nails he would be running a real estate business. Because, well, we know homes are an extension of who we are – sort of like nails. But the best part was when I asked whose nails he would like to work on the most. Well, you would not be able to guess it so I will tell you. Alex would like to work on Diana Marua. He believes, actually no. He knows that should she experience the work of his hands it would change her life. So guys, if you have Diana Marua’s ear do pass on the message. 

You can follow Alex’s work on his Instagram page Lexy’s Nail Spa or better yet visit his business and get your nails done. 

Some of the amazing designs available at Lexy’s Nail Spa

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