A public Speaker, Author and Retail Marketing and Style Consultant
When Sheun David Onamusi walked into our offices at Canary Wharf, you’d be forgiven for thinking he was on his way to the Oscars or something of the sort. In actual fact, this is just how he dresses when he’s out and about….most days. It probably also had something to do with the fact that he was meeting former Minister for Education and vocal BringBackOurGirls campaigner Oby Ezekwesili right after our interview.
With an alias like ‘Still dapper’, I wonder if he feels he constantly has to live up to expectations in the style department. “I still dress down”, he tells me with a smile. Adding that he never feels under pressure.
“I try not to build my life according to anybody’s recommendation. If it makes me feel good, then I’ll do it.”
Onamusi isn’t someone you’ve come across in the headlines. He’s one of those who take pride in making a difference through outreach programmes and events, even if such don’t make it unto newspaper headlines. As long as he’s reaching youths and inspiring them, the young entrepreneur is just happy.
A motivational speaker and author, the 29-year-old who’s made a name for himself in business circles; some of his more notable ventures being executive director of Jermyn Street’s TM Lewin in the West African sub region. Onamusi was part of a team that masterminded the spread of the well-loved Shirtmakers in Nigeria’s capital and northern region for 3 years before moving back to the UK after his youth service to work in IT and more recently, he was the brain behind the launch of OHTV’s Un1ty App.
Apart from his professional achievements, he is also the UK lead for UN backed youth group GenVoices, a youth led organisation that seeks to inspire, motivate and empower young Nigerians and Africans to take leadership of the country’s challenges and effect change.
There are so many sides to this affable young man whose passion for Nigeria despite its many challenges is contagious, but today, we’re talking about his new book, ‘Knowing Your Game’, which came out in July.
The premise of the book is mainly about how to use what you have to get where you want to be. It’s full of inspirational and motivational quotes inspired by teachings of some of the author’s mentors including Dr Myles Munroe, Warren Buffett and Tom Robbins.
The author who was recently nominated for the Voice Newspaper’s Influential entrepreneur Award explains why he chose the title for the book and it’s connotation. “Knowledge”, says Onamusi, “Is a mental thing. Knowing is an experiential thing, game is an euphemism for goals and dreams.”
“You have to take your game from knowledge to knowing,” he says, adding that it’s just as important to “Get your goals questioned, let people question you, let life question you.”
After a rough adolescence which saw him taking his first smoke at the age of 10, Onamusi’s moment of awakening came one morning after the usual rock ‘n’ roll night out on the town.
“I was 18”, he said. “I just thought to myself, I can’t continue like this. There has to be more to life than just drinking, partying and flirting with girls”.
Que a period of redemption with the young Onamusi heading youth gatherings in Church and the beginning of what is now over 10 years later, a career in motivational speaking.
Drawing from life experiences from others around him including his mum and family, he says, “I just wanted to inspire and push them (the youths). I always desired that If you don’t plan where you’re gonna see your self in the next couple of years, things will just happen.”
“I Learnt that vision is extremely important, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will lead you there.”
Which leads us back to why he wrote the book, which he now hopes some of those youths he wants to reach and inspire read. Onamusi is of the opinion that the reason many young people never achieve their full potential is because they never fully plan or map out how exactly they want their life to go.
The author insists that there should be a focus on the long-term rather than short-term gains. “You’ve got to take your game and own your game and experience your game in your mind and everything,” says Onamusi.
“Your game must be much more than just feeding yourself and your family, it should be about legacy.” A message most will agree has never been more relevant given the current rat race many youths are faced with in the journey to success.
Onamusi’s hope is that people who read his book will take with them knowledge that would help them map out what steps they need to take to get to where they want to be.
As I stare at his crisp pink shirt, I can’t help but wonder if the dapper look is something that he’s always had and why he still thinks men’s style is so important, especially as he’s so religious.
Even when talking about his style, Onamusi’s philosophy of always having the ‘end game’ in sight is strongly evident.
“I do believe that image is very important,” he tells me. “You wanna dress in a certain way that talks about where you want to be.”
“You don’t dress about where you are..its more about where you want to go to.”
Style is so important to him that he’s actually considered a career in image consultancy in the past, a move which saw him styling big names and consulting for the likes of Olu Maintain.
On the importance of men’s fashion, Onamusi says even though men’s fashion and style have come a long way, there was still a long way to go before celebrity stylists nailed their craft in Nigeria’s burgeoning entertainment industry. As I recall seeing some Red Carpet photos of some male celebrities, I’m inclined to agree with him.
He tells me he had 3 styling principles when he was in the game. ‘3 C’s’ he called them.
“Confidence, comfort and compliment,” he says. “You want to dress comfortably. If you’re not comfortable wearing crazy bright colours don’t wear it, just be comfortable in what you’re wearing and let it build your confidence.”
“Thirdly, compliment yourself. I wear something sometimes and I’m like, boy I look good!”
He agrees with me though that Nigerians are some of the most stylish people on the planet saying “style is a Nigerian thing. We love to look good even though a lot of us still do it wrong, while some of us over do it.”
If you’re still struggling to find your signature style or feel you’re letting the side down in that department. The entrepreneur’s got some tips which might help.
“I think every person should have a style icon that they look up to personally.”
“You should also try to get your wardrobe in order, be strong with colours and people will think you’re really cool, even though it only took you minutes to get dressed.”
‘Knowing Your Game’ is out now. Click here for more information and purchase details.