What is your story?
SAMARA is a sustainable fashion house using better materials, for you and the world. We’re an all female team, on a mission to source the best materials so that we can create timeless pieces intentionally designed for you. We create our products out of materials like apple skins, bamboo, castor seeds, and recycled ocean plastics. Every SAMARA product also gives back to our sister entity, The Soular Backpack, which provides solar-powered backpacks to students in East Africa (where Salima and Samara grew up). The solar panels charge a lamp when the kids walk to school every day so that they are able to do their homework every night without the use of kerosene (which is carcinogenic).
What inspired you to start your business? Where did the name SAMARA come from? How did you get started?
I started SAMARA at the end of 2017 as a way to keep The Soular Backpack going, and to support it in a sustainable way. We truly believe that brands have so much power to create impact in the world in so many different ways. I was looking for a minimalist, timeless handbag that was made from more sustainable materials and I couldn’t find something that I liked, so I started designing a few pieces and got them made at our factory. We started with a production run of 25 bags, I put them online and they sold out overnight. Every SAMARA purchase would contribute towards supporting Soular. I named the brand after my younger sister Samara, who soon after joined me on this journey.
What inspired the apple pouch/collab? What’s so special about it?!
We love the founder Mel (her calmness, her ability to stay on top of everything with such grace and ease and her kindness) and everything Mala the Brand stands for. We’ve dreamt of collaborating with the brand since we smelt our first Mala candle (milk & sugar) and knew that we had to find a way to work with Mel and the team at Mala.
This collab is so special to us because we get to honour mother earth in such a beautiful way. We hope the scent of the candle transports you back to a warm summers day and reminds you of a freshly baked apple pie. The SAMARA pouch is made from our Apple Leather - which is a combination of apple skins, peels and cores (the byproduct of the juicing industry). We wanted to create a reusable pouch that could evolve with you and your needs. It’s designed to hold items like feminine products, bangles or jewelry, pens or any valuables, depending on when you need it. The deep red colour of the pouch is, of course, inspired by apples (like every other detail of this collab). My favourite part is the soft interior vegan suede of the pouch that feels so soft and plush.
What does a typical day look like?
Samara: I start my mornings with a meditation (or at least I try to) and a tea (I usually opt for something warm and grounding like a matcha, London fog or tulsi tea, however, lately I’ve been reaching for more fruity and floral iced teas). We usually have quite a few calls in the morning, so I usually like to jump straight into that or emails. Now that the sun is out, I’ve been having my lunch or taking one call from my balcony, which has been such a nice break to the day. The afternoons are when I spend most of my time working on new product, or lately the the designs for our new website. In evenings, I love to go on really long walks whilst I listen to a podcast.
If you weren't running your business, what would you be doing?
Salima: Honestly, I think about this often and I don’t know if I could find something else that I would rather be doing at this given point in time. Despite the highs and the lows, I am truly grateful for the journey we’re on, the people we get to meet along the way and the learnings we get to have.
Favourite and not-so-favourite part of your business?
Samara: I can’t pick just one, but my top favourite parts are - watching something go from an idea to a real and functional product, working with Salima and the rest of our incredible team, knowing that we get to go through the ups and downs together and being able to problem-solve on the fly.
Salima: My favorite parts are definitely getting to work with my sister Samara and our team of women who can truly do anything, and being able to conceptualize and create things from ideas.
Any last thoughts, or things you’re looking forward to?
We have so many exciting things in the pipeline that we can’t wait to share, and we’re just so excited to have been able to launch Harvest with Mel and the team. You can shop a limited number of the collaboration here, while we have it in stock!
You can find us at @samara, @salimavisram and @samaravisram :)