”I Almost Died, Had to Give Up a Lot, But My Dreams Still Go On”
Samantha Harding, born and lived in Dubai until she was 13, every weekend she’d always be at the club on the beach swimming. Moving to Brazil Samantha took up surfing and fell in love with it, She has traveled the world after waves from places all around Brazil to Indonesia, California, Hawaii and Tahiti. Samantha Harding feels like California is her second home, after traveling there about 2/3 times a year every year since she was 15. Samantha has always gone to international schools and did fashion design in a Brazilian Uni in Rio de Janeiro. And has recently completed an marketing MBA in Rio de Janeiro.
Sahar in glamour UK magazine
Samantha was earning well, traveling to California frequently, Sahar was growing incredibly quickly. Sahar even got an offer to advertise in glamour UK magazine.
Samantha was just like every successful boss lady making plans to expand because everything was going really well. But in 2017 on the 1st of May, something very bad happened, Samantha was in a car crash, where she almost died. Having 100 stitches all over her body, and had to spend 5 months in bed without being able to move herself dependent on others and not even being able to work. But nothing stopped her, because luckily everything was online so Samantha did her work and chased her dreams while recovering. It’s true she said ”What doesn’t kill you truly makes you stronger”.
Lucky to be alive
Samantha Harding is lucky to be alive and it changed her life completely, Not being able to go in the sun or surf for 2 years, Samantha discovered a new love, food. ‘’I’m a big foodie, always researching about different cultures and foods of the world.’’
Samantha Harding lives in London now: ‘’Why london? No sun, no surf well, the funny thing is that just before the accident I had just finished the classes of my MBA in Marketing in a amazing university in Rio de Janeiro and had to hand in my thesis to complete the course, which I did from my bed ( luckily classes where over either wise i would of failed) and I focused the whole thesis of expanding to London. I had help from a great professor who is also an entrepreneur and london was actually suggested by my dermatologist ( the one who gave me the good news of 2 years out of the sun ha).’’
Samantha started Sahar in Uni in Brazil (2012) and did it more of a hobby then as a business because ”I love to create and design, the whole creation process of imagining a design and seeing somebody wear it just makes it worth it…”
Sahar by Samantha Harding is a luxury brand, which focuses on design; ‘’we aim to sell design and a luxury lifestyle. We do some pieces, that are only available to our VIP clients which you can’t get online and is only available to them, that is a secret and I can’t say any more.’’
SAHAR was founded in 2012 to create unique designs. Each collection is inspired by the diverse cultures of the world. Fun, classic and different. Sahar is for the women who are always seeking the sun, fearless dreamers who desire beauty in any form.
All the designs are currently being handmade on a low scale, which provides exclusivity to the clients.
Samantha thank you for your time and for giving us the opportunity to interview you we know you are a busy woman right now.
How did you become an entrepreneur?
In my school year book there was a question, which a chosen friend who knew you best, had to answer and it was, what will you end up doing in the future? The answers she gave were either a professional surfer or business women. I guess, I have always had that entrepreneurial side to me, without even knowing, it just blossomed over time. The family on my mums side are all entrepreneurs, so I guess its in my blood! I enjoy the challenges it brings to your day-to-day.
What inspired you to start Sahar by Samantha Harding?
Ever since I could remember as a kid I’ve always wanted to do fashion, I would be drawing little shorts and bikinis on croquis. I’ve always wanted to do fashion even before I even knew what it was. I choose fashion because it’s a very challenging career nowadays, it’s hard for small brands to strive and go against large corporations.
One day after surfing I was sitting at my desk deciding what to do (studying fashion design in Rio de Janeiro) it just hit me. I knew I wanted to do something where i could travel, design and be involved with the beach/sea/water. So I decided to create Sahar.
Tell us about a time when a client disliked your work?
As my company is slowly expanding, I lose control of everything, which I would normally go through and check. So sometimes, which I believe happens on the initial phases of growth some pieces where the quality is not 100% go through. Sahar is a small company with a few helpers and representatives around the world whose aims are to sell and not check the quality ( which it should also be). One order was sent out to a client in Calgary, by a representative and she did not check the piece as I currently advise all my helpers to do before sending something out. The swimsuit had bad stitching it wasn’t visible if you where wearing it on the outside but only on the inside. That was the first complaint I had about a swim piece in 6 years of the company! Sadly theses things do happen, some pieces do get through that are not 100%. Now I try to keep my eyes and my helpers eyes open so this doesn’t happen again.
Can you describe your customers?
They are strong independent empowering women. Always looking for the different high luxury quality goods in the market. They are not ones who follow the crowd but they are the ones who are followed.
How do you get unstuck creatively?
Normally I will just stop, forget about the brand and enjoy life, inspiration comes when my mind it as ease and it just hits me out of the blue.
Moving to London, is this a perfect place for Sahar?
I have no idea, I hope so! I did my thesis from my MBA in marketing on expanding to London and i realised there is a market and my style of swimwear could easily penetrate the market with the right moves, so I’m slowly studying all my opportunities to make the right moves. Hopefully all will work out!
What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
I`ve done jobs I didn’t want to do to get cash to continue the business, I`ve missed important events and sometimes have no time for my family and friends.
Tell us about your proudest achievement?
Jessica Alba sending a special thanks to me where she loved the bikini which was a gift to her. Not only did she thank me but she said she loved it.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
I’m not good at maths so sometimes a make financial mistakes, where from this I did an Excel course. I’ve trusted people who have robbed me, a almost partner and a representative, now I make sure I don’t fall for that again.
If you had one piece of advice to our readers to those just starting out a business in fashion, what would it be?
Keep going, success doesn’t happen over night, if you think about it every day you should just keep going.