British fashion designer and entrepreneur, Samanah Duran, is the founder and CEO of luxury streetwear brand Critics Clothing and business networking app, BEYOUROWN. A TV presenter and motivational speaker, Samanah was recently named Forbes 30 under 30 most influential in retail and e-commerce.
Samanah first launched retail company Critics Clothing back in 2012 when she was just 22 and has now founded BEYOUROWN and its membership club to inspire women to become successful business owners. BEYOUROWNMAN also launched last year.
We sat down with the self-dubbed ‘Hottest Wolf of Wall Street’ to discuss being your own boss, creative projects and guilty pleasures…
What has been your proudest career highlight to date?
Nothing so far that I genuinely believe I need a tap on the back for. Despite adding a Forbes 30 under 30 accolade under my belt, I think there is so much more for me to achieve.
What does success look like to you?
Some people attribute success by wealth, status or mental wellbeing. Personally, I am constantly redefining success for my self because I didn’t start out with an end destination in mind. The journey is what matters the most, and if I am able to do what I love whilst being true to myself, then that in itself is a success to me.
What creative projects are you involved with at the moment?
At the moment we are working on our 4th-year-anniversary event for BEYOUROWN. Last year we collaborated with fabulous shoe designer Lucy Choi at her flagship London store to celebrate our 3rd year anniversary along with 16 other brand sponsors, press and our amazing community of women, so in 2020 you’ll just have to wait and see what we pull out the bag!
What qualities are essential in a good PR professional?
PR professionals require the ability to communicate effectively, have extensive knowledge in their PR field and foster great relationships with media contacts. They should also have a clear understanding of client needs, wants, where they are currently to where they are looking to go in the future.
How did it feel to be featured in Forbes 30 Under 30?
A pleasant surprise! For most entrepreneurs out there, myself included, Forbes 30 under 30 is a pretty big one to hit and it’s super amazing to be nominated. To be recognised as an influence within the retail and e-commerce sector is something I will remain proud of.
What causes are most important to you?
I think it is important to give back to any community I feel passionate about as much possible, whether financially, emotionally or physically. As BEYOUROWN is a digital media & news company dedicated to inspiring women in business, my main objective is to invest back into the next generation of young entrepreneurs.
I have just launched a membership club for women intending to connect, champion and celebrate other entrepreneurs aiming to make impactful global changes. With any events organised by us, we donate a percentage of our profits/ticket sales to our foundation that offers bi-annual grants for women in need of funding for their business ideas.
What one thing would you change about the world today?
The lack of humanity we see in modern society today.
What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs?
This is for absolutely any entrepreneur out there, you have to go out there break some rules and really seize every opportunity you get to make every day a better day for you and you the future of your business. Tenacity, perseverance and resilience are truly key.
Which celebrity or influencer inspires you the most?
I get to meet a huge amount of ambitious entrepreneurs on a daily basis so this is difficult because there are so many out there that I really admire and I believe should be celebrated more for what they are doing. However, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and Michelle Mone really inspire me the most as I can feel the passion in what they are continuing to build.
What made you see the potential of the streetwear market?
My initial thoughts were that I wanted people to feel empowered whilst wearing Critics Clothing. I liked the idea of building something that I could see myself working on for a long time, it wasn’t that I researched into the streetwear market potential at all when I launched, I just really liked the streetwear culture and its underground movement.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I have a huge love for perfumes, and I have such a large collection that takes up an entire shelf that ranges from Elie Saab, Roja, Hermes, Chanel to Tom Ford. I often go through these bizarre alternating mixing phases, so my current go-to perfume is Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium mixed with pure oud oil from Oxford Street’s Arabian Oud store.
What would you consider the pros and cons of being your own boss?
Maintaining self-discipline can be hard, however being my own boss does give me slightly more freedom.
If you could give a letter to your younger self, what would it say?
I would tell myself not to stress about things that are irrelevant to my own personal growth and development.
Finish this sentence: My best friend would say I’m…
Slightly stubborn, extremely driven and I love to laugh.
What do you think is the future of business?
Subscription-based models will be on the rise and I think many industries will aim to harness the power of a subscription plan. (The beauty industry especially, since its current value is at an estimated $532 billion)
If you had to live anywhere else in the world, where would it be and why?
I love NYC’s diversity, its importance within the global economic system and its ability to impress and overwhelm me with the incredible opportunities it has to offer.
Taken from the original interview with Fashion Monitor