Meet Samanah Duran a British fashion designer and entrepreneur named Forbes 30 under 30 most influential in retail and e-commerce, CEO and founder of BEYOUROWN, a digital media & news company.
Who is Samanah? Define yourself
Forbes 30 under 30 honouree , I am a British entrepreneur and media personality with a fierce emphasis on inspiring each individual to embrace their identity and to take pride in their individuality. First known for the crafting of indulgent streetwear brand Critics Clothing established back in 2012, I am best known for my work within female entrepreneurship and digital media having built on that concept as an extension of Critics Clothing, by launching digital media and news company BEYOUROWN.
How were you as a kid?
As a child I was very independent and level headed. My entrepreneurial spirit was always encouraged by my grandparents as I’d set up jumble sales, then later on a car cleaning services round the back of my fathers pub. I always knew that I wanted to work on my own thing and not take a traditional career route. I was never too keen on taking direction from people, although I wasn't a troublesome kid when I was younger.
“Be authentic to yourself - you owe it to yourself to be unapologetically you. Always be honest, no one can ever fault you for being authentic, honest, and real”
Tell us more about your academic and professional background before you decided to start your own business.
I did many jobs from an early age like most entrepreneurs do. It wasn't until I moved to London at 20 that I figured it would a great idea to pursue a TV presenting career, which led to me travelling to the West Coast of the USA to present a car rally. I enjoyed my time TV presenting but I understood the media industry could be a little fickle and work wasn’t always guaranteed. With so many fantastic memories and inspiration I’d picked up along the way on the West Coast, I returned to the UK and launched my clothing brand- knowing that I could I could return to presenting at a later stage.
You are the founder of Critics Clothing, a luxury streetwear brand developed and designed by you and BEYOUROWN, which is a digital media & news a company dedicated to inspiring women in business, tell us why did you decide to found these companies and what do they make them unique in the market?
Both were not intentional, but they both fuse together and stem from my ideology of building brands based on my own personal ethos of embracing your own uniqueness, remaining unapologetically yourself, and not conforming to the traditional societal views of life. People can really connect and resonate with that.
What does a normal workday look like for you?
I wake up at 6 or 7am and make sure our social media accounts and content are fully supported. A lot of our content is automated; however, we still need to be on hand for any quick edits or last-minute amendments. I also try to hit the pavement for a 20 min run followed by yoga 6/7 days a week because I genuinely feel that by taking that time to exercise, I can work more efficiently and feel more motivated towards achieving my goals throughout the rest of the day. I take my dog out for a 30/40-minute walk and come home to meal prep. I tend to stick to vegan way of living to ensure I am fueling my body with the right food with key vitamins, nutrient and minerals.
I start my working day by running BEYOUROWN logistics by with the team, ie- brand partnership deals, collaborations or sponsorships that we may be part of for up and coming events and projects. I catch up on emails, business development admin work and check in with the PR team to see if our brands press, interviews, promotional material is all up to date. I am in the middle of hiring so most lately I have been doing the interviewing process throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to make sure our team are fully supported and ensure we have the facilities to be able to scale and deliver our services effectively without feeling overwhelmed at the workload. Around 6/7pm I would have already eaten so I am pretty much winding down at this time with a few things to light duties to address or manage before I switch off and go to bed around 1am.
What do you love most about your job?
I guess what I really love is that as we are still relatively small and that means we still maintain a real company culture attitude. We are still able to make spontaneous decisions.
What is one strategy that has helped you to grow your business?
I have always looked at the bigger picture when looking into the future. So just by implementing mile stones and sticking to the core basics of the business plan has really helped us scale and measure the growth.
What situation marked your life in a way that prompted you to be who you are today?
The day I left home.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to read, listen to audiobooks and visit museums, galleries. I often spend weekends going for long walks, hikes, traveling abroad or trips away in the countryside. Getting out into nature and experiencing culture is so important to me.
“I have always looked at the bigger picture when looking into the future. So just by implementing mile stones and sticking to the core basics of the business plan”
Many authors say women can and must strive to have everything – a shining career, a blossoming family life and a perfectly balanced lifestyle all at once, others point out that– then women are placing unrealistic expectations on themselves if they believe they can have it all, so according to your experience, what do you think about these statements?
Women can have it all, just realistically not at the same time. Women need to stop placing limitations, labels and placing expectations upon one another. We each need to be doing exactly what is right for each of us, at the right time for each of us and live by our own accordance of life.
What are your plans for the future?
From starting off digital back in 2016, we’ve extended the arm to printing our bi-annual magazine launch issue releasing in July. We have now launched the BEYOUROWN Podcast hosted by myself which peaked at #13 on the all-time iTunes Great British Business And Careers Podcast Chart with many incredible guest female entrepreneurs.
The BEYOUROWN Podcast Series is a weekly podcast interviewing and highlighting some of the most incredible female entrepreneurs on a mission to succeed, these casual conversations aim to inspire you to BEYOUROWN. For the rest of the future, I can’t divulge too much!
There is still the glass ceiling for women in the world: Fewer opportunities, jobs underpaid just for that fact of being a woman, etc. Have you experimented the glass ceiling? If yes, what are the biggest challenges you have faced and how have you overcome them?
I cannot say personally that I have been faced with that. However, I also understand the situation and I am empathetic towards the pain and concerns of those who are challenged daily by this. We are working on this at BEYOUROWN as we continue to re-invest into women as much as possible by offering tools, resources, funding, jobs and training. I want to see more women in higher leadership roles and positions, equally paid.
What tips, can you give to young girls who want to become a fashion an entrepreneur like you?
This goes for any entrepreneur. I believe that having self-awareness as an entrepreneur plays a pivotal role in the success you want to achieve. I tend to spend time observing and reflecting and in order to improve my self-development. I have learnt understand my own strengths and weaknesses and now use them to set an example for my team. I always advise anyone who is on that entrepreneurial journey to constantly read new books, attend new conferences and spend time around other leaders in which you can learn and grow from.
Living in London you have worked in fashion, I think in your position, many people may have the wrong idea of who you are, and what do you (professionally), with this idea in mind, what is being Samanah and what´s not?
It's not of my concern what others think of me. What matters to me most, is those who do understand what I do. I have no desire to educate people on “who” Samanah Duran is, or isn’t matter of factly.
Who is the woman you admire the most and why?
The women that I am privileged to work with on a daily basis at BEYOUROWN, who are constantly pioneering change and demonstrating leadership within their industry.
Name: Samanah Duran
Sector: Digital Media and Advertising Company
Designation: CEO and founder