Sahar by Samantha Harding is a resort wear brand founded officially in Rio de Janeiro – Brazil, by Samantha Harding in 2012. This exclusive brand sells luxury pieces of resort wear, from accessories to swimwear, around the globe. Sahar is now present globally in, South America, North America, Asia, and Europe, as each moment passes the brand is expanding more and more. It is a very exclusive brand that sells online and through exclusive independent boutiques. The brand is addressed to women and men who look for unique designs with comfort, which compliment the body increasing one’s confidence.
We sell a lifestyle to the explorers of true luxury. In almost completing a decade a new social project has finally been introduced to the enterprise which is called MAR, this shows the other side of the brand in sustainable initiatives which Sahar by Samantha Harding is also all about, it’s not just a brand that sells beautiful high-quality products, it’s a brand which also cares for our next. Sahar by Samantha Harding is intrinsically linked with people from the communities of Rio de Janeiro, the forgotten people of the slums.
Samantha Harding was born in Dubai and raised in Abu Dhabi, at the age of 10 she moved to Brazil with her family and that’s where the passion from surfing came along, with also the shock of classes. She started surfing at age 13, always finding a way to cut classes to be in the sea because she knew she would either be a pro surfer or a Business-women with her own company. Ever since a young age, Samantha remembers drawing clothes and always planning on having her own line.
With the passion for surfing also came the opening to new worlds, the people of the communities, she could never understand why she had such a beneficial life and they didn’t, why the greater population forgot about these people, not all of them were bad, most were good but all were treated the same as if were bad. This left her complex knowing she had to make a difference somehow in the near future.
Finishing The British school of Rio de Janeiro she had applied to go to Saint Martin’s but during the interview was suggested to go to London business fashion school she opted to stay in Brazil and go to Latin America best university for Fashion. During the course of university Samantha spent her time surfing and traveling the world to surf, from places from Tahiti to yearly trips to Hawaii and California, she was basically a tourist in Uni. Early into the beginning of the course, she noticed that she could never find good unique bikinis to surf in. She decided to start Sahar as a hobby, Sahar was liked and bought by all, which made the brand expand and grow fast. A hobby that turned into a business, Samantha started to focus on Sahar, and she focused all her classes of the university on the Brand.
After finishing university she had gone through a hard breakup where she centralized all her energy and focus pushing the brand to the next level. She found herself taking luxury trips around the world and staying in nice hotels all financed by her brand.
In 2017, a life-threatening accident almost took her life, her ex-boyfriend of the time had lost control of a car while drunk driving, and Samantha was catapulted out of the car, leaving her body 7 meters away from the accident. The accident was so serious and life-threatening for Samantha that it was on the news. On a small paradisiac island in Brazil called Fernando de Noronha, she suffered a severe accident, which the island had no way to support this, so she was flown 10 hours later, to Recife to go into intensive care. She was lucky, very lucky because as soon as they finished sewing up her face, the back of her head and the rest of the body were sewn up with fishing string.
After the procedures on the island were finished from what they could do, the doctor asked Samantha, Do you have any questions? She had one, `When will I be able to surf again?`, the doctor laughed in disbelief and walked away. With over 100 stitches all over her body, open head, fractured right hip, ruptured all ligaments of right ankle, along with other crucial injuries, Samantha had to learn to walk again. After having spent 3 months in bed not being able to move not even to go to the toilet by herself, she maintained herself positive and believed she would be 100% soon again. Even though the doctors said she was not supposed to work, she worked on the business.
Having miraculous improved health due to 100% positivity and gratitude of being alive, Samantha received the news she would not be allowed to go in the sun again for 3 years & surf for 2 years, the dermatologist, Mr. Briggs suggested in one of the painful sessions, “pain seshs” as Samantha refers to them, “Why don’t you move to London?” and she thought, why not?
An accident, which had happened in a fracture of a second managed to take away the three things, she loved the most, the beach, surfing, and being away from her friends, family, and dog Chelsea, in Brazil.
Moving to London she knew she would have to step down and put her business aside to learn from the best companies in London. During the accident Samantha was doing an MBA in Marketing to improve herself and Sahar, she used the last months to change her initial project of scaling Sahar in Brazil and focus the brand to expanding in the UK.
Having moved to London Samantha worked from the shop floor as a sales assistant in top Luxury brands to iconic British brands offices as an executive. Every company was a lesson; every day was like a classroom of where she wanted her brand to be, what she could improve in the processes, and also what not to do with her employees & business.
Being able to penetrate the UK market slowly was challenging but every day is a new lesson and a new accomplishment. Having managed to get her brand sold in beautiful boutiques in Chelsea, the brand was going well, then Covid hit. Opting not to open her store in Bali and waiting was a blessing in disguise because the brand would have not survived through COVID if she had gone through with it.
As COVID eases off, the brand is starting to pick up again. Slowly but surely is a Balinese phrase Samantha uses a lot. With a small team, Sahar is finally picking up its pace again and moving forward expanding a little bit more every day.
Technology is defiantly a good advance in humanity toward small business owners because it gives a chance for us to compete against the big guys, it’s cool when we get noticed, which means we are doing it right.
A piece of advice from Samantha to all the readers is, find a mentor, having someone who knows what’s all about on your side is vital. Samantha has always had vital support from her dad, the dinosaur, sadly not from other members of her family which over these years have been constantly putting her down in glee of her failures in many ways, whereas she used her dad’s advice, channel the energy to accomplish even more and push your mind and body to the limits, anything is possible if you dream big. There is no such thing as a failure, only a lesson to learn, so take your time and learn from those mistakes, your journey is not a competition, there is no need to rush. Also, people who try to put you down with harsh words or actions are because they think you are better than them and you probably are.