An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Learn from the best, In my time in London I stepped down and started from zero going to work for brands that I looked up to, from luxury Hermes to mainstream Urban outfitters, I was always hungry to learn more and how they where doing it ans what made them stand out.

As a part of our series called “Making Something From Nothing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Samantha Harding.

Samantha Harding is a Brazilian, english fashion designer born in Dubai and raised in Abu Dhabi and Brazil, now living in London. 10 years ago she started her brand Sahar swimwear, now known as Sahar by Samantha Harding. It’s an exclusive slow fashion brand with beautiful high quality luxury resort wear designs. Everything is produced locally in the communities of Rio de janeiro.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?

I was born in Dubai and raised in the UAE until I was 10, I then moved to Rio de Janeiro where I started surfing at a young age. That’s when it all happened, I’ve always loved the sea and the beach and when I was introduced to this sport I just feel in love. I always had a passion for fashion, designing little croquis everywhere, saying I was going to become a famous fashion designer one day. I started Sahar in university, of course I did fashion in Brazil because I was busy traveling the world discovering new surf spots to surf at, from panama to Hawaii yearly, you name it I was there surfing. My brand started to pick up in Brazil and I was doing well! In 2017 I suffered a life threating car accident because my ex boyfriend was reckless driving. This seemed like the end of the world because I was told that I was not allowed to surf for two years not go in the sun. That’s when moving to London was the way to go, if my passion surfing was taken away, my other passion Sahar was to succeed.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Never give up, there is always a way. Today you can say my life has gotten back to normal, but it took a lot of sacrifices to be where I am today. I’ve had a lot of help, and I’m grateful for all those who have helped in way but in the end Sahar would never be where it is today if I hadn`t gave it my all, as I`m still doing until this day.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Principles by Ray Dalios, yes I carried that brick of a book all around Bali, even balancing it on my head while getting a boat to Nusa Lembongan, didn’t want it to get wet with water all the way to my waist, if you have been, you know what I’m talking about, wear shorts, swimwear and flip fops guys, valid piece of advice. Its just learning from the best & taking in all that knowledge.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There is no shortage of good ideas out there. Many people have good ideas all the time. But people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. Can you share a few ideas from your experience about how to overcome this challenge?

Coming up with ideas is the easy part; putting it down on paper, executing and making it happen is the real deal. The thing is to start and not stop until you have finished, be persistent, it will happen.

Often when people think of a new idea, they dismiss it saying someone else must have thought of it before. How would you recommend that someone go about researching whether or not their idea has already been created?

Like in Fashion everything has been created before, that’s why we have Google!

For the benefit of our readers, can you outline the steps one has to go through, from when they think of the idea, until it finally lands in a customer’s hands? In particular, we’d love to hear about how to file a patent, how to source a good manufacturer, and how to find a retailer to distribute it.

My designs come to me out of the blue, I draw it on paper and get them made, nowadays I can send it straight to my employees and get it made, back in the day it was a different and longer process. After what I created has been approved by me, we do all the creative photos & product strategy leading to placement in the boutiques we sell in around the world. Thankfully I have employees who do all theses processes for me, but back in the day it was all me, thanks team you know I love you all!

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Started Leading My Company” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

1 — Save your money, everything that is made by your business stays in your business, I made the mistake of spending all of it on lavish trips and designer goods, I mean it was beautiful but I would have been a lot further down the line.

2- Get a mentor — I’ve always had a good mentor that was my dad, he always gave me good advice on what to do and what not to do, guess I was just lucky to have really supportive parents.

3- Negotiate, Always and I repeat ALWAYS try to bring the price down. Be like people in Bali, Berapa? Mahal, Translating to, how much? Very expensive!

4- Learn from the best, In my time in London I stepped down and started from zero going to work for brands that I looked up to, from luxury Hermes to mainstream Urban outfitters, I was always hungry to learn more and how they where doing it ans what made them stand out.

5 — Invest in yourself, Take finance courses, marketing courses, anything that will help you gain more knowledge! I myself have an MBA in marketing and regularly do a course here and there to excel my knowledge, it’s a very competitive market so you have to be the best of the best!

Let’s imagine that a reader reading this interview has an idea for a product that they would like to invent. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?

Firstly, check our best friend Google to see if it exists, then chat to your friends and family to see their thoughts ( only take in what you think is valid on this one, friends and family not always know what is the best for you, follow your intuition always). Then go from there!

There are many invention development consultants. Would you recommend that a person with a new idea hire such a consultant, or should they try to strike out on their own?

Depending on the idea Id say firstly try it on your own, you have nothing to lose and if you start to succeed then hire someone with that vast knowledge you need!

What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?

Id start of with bootstrapping, the advice I once received was, If you let an investor in, you loose control and after working for all these massive companies, I totally agree on this one.

Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

Yes, since I started my brand, I’ve always wanted to have a strong social side and now I can say this is happening and our social project MAR is only growing! We give 10% of all profit to our project Mar, which goes to helping the kid of the communities have more opportunity in life. This is a big project with a lot of elements but it starts small, like anything in life.

You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Buy more from Sahar and support a good cause. At least you will be supporting this beautiful project MAR as seen on our social medias.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

Ray Dalios, if you see this, thank you for your book, It has been carried all around Indonesia, gosh it was heavy!

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

Making Something From Nothing: Samantha Harding On How To Go From Idea To Launch was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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