fashion

How a founder bootstrapped her fashion startup to a profitable $2 million in revenue with bags made of apples and no investors

Samara CEO Samila Visram, right, and her sister Samara, left.
  • Samila Visram founded sustainable fashion brand Samara in 2017 after she couldn’t find a bag that was “cruelty free, simple, and elegant.”
  • The brand sells bags, clothing and accessories made from ethically-sourced sustainable materials like apple leather, bamboo and castor oil.
  • A chunk of the company’s profits go to supporting Visram’s other venture, Soular, which provides children in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania with backpacks that have solar-powered lights so they do homework without expensive kerosene.
  • Visram said Samara is profitable and has been “since day one,” generating $2 million a year in revenue.
  • Doing small production runs, maintaining a staff of four who perform many roles, and handling projects like photoshoots in-house have all helped keep costs down, Visram said.
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Bags made out of apple leather. Sunglasses made out of castor oil.

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