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How a car accident made me more determined to build my swimwear brand

Samantha Harding is the founder of swimwear brand, Sahar. She shares why she started the brand and how a car accident left her more determined than ever to build an empire.

I started Sahar because I could never find any bikinis I liked to surf in. Everyone always wore the same thing, I just wanted to look good and feel comfortable at the same time.

The brand started in university as a hobby and escalated to selling to friends of friends and then to people I’ve never met.

Chasing summer

I was born in Dubai and lived in Abu Dhabi until I was 10, then moved to Brazil, Rio de Janeiro and Ipanema, where it all began and I started hitting the waves.

At the moment I’m in London but I fly to Brazil a lot and as soon as COVID restrictions are over I will return to chasing the summer around the world

Overcoming hurdles

After starting Sahar I was in a series of abusive relationships and was involved in a car accident. Many years later and I’m still recovering. I had to learn to walk again but that never brought my positive side down, it only made it stronger.

So after learning that the sun would have to be avoided for two to three years, so no surfing, I decided to move to London. I’m still here today because I feel this is the place to get my brand to where it has to be. 

The accident changed my whole perspective on life, it gave me the courage and energy to move out of my comfort zone, to a whole new country to restart and achieve my dream. 

It also made me value the simple things in life, like time with my friends and family. Once you go through something so impactful like that, it just changes everything, values, beliefs and the good part is that half of the things that used to stress me out don’t even bother me nowadays.

Giving something back

Next year the brand turns 10. Sahar sells in so many countries via representatives and luxury boutiques. It’s an exclusive brand so big retailers like Selfridges and Harrods do not fit its placement.

This year after a lot of planning and implementation, I’ve included a social project in Sahar, so it’s not only a brand that sells lifestyle and exclusivity now it gives back to those less fortunate.

My advice to my younger self

Save your money, invest more in finance courses and don’t stress. It all works out in the end.

To someone who wants to run their own business, persistence is key. Just give it all you got and don’t give up. If you really want it, it will happen.

Charlotte Harding
Charlotte Harding
Charlotte is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.
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