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From Retail To Media: An Interview With Samanah Duran

Emma Davies

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From Retail To Media: An Interview With Samanah Duran

Samanah Duran is the founder and CEO of retail company Critics Clothing and BEYOUROWN, a TV Presenter and motivational speaker named Forbes 30 under 30 most influential in retail and e-commerce.

Profiled in Forbes, Thrive, Huffington Post and working closely with Virgin Start Up, Samanah first launched retail company Critics Clothing back in 2012 when she was just 22 but fast forward 5 years whilst driving her retail brand success forward, she has turned her attention towards building BEYOUROWN, a digital media & news company dedicated to inspiring and championing entrepreneurs on a mission to lead.

What inspired you to start your own business?

When I reflect now, I recognize that I actually became an entrepreneur by accident. In my early 20’s I moved to London to be a TV presenter, not to work in fashion, so launching a media hub was equally out of the equation at that time. 

Critics Clothing launched in 2012 after coming back from a presenting gig across the US West Coast out of my want and need to create something that I could fall in love with and make successful long term. From that, I built my second company BEYOUROWN, a digital media and content company with the aim to help entrepreneurs navigate their way through their business journeys.

What is the most difficult aspect of running your own business?

Probably that in a lot of ways, as the founder, I have heavily relied on knowledge to all the answers. The reality is that sometimes I don’t actually know all the answers, sometimes I am winging it myself. 

What is the best thing about running your own business?

I meet an incredible amount of talented, ambitious and inspirational entrepreneurs on a daily basis, some of who are immensely game-changing. The hunger and passion they possess to make a positive impact whether it be within their field, for a social cause or greater good are really admirable. 

Do you have any unique skill sets you think you bring? 

Success is truly down to teamwork and I would like to think that I have a great way of bringing out the best in my team and with the people I choose to work with. I really take pride in watching my team members flourish and grow within their roles. It is equally important for me to guide others to accomplish goals not just for me, but for all of us as a collective because we should all be winning together.

In your opinion how can women harness their femininity and use it productively as an entrepreneur?

Great question. I would say that in business there is often no room for emotions, however, that being said, women are very good at being tactful, showing empathy and possess strong communicational skills that make other people feel safe in a corporate world.

As women, we can become emotionally invested in our team and we appreciate the true value of building trustworthy relationships with those around us, this is a perfect way to drive success forward as it is essential to establish great team culture within the workplace.

What hurdles do many women have to overcome in order to be an effective leader?

Being a woman shouldn’t be in the equation as I don’t feel that this is a gender-specific issue, I think there are challenges that lots of people in general face regarding the development of effective leadership skills.

Effective leadership demands a high level of respect and trust in your team. In order to gain this, you should have a proven track record of knowing your subject matter, respect the skillset within your team, be able to delegate efficiently and have the ability to accept constructive criticism and act upon it.

What advice do you have for someone at the start of their entrepreneurial journey?

I would advise them to go out there and really seize every opportunity they get to make every day a better day for them and their business. They must harness their inner power if they want to turn their dreams into reality.

Where do you see yourself and BEYOUROWN in the future and have you made any long term plans?

I aim to expand on my team to be able to facilitate that growth. We all have different approaches to scaling up companies, what I really love is that as we are still relevantly small, and we still maintain a real company culture attitude, which means we are still able to make spontaneous decisions.

I have learned some amazing skills and key attributes over the past 8 years of business building and I still have such a long way to go. BEYOUROWN help to empower and support all women that are passionate about changing lives. Worldwide leading ladies use the BEYOUROWN platform to tell their stories, offer advice and share their knowledge. Ultimately I aim to continue connecting, championing and celebrating entrepreneurs through BEYOUROWN.

Managing Editor at BEYOUROWN

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