Meet The Maker // Samaher Derhali
Samaher was still in high school when her mother started LaSuna with two friends. After graduating from college, she gradually became more involved from helping her mother with simple things to designing the actual pieces. She then re-branded and revised the brand’s identity, and took LaSuna from being just a brand to creating an entire culture.
What are some steps you took that were part of rebranding?
Firstly, I changed the logo of the brand, I made it look more modern and trendier. Secondly, I unified the brand image by focusing on tribal wear and lounge wear. Then I moved onto extending my line into kids, men, and women. I associated these sectors with adventure and traveling.
Did you come across any challenges or obstacles in the beginning?
Every day was challenging for me. However, in the beginning, my biggest challenge was the fact that I was running the show and everyone was depending on me; It takes a lot of discipline and commitment. Another challenging part was making people understand the casualness of LaSuna; They took time to understand about how and where can our pants be worn. Nowadays, men/women are loving LaSuna because of how comfortable and unique it is. Not only wearing a colored abaya has become normal but also a printed one.
What made you pick this fabric as your signature?
I noticed how colors make a big difference to your mood. Wearing colored pieces with prints uplifts your mood immediately. Also, when I first saw the geometrical/floral prints and fabric in Indonesia, I just had to use them for LaSuna.
How do you deal with people who imitate LaSuna?
It is flattering because of how its inspiring people, but at the same time, it can be frustrating. You always need to have good business ethics and start something new from scratch. Despite all that, I still stick to LaSuna’s identity and authenticity.
What advice would you give to someone willing to start their own brand and avoid imitating?
There’s a fine line between being inspired and imitating. I would advise people to stay true to themselves. As a designer it would be nice to hear something unique from a customer rather than a negative comment about imitating.
The COVID outbreak put a lot of businesses at risk, how did you handle the situation?
We came up with positive in-house activities, such as sending the best photos/videos wearing LaSuna, which helped in making the quarantine experience more fun and colorful. So, our main focus was customer service, we aimed to give the best service to our customers. Some of the clients made our Ramadan very special by sending some dates and a note, which I really appreciated.
Besides that, shifting to E-business helps a lot in nourishing your brand; It makes shopping easier and more convenient.
In your opinion, do you feel moving to the west makes the brand more successful?
Every person has his/her own goals and dreams, it would be amazing for a brand to expand to the west. In the beginning, we used to sell online in the US and had a few pop ups in London and Miami. It was so nice to hear positive feedbacks from people there. However, in my opinion, nothing is more rewarding than being in your home and making your hometown clients happy.
What advice would you give to upcoming entrepreneurs?
It’s not as easy as it looks on social media. Study the market and analyze what could be added. You have to be creative and have the passion to start your own brand.
What inspires you with LaSuna?
More than anything, travels! When I went to Africa and Mexico, I noticed how people were so authentic with their pieces and fabrics. That was so inspiring.
Are there new designs coming out soon?
Definitely. Wait for it!