Samanah Duran

Having self awareness as an entrepreneur plays a pivotal role in the success you want to achieve.


Samanah Duran is a British fashion designer and entrepreneur most recently named Forbes 30 under 30 most influential in retail and e-commerce. Her fierce emphasis on inspiring each individual to embrace their identity and to take pride in their individuality is perfectly presented in her vision for an innovative clothing line with Critics Clothing, which was revolutionised through the crafting of indulgent streetwear with the power to evoke self-expression.

Building on that inspiration as an extension of Critics Clothing, Samanah has now successfully launched BEYOUROWN and BEYOUROWN MAN a digital media & news company dedicated to inspire and champion entrepreneurs on a mission to lead.

Samanah is truly dedicated to evolving her brand and team. She has developed an unconventional approach to business by enjoying life to the fullest and making business enjoyable for her and whoever she works with. As she continues to be involved in every aspect of Critics Clothing, BEYOUROWN and BEYOUROWN MAN, she loves to meet other inspiring entrepreneurs out there on a mission to also succeed in doing what they love and is passionate about passing on her entrepreneurial skills that she has learned along the way.

Where did the idea for Critics Clothing and BEYOUROWN come from?

At 20, I was interested in pursuing a career as a TV presenter, so that is why I originally moved to London, it wasn’t to work in fashion. However, I had a strong desire to pursue my own path in life and wanted to avoid climbing a corporate ladder. So I started my first company back in 2012, after coming back from a presenting gig to the US West Coast which is Critics Clothing-a retail brand.

Although I launched Critics Clothing in late 2012, it wasn’t really until 2014 that it became popularised and became a Private Equity backed start-up. 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 does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

A typical day for me usually starts at 6am as I am up more than likely having a cup of tea and checking in with the some of my team members round 7am. A lot of our content is automated, however we still need to be on hand for any quick edits or last minute amendments. I take my dog out for a 30/40 minute walk and I also try to hit the pavement for a 20 min run around 8am followed by yoga 6/7 days a week because I genuinely feel that by taking that time to exorcise I can work more efficiently and feel more motivated towards achieving my goals through out the rest of the day.

By 9am right though till 12pm I organising team tasks and getting general admin duties done, ie- brand partnership deals, collaborations or sponsorships that we maybe part of for up and coming events and projects, invoices that need to be chased or PR related matters. I prefer to take conference calls, mainly after 2pm as my brain is very pro-active and creative around this time.

Through out the rest of the day I am organising the more creative aspects of the brands, such as photoshoots, content or design work. A lot of our partners and clients we work with are US and Canadian based so we would usually be checking in with them and touching base with updates late afternoon.

Around 6/7pm I would have already eaten so I am pretty much winding down at this time with a few things to address or manage before I switch off and go to bed around 1am.

In terms of increasing my productivity levels, I often take breaks and visualise. I cannot meditate, but I have created a mental vision board. So by checking myself out during the day periodically to sit, drink a cup of tea and explore my minds thoughts allows me envision my future and where I see things going.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I guess 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 tend to think about something for 20/30 minutes, with all the pros and cons and I think that it is a great fit for our brand DNA and ethos then I make sure we act fast to execute them. Being creative is one thing, but being innovative is another.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I don’t really get too caught up in trends, and its exactly for that reason that it is a trend. It is of course relevant at that time, but for the most part it doesn’t actually offer any real sustainability. I prefer to focus on the development of a concept that will continue to show itself to be effective and play competitively within its field.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Being a typical Taurus, I have this steadfast character trait whereby I know what I want and I know what to do to try and obtain it. I persevere and have that tenacity to keep on going, despite the not always knowing the outcome.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Not to stress too much about things that are irrelevant. When I look back at some of things I did and the way I felt about those particular situations, I wish I didn’t give it the time and effort I did. However, that being said, I am a true believer in evolution and so with those past experiences, I am where I am today.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Tequila fixes everything!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I believe that having self awareness as an entrepreneur plays a pivotal role in the success you want to achieve. I tend to spend time observing and reflecting and in order to improve my self development. I have learnt understand my own strengths and weakness’s and now use them to set an example for my team. I always advise any one who is on that entrepreneurial journey to constantly read new books, attend new conferences and spend time around other leaders in which you can learn and grow from.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I have always looked at the bigger picture when looking into the future. so by implementing mile stones and sticking to the core basics of the business plan has really helped us scale.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I am not so sure about the term “failure,” because I think failing is only when you truly step away and give up, which is something I have never done. I have tried several things, that didn’t work out ultimately as I’d of hoped for, however that’s all part of the learning curve of figuring out what works and what doesn’t. With that in mind, now when it comes to putting together new concepts and ideas, I will taken what I have learnt from the previous experience and use apply another method to improve the outcome.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A TV that produces scent.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

It was a tad bit more than $100! But it was a dinner party I put together for my family over the festive season. I don’t get to see them enough simply because I am working and travelling a lot. My family and close friends are super important to me and I really love being in their company and watching them laugh and smile.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I personally recommended the OMNIPlan App, reason being is that I find the app to be useful for both myself self and client projects when it comings to assessing the current duration of how long each project will take and how close the projects completion date is.The dashboard is also very handy when it comes to managing multiple projects at the same time and measuring the amount of effort team members put in.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Money: Know More, Make More, Give More by Rob Moore. I read it over and over.

What is your favorite quote?

“Be authentic to yourself – you owe it to yourself to be unapologetically you.”

Key Learnings:

  • Take breaks and visualise to increase productivity levels.
  • Being creative is one thing, but being innovative is another.
  • Trends do not actually offer any real sustainability.
  • Having self awareness as an entrepreneur plays a pivotal role in the success you want to achieve.
  • Look at the bigger picture when looking into the future.


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