entrepreneur * founder: FLOW Blow Dry & Beauty Bar * designer/stylist * makeup artist * certified microblading brow artist
UPDATE: I am excited to launch another chapter of my life: SAMIRA BROW COUTURE! I’ve always been obsessed with brows and before & afters and am now a certified microblading artist! Read more about it here: www.samirabrowcouture.com
Hi! I’m Samira: designer & beauty entrepreneur – born in the East and raised in the West – living between DC & NYC. This blog is about fashion, beauty & culture, and the intersections of all three in my life. I’m drawn to tribal-bohemian-vintage styles and the bold patterns, embroideries, textures, prints and vibrant colors of Central Asia & Middle East. I will also explore and introduce to you ancient and exotic Eastern rituals to spice up your beauty routine. I love organic/natural products, being a mom to my three little ones, music, social causes & pop culture. What to expect in this blog:
Fashion & style with a boho-chic fashion & tribal vibe (check out my SHOP page)
A bit about me – I was creative and a little businesswoman from a young age. At 5, I was picking flowers from gardens and going door-to-door to sell my bouquets. I drew portraits of faces and developed a love for fashion, arts and music. I started a babysitting venture at the age of 10, started my first job at a dry cleaners at 14, and helped manage a women’s gym by 17. In college at GMU, I would organize seasonal outdoor fashion shows and take art classes. At 22, I graduated with a degree in Marketing while working close to full-time, then worked in the corporate world for a while before realizing that I didn’t like working for someone else’s vision, and was meant to be a fashion designer. I quit, as my parents called it, my “real job”, started helping my father with his business, and in parallel, put the wheels in motion to follow my dreams. They were not too happy with me giving up a career as a Market Analyst to pursue this “hobby” of mine, but I felt it in my bones. I was meant to create things. To take ideas and put them into motion. I faced obstacles, and despite being told that I wouldn’t last in the cut-throat fashion industry, I launched an evening wear line and was in the middle of building that business up when 9/11 happened. It was that day and forward that everything changed for me. The two countries I loved so dearly were now engaged in war. I started to question my career choice – fashion felt so shallow in the darkness and despair of what everyone was feeling at the time. I made the move to New York City in 2003 and over the next few years launched two independent, self-funded labels, and let me tell you, I put in blood, sweat and tears to do it. It wasn’t easy but I think I did pretty well given I did it on my own – design, illustrations, specs, flats, production management, e-commerce, distribution, sales & marketing. My designs have been purchased by thousands of women, were sold to boutiques worldwide, and I received media recognition for my work. I noticed my parents, and even people in my community, started to take me seriously as a designer – and not just the girl who likes fashion.
In 2004-05, I visited Afghanistan several times to see what I could do to help create jobs for the women there. My company was part of the first trade delegation to Kabul. After visiting there for the first time since I left the country at 3 years old, I was inspired by the people, the landscape, by the tribal embroideries, and fabrics. I was forever connected I thought, and transformed my entire look of my ready-to-wear label into a “Silk Road” inspired line. My dream was to open up a sewing factory and have my designs manufactured in Afghanistan and shipped back to the states. This could create jobs and improve the economy. This idea led to my sisters and I to launch Artizan Sarai, an initiative that successfully marketed Afghan-made accessories and jewelry to high end boutiques and galleries in the U.S. I then realized that fashion isn’t shallow and that through my work, I could help people. Social entrepreneurship!
In late 2006, I met my dear hubby Kaiser, we got married in 2007, and in 2010, welcomed our baby Elaina Rumi Rose (we call her Rumi, like the Afghan poet!). I took a little bit of time off from fashion design to focus on mommy hood, then realized that NYC might not be the best place to raise our little girl. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE NYC in all of its glory and flaws, but we were also dying for more space and to be closer to family. So, in 2012, we semi-moved to Northern VA, and kept our NYC apartment so that we could always have one foot there.
That was when I decided to open up a blow dry bar in Northern VA after seeing them pop up in NYC. My experience in the fashion industry complimented the hair & beauty industry, and I had worked with hair stylists and make-up artists for many years. I wrote a business plan, secured funding, and after months of planning, opened FLOW Blow Dry & Beauty Bar in January 2013. I designed it from top to bottom: the logo, concept, interior decor and branding. It has been voted “Best Blowout in Northern VA” in Northern VA Magazine three years in a row, “Best New Business” and “Best of Reston” in Washingtonian Magazine, which I’m excited about (www.flowblowdrybar.com)! The first location opened in Reston, VA in 2013, and the second in Ashburn in June 2014. To date, we have won numerous awards and business is growing. I love seeing my idea turn into a recognized business in the area. Also important to me is educated clients about the benefits of organic and natural products. While working on the design, construction management, and start-up of the second location, I was pregnant with TWINS! It was a challenging time juggling a second start-up along with a twin pregnancy and delivery, and all that goes with it, but I did it! Baby Nik and Baby Zaki were born on July 10th, 2010….and I’m in love!
In parallel to my work as a fashion designer in NYC for 10 years, I also worked as a costume designer in LA, designed uniforms for UAE’s largest telecom company, worked as a fashion director for a multicultural magazine, styled several music videos, produced fashion shoots & shows, designed the branding & corporate identity for several start-ups, launched a socially responsible accessories & jewelry website and a multi-cultural media company, where the goal is to unite cultures through entertainment. In 2014, I became a certified make-up artist and have been working with clients to educate them on the benefits of using organic & natural make-up. I’m excited to announce that in 2016, I will be a certified microblading artist and licensed permanent make-up artist. For details, click on the BROW page above!
As far as fashion goes, I like to mix classic pieces with unique and quirky designs that I find in consignment shops & vintage boutiques. Tribal/bohemian/gypsy looks with a global influence excite me. Wearing secondhand does not bother me – it’s recycling at its best. Unique stitching details, pleats, buttons, seams, embroideries, patterns, prints, cuts & fabrics are what I look for. It doesn’t have to be a well known designer as long as it speaks to me when I’m shopping, nor do I care if I wear something that is from another season. If I love it, I’ll wear it! Fashion for me has always been a way of expressing myself since I was a child.
As you can see from my long bio – I have worked on so many diverse projects and have been on many emotional, physical and spiritual adventures….but what ties them all together is my passion for creating, uniting, educating and making a positive impact on people, cultures, the environment, and myself/family. I invite you to join me on my professional and personal adventures and to see where the road leads!
Peace & Love,
- Vintage shopping
- Home décor/real estate
- Organizing closets
- Pop culture
- Film, tv, music
- Breaking news
Bachelors of Science, Marketing (Honors): George Mason University
Branco Babic’s PhiBrows (2016) – Certified Microblading Artist
Esthetic Institute (2016): Licensed Permanent Makeup Artist (trained in Blood-borne pathogens, disease/infection control & universal precaution standards as set by DPOR & OSHA)
National Safety Council (2016): First Aid/CPR Certified
NETSA (2015): Brow Shaping & Threading Certified
Graham Webb Academy (2014): Certified Makeup Artist
Parson School of Design, NYC (2000)
Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC (2004)
Two FGI “RISING STAR” Award Nominations
Design featured in “Men In Black II”
Designs worn by Project Runway’s Nick Verreos and CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, live on air
Designed sales rep uniforms for Etisalat, the U.A.E.’s largest telecom company
Fashion Director for Zeba Magazine; creator of the popular fashion “Do’s/Dont’s (Buko/Nako) section
Set work on feature film Salt, starring Angelina Jolie, 2009
Appearances on Law & Order Criminal Intent, 2008
Music video stylist – NYC – 2008
Lead actress “Zohra” in feature film FireDancer – first Afghan-American film to be entered into the 2003 Academy Awards and Tribeca Film Festival
Costume designer, Sheherzade in Los Angeles, October 2003
Elite Model Search Finalist, 1995
- Founder – FLOW Blow Dry & Beauty Bar
- Founder – Samira Atash Designs
- Founder – It’s A Miracle Maternity
- Co-Founder – PlanetPix Media & Entertainment Group
- PR & Marketing Coordinator at Nooristan Foundation
Here is a video of my bio & work from 2007: