We spoke to Sam Hood, co-founder of Amara an online store selling luxury gifts and designer homeware. We discuss Sam’s journey from fashion buyer to interiors entrepreneur. Sam and her husband first started Amara with a boutique interiors store and then focussed solely on their hugely successful online store. Their own range of home accessories A by Amara is now in its third season.
Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?
My first career was in fashion buying. However, over time I discovered that my real passion lay in interiors and interior design. When it came to decorating my home I couldn’t find anywhere online that stocked my favourite homeware accessory brands so I took the leap with my husband to launch Amara. The start of Amara was a natural progression and quite organic in lots of ways, I didn’t think of myself as being an entrepreneur.
How did your background in fashion retail prepare you for launching Amara?
My background in fashion retail has certainly helped develop my creativity and spotting a niche in the market as well as understanding the need for newness and inspirational and aspirational product.
What’s the best piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
Gain as much experience as possible to hone in on your talent and to create your unique style which you’ll take throughout your whole career. Also, listen to opinions and accept help on your way up.
Who are your icons?
Rosita Missoni is a huge influence in providing inspiration for a bold and bright décor in my home and in my wardrobe!
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing women in the work place?
I think it’s really important to make sure you find the balance between work life and family life. It’s vital to understand and manage your boundaries whilst knowing the right time to switch off.
How do you combine motherhood with running a successful business?
The support of my husband, family and friends has been essential. My husband and I both launched Amara together as we felt that there was a gap in the market. Amara started as a boutique home store but soon the website took over so we decided to concentrate our efforts on our e-tail business. It’s been a really exciting journey for us both and we’ve been lucky enough to hit some amazing milestones along the way.
Finding time to look after my family and myself has also been so important. I can’t stress that enough. I find running and yoga are great stress relievers as is the time to have lunch or coffee with my family and friends.
How did you find starting your own home accessories and soft furnishings line A by Amara?
The A by Amara collection has been in the pipe line for a few years as we wanted to make sure we launched it at the right time and didn’t rush the process. Over the past few years we’ve gained valuable knowledge by looking and listening to our customers and channelling this into creating a collection of accessories that our customers will love in their homes. We’re now in the third offering of A by Amara with the AW17 collection which also celebrates a year since launch.
Lastly, what are your favourite flowers?
Roses, peonies, hydrangeas – there’s too many to pick from!