Samar Farooq was busy working as a chartered accountant and tax adviser, but few of her colleagues knew that her family had a big secret…
Here, she chats to us at House of Coco to reveal all…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
I launched the Samol Herbal at the end of May 2016. I wanted to launch it back in 2007 but found out I was expecting my first child – so things and priorities in life changed significantly! I finally decided it was time to launch Samol this year.
I was very keen to continue my family’s legacy. Both my grandmother and mother have been Unani practitioners (you can call them herbalist!) and have spent years studying this science. My grandmother sold the hair oil (formerly known as Askarol) for over 30 years. We knew how powerful the formulation was so my mother and I decided to bring it to the world.
What’s your background?
I was born and brought up in Karachi (Pakistan) – as a child I had seen my grandmother making and selling the oil along with some of her other very unique formulations. I came to England in 1999 as a student to study Accounting & Finance. I qualified as a chartered Accountant and then specialised in tax with PwC. I now head up a tax function for a medium sized business looking after all areas of taxes and managing a team.
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
Well we all make mistakes and the best part is to learn from your mistakes. I would say running my own business has definitely made me learn not to make hasty decisions, there is no need to rush into things, there is no quick turnaround – it’s not a race or a time restricted exam! Things can be done slowly as long as they are done accurately and properly.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
Ah there have been many challenges! The first and foremost was where do you start??!! Although having said that, there is so much information available on Internet that made the whole process much easier… I keep thinking back to my grandmother’s time nearly 40 years ago… Gosh how did she manage to do the business at that time in Pakistan?!
2016 is here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
Well we only launched few months ago so penetrating in the UK market is quite important. But I am determined to make SAMOL an international brand so I am working on securing some non-UK partnerships as well.
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know.
OK – so this may freak some people out but I only took two weeks maternity leave on the birth of my second child!
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
For such a young brand to be seen in all the big magazines, including Vogue, Tatler, Harpers Bazaar, Elle, and Cosmo is absolutely amazing!
Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without?
Well, I would say maybe an eye liner and a lipstick occasionally as I am not a big fan of make-up. But of course there is always a time and place for it so if there is a special occasion, then yes I do like dolling up!
My beauty routine really starts with a clean skin and that is very much a combination of what you put in your body as well as on your body. So eating clean, drinking plenty of water and exercising form a big part of my beauty routine.
Since launching Samol, I have developed a great interest in natural beauty products and have literally ditched all my big brands with nasty chemicals. In fact, at every exhibition I have done to date, people have asked me what I use for my skin and if I sell that product.
We will be launching our first skincare product very soon. Again based on my mother’s unique and very powerful formula and I believe there is nothing like that available in the market. So, watch this space…. And that is the main beauty product I use – at least three times a week!
Elegance, comfort and modesty.
Best thing about London to you?
Its true diversity makes it such a unique and tolerant place to be in!
Favourite love song?
There is no single favourite when it comes to Bollywood music as I am huge fan!…. For English I would say ‘I finally found someone’ by Barbara Striesand and Brian Adams.
Best place for a coffee?
I am a very easy going and low maintenance person – so for me it’s definitely COSTA!
Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
The only thing constant in life is change.
Junk Food!!! Thankfully I don’t go through these guilty pleasure phases too often…..
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