Name: Samira Far
Current location: Los Angeles, CA
City you were born in or raised: Raised in Los Angeles, CA
Social Media Handles: Twitter: @samirafar
Alma mater: University of Southern California (USC)
Tell us what you did before you started your own businesses. What educational or professional experience was crucial to becoming an entrepreneur? In 2009, I was awarded the Small Business Administration’s “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” Award for Los Angeles. When asked for advice for the new entrepreneur, I offered my take: “In my late teens I learned that if I make a mistake, it does not define me. Every moment is an opportunity to re-create myself as I wish. This was the best lesson because it allows me to be okay with failures. Now I believe that genius actually lives in micro-failures. Small mistakes create opportunities for growth, and if you take those, you’re successful.”
Both Bellacures and Fred + Far reflect my dedication to innovating products and services that enhance human experiences and allow people to connect with themselves. I am also a contributor to The Huffington Post and Inc.Com and am currently developing my first book about the magic of execution.
I graduated USC’s Marshall School of Business with a BS in International Business in 2004 and have been involved in many organizations including Step Up Women’s Network, Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO), Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and was on the Executive Leadership Team of the American Heart Association (AHA).
You have a lot on your plate! Let’s start with Fred and Far. What is the concept and how and why did you get started and where does the name come from? In 2016, I partnered up with another highly creative woman and long time friend to launch Fred + Far. Fred + Far is a female empowerment e-commerce startup and creator of The Self Love Pinky Ring. The mission of the brand is to inspire women to honor, choose and remember themselves on a daily basis by practicing self love and self care. In addition to developing jewelry that inspires and empowers, the brand has started developing a global community of women through social platforms.
The story behind the ring is personal to my friend and partner Melody Godfred. As Melody, Co-creator of Fred + Far, says “By early 2015, I had hit every milestone: education, career, marriage, mortgage, motherhood. But with each one my commitment to others grew, while my connection with myself dissipated. What made me happy? Who was I after all the labels were stripped away? So I decided to wear a new ring on a new finger, and instead of getting a thin little band, I got something big and comparable to an engagement ring. And so my pinky ring revolution was born. I can honestly say my life has transformed. I am happier, more focused and energized—and as a result everyone around me is experiencing magic as well.”
What is your own story with Self Love? Why is it so important to remind women to have self love first? Self care has always been something that I was good at. I’ve always been aware to take care of my body, skin, hair, nails, get a good night’s sleep, get good grades, do well in business… the list goes on. I often thought I loved myself and that’s why I was engaging in self care. Maybe the self care was rooted in self love, and somehow each year I get older, I realize what true self love means. This past year for me it has meant to show up for all my feelings. Never letting a feeling go unfelt. To love myself the way I would love another and to stand before myself each and every day with a check in: “Samira, how are you my love? Let’s feel together.” This has been revolutionary for my creativity, my energy, my relationships and general fulfillment.
What’s your signature Fred and Far ring style? This is the ring I wear in 14k Rose Gold.
You are co-founders with another woman, Melody. What’s it like starting and running a business with a partner? What are some of the positives and what are some of the challenges (if any)? It’s a wonderful process to start and grow a business with a partner. I am lucky in that we fill each other up where one is not as thorough or competent (or just doesn’t feel like dealing).
Can you share any advice to young ladies who are thinking of partnering with other young ladies in business? If you will partner up with anyone—woman or man—make sure you see an attorney. Get a good operating agreement. Get on the same page about what your roles and responsibilities are and how you will make big decisions together.
You have founded two businesses. Did you find it easier to start the second? How were the processes for each different? How do you juggle both? Yes, starting another business after you have been in business for over a decade is much more smooth than when you have no idea what you are doing. I have a good team. I stay organized and focused and make sure I delegate to the people who are good at what they do.
Moving onto your next venture. Nail salons! Give us some backstory on Bellacures, what was the impetus to get into the nail salon business? What sets you apart from other Los Angeles salons? I started frequenting salons in Los Angeles at the age of 12. I was a nail-biter, turned manicure-addict. In 2005, I traded a top job at prestigious accounting firm KMPG to launch a wildly successful franchise of nail salons. I saw an opportunity to fill a niche for a salon that competed on what women truly value in the manicure experience: care, consistency, communication, comfort and most importantly cleanliness.
Today, Bellacures is an acclaimed nail salon, with 8 locations in Southern California and Dallas, Texas. The success of Bellacures is due in large part to its dedication to meeting its audience at their core feelings and creating trust and loyalty. We continue to attract devoted clientele and the biggest names in Hollywood.
Favorite nail polish brand and favorite nail color? Always will be Essie’s Fifth Avenue. The perfect shade of red.
You’re about to have a meeting with investors for your business. Any tricks you have to be mentally prepared? What’s your power outfit? Know who you are, where you came from, what you know, where you are going and what you need to go where you are going. You will most likely see that the investors are not a good fit. You have to meet with a lot of people to find the right fit for you and your business. It doesn’t matter what you are wearing. It matters where you stand with yourself.
Dream job? Being an entrepreneur to me is being an artist that creates businesses. So my dream job would be to create without worrying about profitability.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? Paul Orfalea, Founder of Kinko’s, looked at me on career fair day at USC and said, “Don’t get a job. Go do something in the world and start a business. You’re young and you have nothing to lose.” So I did.
In your downtime, what would we find you doing? Walking and hiking.
Tell us about living in Los Angeles. What does your weekend itinerary look like? Which cafés, restaurants, stores, bars or activities are you checking out? I like to get out and be active. Hiking and walking are a great way to start the morning. I love the wisdom tree hike near the Cahuenga Loop. I love walking from the beginning of San Vicente in Brentwood to Ocean Ave in Santa Monica.
Yoga and dancing are on the top of the list. I am loyal to Equinox and love 5Rythms Dance. Meditating and gathering in any kind of circle is always a great way to spend a weekend.
Obviously, eating! My current top picks for food spots include: Uplifter’s Kitchen on Ocean Park, Go Get Em Tiger on Larchmont (amazing avocado toast), Farmshop in Brentwood, Milo and Olive, Sqirl in Silverlake, Sawyer in Silverlake, Backyard Bowls for acai bowls, and A Cut Above in Santa Monica for sandwiches and bone broth.
If you could pack up and move anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why? Portland. I love the culture, food and surrounding nature.
Tell us about the most memorable trip or vacation you’ve ever been on. Who were you with, where did you go, where did you stay, what did you see? Why was it so special? I have had so many memorable trips. It won’t be fair to the other trips to simply pick one. But I can tell you a few spots that I feel inspired by: a castle in Transylvania, Romania that was a summer home for the king a long time ago. It was magical. Hiking in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Hiking in Interlaken, Switzerland. The butter all over Switzerland is something I will never forget and will need to go back for. Iguaza Falls in Argentina for the air and natural beauty. San Blas Islands off of Panama for the fish that was cooked by a small family on a small island in a fire pit. Le Bon Marché department store in Paris with my mom for shopping and an afternoon tea and pastry.
Where are you going on your next leisurely vacation (or dream vacation if you don’t have one planned)? Where are you going, staying and what will you be doing? I am going to Nashville on my next trip. My dream vacation is to go to Iceland and drive the loop around the island.
For someone who has so much going on, any tips on how to stay grounded, sane and relaxed? When you feel like you are going insane, let yourself go insane. See what comes out, allow yourself to feel the range of emotions and feelings and release them by moving your body: dance, run, walk, hike, participate in a solo interpretive movement dance in front of your mirror alone. Sometimes there is genius that lies in our moments of insanity. To repress them is to manage your humanness and live a robotic life. Avoid that at all costs. Let yourself be as fluid as possible. This practice will lead you to being more and more grounded every day!
Read Samira’s article on the hot topic: “What is Work-Life Balance Anyway?“