Originally from Brazil, Samira Simoes moved to Toronto 10 years ago and created a name for herself in the marketing industry working at an agency with brands like BlackBerry, Ford of Canada, and Xerox Canada. Not only did she succeed in the marketing world, she also developed her fashion business working in that office. When you’re surrounded by mostly women, it’s hard not to pick up on their styles and fashion sense.
Except Samira was the one everyone was taking tips from. Her colourful clothes match her colourful personality, quite different from all the grey and black in the corporate Toronto scene. Slowly her co-workers starting asking Samira to bring back pieces from Brazil to add to their wardrobes, including the to-die-for Havaiana flip flops, and boom, Oh My Closet was born. The brand is inspired by Samira’s love of fashion and the need to bring colourful clothes to Canada.
About two years ago Samira started selling bodysuits and Havaianas in Toronto, but with a busy day time job it was hard to focus on growing the business. Her and her husband moved to Calgary last year and Samira jumped on the opportunity to focus on the store and start growing Oh My Closet out West. It’s full speed ahead to bring the best Brazilian clothes (and flip flops) to the Canadian market. The bodysuits and swimsuits are made in Brazil with Samira’s co-founder running the production side over there.
How would you describe your style?
Fun, colorful and comfortable! I like to be unique and so in our shop we don’t carry pieces with the same pattern, and only have limited quantities. We want to give other women the opportunity to express themselves in their own unique way. Showing up a party or event in a one-of-a-kind dress gives women a real fashion edge.
Where did the name come from?
My friends and I say “Oh my God” way too frequently, so I thought it would be perfect as a company name. It has a fun flare! I like to think I am sharing what I would have in my closet with my customers, I only pick styles and pieces that I would (and probably already do) own. It is fun and easy to remember.
What are the most rewarding and challenging parts of starting your own business?
Making your own time to build your own empire out of something you love to do is the most rewarding part. On the other hand, there are quite a few challenges like being responsible for knowing the markets, your clients, and making sure they are satisfied by what you are providing.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs?
Believe in your dreams and go for it, never give up. Do what you love!
What keeps you motivated?
Seeing Canadian women wearing our Brazilian items and feeling great!
What’s next for Oh My Closet?
We are planning our schedule for our pop ups. We used to do them in Ontario, and now we would like to have those here in the West.
Photos by Kolby Meyers | Check out her instagram