Meet Samira Radmehr, fashion blogger with 119k followers and the cutest blog, Leather to Lunch. Her socials feature the most current & trendy topics surrounding beauty, fashion, lifestyle, and more. Not to mention, Samira is the total package – she is genuine, sweet, gorgeous, motivated, and super down to earth.
I was so excited to get the opportunity to sit down and chat with this beautiful girl (inside and out). She is a force to be reckoned with, and she is only getting started.
How did Samira make her mark in the blogging world? Keep reading to find out!
When did you first start using social media?
At first when I heard this question, I was going to say Facebook, from when I was in high school, but then I thought back to the MySpace days – I was on the platform near the end of eighth grade, which was around 2004-2005. Since MySpace was the very first social media platform, you could say that I was on social media extremely early, even before my teenage days. MySpace was such a great starting point because it taught me so much, even how to code! However, when it began to die down, I moved over to Facebook around 2010. Of course I am not very active on FB presently, but at the time when it was super popular, I’d be uploading albums on it every single week showcasing what I was up to that weekend. As you already know, Facebook was such a fun way to connect with our friends, family, etc. However, when Instagram came out, everything changed. My first post on IG was in 2011, and I still to this day, have it on my page. Of course I was posting pretty casually at the time, but I was super into sharing photos on my social channels. I was also following all the now big fashion bloggers, such as Aimee Song of Song of Style. At the time, I didn’t quite understand what being a blogger was, but I loved seeing their outfits. As time passed in college, I began to realize how much the space was growing, and I saw the opportunity in that.
In college, I interned at a PR Company where we would send gifts to fashion bloggers and I remember thinking, “wow this is so cool, these bloggers are getting free clothes, free products”, and at the time, I wasn’t even aware that they were also being paid to promote the items too. After having this work experience and graduating college, I decided I wanted to take my Instagram a little more serious and share more professional photos and content. At the time, in late 2015-early 2016, business accounts on IG weren’t available but I was roughly 24-25 years old when I said “alright no more personal content, I want to only share content surrounding fashion and I need to share on a daily basis to stay consistent and build this platform.” So long story short, I was in the social media space for about 10 years before I began to use it professionally around 2016!
Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did? Next?
Oh my, where to start? Okay, I was in college in LA – I went to UCLA and I was studying Communication Studies. I knew for my entire life, I was super into fashion as well as the entertainment industry, so throughout college, I always had an intern position in fashion and entertainment. As I mentioned earlier, I did fashion PR for a bit – I liked it, but at the end of the day, I was only an intern so my experience was limited and I knew I could be doing more. Regardless, it was great how much of the behind the scenes I got to see.
During my second half of college at UCLA, I interned at iHeart Radio for one of the most popular radio stations in LA and I loved it. Essentially, I was working side by side with producers creating the show. It was interesting because I always thought I’d enjoy the fashion side more, but it turned out I loved the entertainment side as well. After that internship, I thought I’d get into that position once I graduated college, but when the time came, the company had a hiring freeze and they weren’t doing any additional hires for 8 months or so while being bought out by another company. At the time I thought, well I’m not going to live in LA and have my parents pay for my rent because I don’t have a job lined up, so it only made sense to move back home to Orange County while beginning myjob hunt. I had hopes that I’d get back into entertainment or fashion somehow. I was going to countless job interviews, but unfortunately I wasn’t getting the job. I found myself often getting the same feedback – “we went with someone in-house or we went with someone more qualified.” One of my friends in the fashion industry mentioned “it’s all about who you know, and the connections you have. If you have an interview and get a job off the bat, that’s amazing, but it rarely happens in this industry.” After so many job interviews and hearing this, I was pretty discouraged especially since I always thought going to a great University and getting a good degree would set you up for a great job, but this obviously wasn’t the case.
After all of this, I started to notice the blogging industry even more. At first, I started my blog because I saw it as a way to get my foot in the door – I’d build my personal brand, make connections, and hopefully land a job. So my initial thoughts were, this is either going to be a blog freestanding or it’s going to assist me in getting a job I love. Either way, I made a commitment to myself to post everyday and be consistent, and I’ve been doing just that since 2016 to present. By doing this, I began to connect with a lot of PR companies, and some of them even came full circle. I had interviewed for a position at a PR Company when I graduated, and I didn’t get the job, but a few years later I ended up working with them for one of their clients on a paid collaboration basis. It was such a nice and rewarding feeling to have that relationship reconnect. When I first started, I was a bit nervous to reach out to brands, so I would wait for brands to reach out to me. I did my best to try and get noticed by brands by staying active and consistent, as well as utilizing the hashtags and location feature on IG to try and get more noticed, as well as hit the explore page. Once I gained more confidence, I began to reach out to more brands myself, and from there, it became a natural balance between the two.
How long was it before your social media platforms became profitable? How did you live through those first few months/years? Did you have any struggles?
I would say I didn’t monetize for the first year and half. I believe my first paid job was around 30K followers and it was for Bark Thins – the Pretzel Dark Chocolate Bites. It’s my favourite snack ever! I remember the brand reaching out and asking for my rates, and I was like I don’t know what that even means. At the time, there was nothing to really reference in terms of how much a blogger should charge, compared to some of the resources that exists now. I believe I got $100-$150 for the first post, and I was so happy. For the first couple of years – I was and still am incredibly grateful that I was able to have the support of my family. My parents were definitely a bit confused about the field, however they were also very open minded especially with my mom equally sharing a love for fashion. I was extremely lucky that I didn’t have to worry about paying rent and could focus on building this business, but I also didn’t have a lot of extra cash to do certain things I wanted to do, such as buying new outfits weekly so I could shoot new, trendy clothing and have different content weekly – this was a bit difficult for me.
This aside, my parents told me if this doesn’t begin to workout in a year, it’s time to start looking or thinking of something else. Since my parents are business owners, they understood the concept of starting a business and not profiting for the first few years. I greatly appreciated their support and it was so nice because my mom, like I mentioned earlier, loves fashion so she’d always help me style looks and bounce off ideas with me for content. Fast forward a few years, I ended up staying home for now, which I love, but my career in this industry has flourished.
What did you do prior to influencing on social media? If you weren’t an influencer, what would be your dream job?
Prior to influencing, I was in college and had my internships. I was in Fashion PR, as well as radio. After the internships ended and I graduated, I moved back home, and didn’t have an in-between job. I started my blog and it became what it is today. However, I did get my real estate license in the middle of it in case I absolutely needed a back up plan.
If Instagram didn’t exist, I think I’d definitely be an interior designer and perhaps have a business with my mom since she also has a big knack for design.
What are your thoughts on social media? And what do you think is the most commonly misunderstood thing about social media?
I love social media and I mean, I kind of have to, considering it’s my full time job. However, genuinely from the moment I started using MySpace, I loved it. I love the connection and I love sharing content. I do feel that there are a lot of people who are super quick to judge social media, and list all of the downsides to it. I agree there are definitely downsides, such as the fact that we are glued to our phones all day and how this may lead us to not live in the present moment. In addition, people often discuss the prevalence of cyberbullying and the overall sense of negativity on social media. However, I think there are upsides and downsides to everything in this world, so although social media can be viewed as a negative space, I also think it’s a great place to bring positivity into the world, and inspire others online. At the end of the day, it’s who you choose to consume content from. If someone I follow is making me feel bad, I simply unfollow them and instead, focus on following accounts that bring out positive voices around me and within me. Social media is also a great place to raise awareness and spread love! For example, it was amazing to see how much the world came together to raise money and awareness for the Australian brushfires or for the mourning of Kobe Bryant. Ultimately, if you look for negativity in something, you will find it.
Tell us something about yourself that your followers don’t know
Definitely that I have my real estate license. I don’t talk about it much online and I feel a lot of people don’t know that I was doing that behind the scenes while trying to launch my blogging career.
What negative assumptions, if any, have been made about you via social media?
I think the main thing is people constantly bring up the fact that we don’t work. Which is actually the furthest from the truth because I feel like I am always working. For most corporate jobs, you work 9:00 to 5:00 and when you’re off, you’re off. You don’t have to worry about work, vs. with this job, I feel like I am working the second I wake up until the second I go to bed. On days where I don’t share as much content, I tend feel really guilty about it. I feel like I can always be doing more to build my brand but often need to remind myself that I need to take breaks in order to prevent burnout.
Of course, I know I am not a lawyer or doctor, and it’s definitely not the hardest job in the world. But it is a great amount of work. I know a lot of girls who have tried to become a blogger, and they give up after a month or so because they don’t realize how much work actually goes into it, especially behind the scenes. You wear a lot of hats in this industry. Essentially, you are the employee, photographer, creative director, editor and so much more.
Of all the gifted packages you receive as an influencer, which product/item excites you the most? What would be your dream brand to collab with?
I honestly still get very excited about every package I get to this day. I have some friends in the industry who will wait until the end of the week to open their PR packages but I need to open mine right away! The packages that really excite me tend to be makeup packages because makeup is one of those things that I would never really go out and buy a ton of different options and brands to try because it’s a bit overwhelming. I know there are so many amazing products out there, so I love getting to test different brands and products out one at a time.
For dream brands, I’d love to work with Louis Vuitton or Dior!
Who are three of the most important, and influential people in your life? and why?
My parents, sister, and boyfriend.
My parents because they were both born in Iran but left the country when they were teenagers to pursue a better lifestyle in the states. Their entire story is about coming to America to have a better future, with more opportunities. They literally started from the bottom, and built a successful business together, all while supporting my sister and I, and giving us such a great childhood. This has always been super motivating and inspiring to me because I could never imagine having to do all of that at such a young age. I often think about how many obstacles they had to overcome and that I truly have no excuses – I have so many resources to reach my dreams.
My younger sister because, while we are super similar, we are also completely opposite at the same time. For example, I am super indecisive, and she’s super decisive. I’m pretty easy going, while she is more opinionated. She is a strong, independent, and motivated woman and by having certain traits completely opposite from each other, I am always learning so much from her. She always pushes me to be better and grow, whether it’s personally or professionally.
My boyfriend because he is literally the sweetest soul, he would not hurt a fly. He really inspires me to be a better person every single day. He sees the good in everyone, never puts himself before anyone, and will go out of his way to do anything for his family and friends. He also always reminds me to never sweat the small stuff in life.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring influencer if you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip?
My tip, and I know this is something a lot of influencers/bloggers say, but you have to be consistent. There were so many times where I wanted to stop or I’d doubt myself, thinking maybe this isn’t the right path for me, but I always stopped myself from second guessing, I’d think to myself.. you’ve been doing this for so long, just keep going, don’t give up. Also, try your absolute best to not compare or get down on yourself. I know it’s difficult, but you have to stay in your own lane, focus on yourself, and keep putting your content out there. I’ve seen girls hit 100k in one year alone, while for others, it took them four years to hit 100k. Everyone’s journey is different.
This is my reminder to you: stay true to your own voice, be consistent, network, reach out to brands, be smart about your time (it’s precious). Time management is so important in this field, so remember to stay organized and on top of your goals.
Where can you expect to see Samira in the next 10 years?
Samira would love to be married and have children in the next decade. On a professional note, she is interested in creating her own product line or continuing to develop and build off the brand she’s established so far. For people who follow Samira, you will know she is a hardcore jewelry junkie, so it comes as no surprise that’d she love to have a jewelry line of her own someday.
If social media or her personal brand don’t come to fruition, Samira shared how she has always had a love and knack for interior design, similar to her mom. Once again, if you follow Samira, you’ll know how GORG her house is.
To keep up with her blogging journey, click here!
Who are some of Samira’s biggest inspirations?