Mama Luma, a local clothing brand founded by two UCSB students, secured a multi-million dollar deal this week with Italian distributor Baby Dream S.R.L., an international company that distributes clothing for some of the world’s top luxury brands.
The $3.8 million distribution deal will bring Mama Luma’s line of designer kids clothing to customers in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Italy. The local brand is joining Baby Dream S.R.L.’s luxury line up, which includes brands like Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Simonetta, for the next three years.
Kevin Mahany, the brand’s co-founder, told the News-Press that he and his business partner, Ata Sari, are looking forward to seeing their brand grow internationally as a result of the deal.
“One of the biggest parts of this (deal) is brand awareness,” Mr. Mahany told the News-Press. “We’re very centered on how we use this 21st century landscape and ecosystem to create a brand that’s relevant, and we’ve done much of that through Instagram influencer marketing and Facebook advertising,” Mr. Mahany said. “Those have been prime avenues and this (deal), in our minds, is alleviating reliance on that. So here’s an opportunity to be in the top stores and physically in countries all throughout the world.”
The business partners, Mr. Mahany and Mr. Sari, created the Mama Luma a few years after meeting one another during their freshman year at UCSB. The pair, both of whom are 26, decided to go into business together in 2017, launching a clothing brand that sells hand-made designs created by Mr. Sari’s mother, Mahinur Sari, who lives in Turkey.
Since launching the business, the Mama Luma brand has expanded both its online and international presence. In addition to a website and social media platform, the brand currently has franchises in Azerbaijan, Panama and the United Arab Emirates.
The brand also had a storefront in Paseo Nuevo for a time, but the partners were forced to close the space during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The brand’s continued growth and prominence worldwide comes at a time when the Turkish economy remains in a state of despair, Mr. Mahney said. For Ms. Sari, the brand’s head designer, having business growth during a tough economic time brings about a lot of gratitude, Mr. Mahaney said.
“It ended up so serendipitous because as (Turkey’s) economy was tanking, the business has just been growing,” Mr. Mahany said. “I think for (Ms. Sari), there’s a level of gratitude, appreciation and a little bit of ‘hey my designs are holding up in the largest ecosystem.”
While the business partners are hopeful for continued growth worldwide, Mr. Mahaney said the pair is looking for more ways to keep the local community engaged with their business.
“We really appreciate this community and want what we built to not just be our baby, but Santa Barbara’s baby as well,” Mr. Mahaney said.