How it all started
The story of Mama Luma began when the co-founders - Ata and Kevin - met at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Ata and Kevin shared the same dormitory and, in a short time, became best friends. During their junior year at UC Santa Barbara, Ata shared with Kevin a business proposal; an idea that would blossom into what is now Mama Luma.
Ata wanted to bring his mother's designs to life in California and believed that by blending the natural beauty of Santa Barbara with the elegance of European tradition and Mediterranean prints, he could inspire a new wave of chic fashion into the younger generations on the West Coast. With the help of his resources in Istanbul, Turkey, he and Kevin diligently worked to bring these hand-sewn, high fashion masterpieces to California.
Ata's statistical sciences background and Kevin's passion and knowledge in the field of psychology revealed to be the perfect dynamic for bringing this initiative to life. Ata and Kevin believed that the creation of Mama Luma truly depended on establishing the brand primarily in Santa Barbara with a heavy reliance on building a healthy community around the the brand's core beliefs. They spent over a year working on web development and focusing on the brand's main theme. Their ultimate goal was to design and manufacture the clothes of the modern age to help bring a cultivated style to the younger generations. After 4 years of university struggles and adventures, the company was formed.
After the institutional and inventory preparations, Ata and Kevin began to research the market and develop strategies to help bring this business to life. They knew the quality and style of their clothing was extraordinary and that, with hard work, Mama Luma dresses would be the outfits of every young lady's dreams. After sleepless nights they came to the consensus that they needed to hear more clearly the needs of the customers and buyers. So, they set out, with a small leather bag full of dresses and skirts, to all the local boutique shops, one-by-one. Within the first couple of stores they entered, a small boutique named Legacy Montecito placed the first wholesale order.
Following this, Mama Luma made it's Santa Barbara debut at the Paseo Nuevo's 2017 Fall Runway Show. The event and the following pop-up resulted in great success. Many prominent members of the community, as well as those traveling around (and in some cases abroad) were astounded by the uniqueness of the brand. As a result of the show, Mama Luma got onto the radar of Santa Barbara's oldest newspaper, NewsPress, and were publicized for the first time.
As 2018 was coming to an end, the infamous Thomas Fire in California flared up and Ata and Kevin had to evacuate to Kevin's hometown, San Jose. Ata saw this as an opportunity and visited boutiques in the San Jose area with Kevin's older brother, Joe. They walked into Kids Atelier, one of the largest children's boutique chains in the United States. By sheer serendipity, the owners of the chain just happened to be at this specific store at that time, which lent itself for an opportunity for partnership as well as an incredibly insightful conversation. As a result, Kids Atelier started carrying Mama Luma products in their stores. This was more than a business deal though, Mama Luma would now be ranked next to the leading brands in the industry and marketed in 5 different states (San Jose,Beverly Hills, Santa Monica | CA, Houston | TX, Honolulu | HI, Central Park | NY and Sunrise | FL). Following this major feat, Mama Luma attracted the attention of the Impact Magazine, which focuses on successful entrepreneurs of Santa Barbara and featured the co-founders in the 3rd issue of the magazine.
With the team expanding and local partnerships forming (AXXESS, Impact Hub, etc.), as well as an increase in demand for the products online, Ata and Kevin were ready for a new venture. Exactly 365 days after the co-founder's UC Santa Barbara graduation, Mama Luma opened its flagship store in the heart of Santa Barbara at the Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center & Restaurants. The store picked up a lot of attention and the mayor, Cathy Murillo, who cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony. The opening was followed by Noozhawk, SB Independent, Montecito Journal, Santa Barbara Voice, Santa Barbara Seasons, Downtown Santa Barbara articles and KEYT Channel 3 live. With good success from the store, the brand was able to reserve a spot at their first ever exposé, UBM Children's Club Fashion Exhibit at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Vegas, which proved its ranking as one of the best of high fashion in California, challenging all the children's clothing brands in the United States. As a result, the brand expanded it's reach to Happy Valley | OR and Jacksonville | FL and established international agreements with distributors in UK.
Mama Luma is one of the foster feeders of the Chilean Flamingos at the Santa Barbara Zoo and official jersey sponsors of the SOL Girls Soccer Club. Proud to be involved at the 38th Annual Auction - Oaks Parent-Child Workshop at The Carriage Museum in Santa Barbara.
Mama Luma felt the honor to be featured at a red carpet event. Faithe Herman from NBC - This Is Us wore her Mama Luma Bouquet Flower dress at the 3rd season premiere!
Note: Updated 11.05.2018