“Everything started when I got my acceptance letter to UCSB,” explained Ata Sari, co-founder of Mama Luma. Originally from Istanbul, Ata remembered his mom watching soap operas set in the American Riviera for hours on end. She felt like it was a home away from home, and Ata discovered his mom was right. During his first year in college, Ata quickly settled into Santa Barbara life. He never would have imagined that his first friend he met in the dorms, Kevin Mahany, would become his business partner in a few years. The duo created Mama Luma: a high-end children’s clothing company that mixes California style with quality Istanbul products. The collection offers stylish dresses for girls ages 1-12.
Ata was inspired to build the Mama Luma brand through the admiration he has for his own mother, Mahuinur. Mahinur Sari used to take scraps of fabric from her husband’s clothing company and sew them into dresses for her daughter. Ata realized that the dresses his mom designed were similar to the fashion trends he discovered in Santa Barbara. Not only were the dresses in style, they were made with a quality that Ata thought Central California lacked. Ata was convinced that he needed to bring his mother’s self-taught seamstress talent to Santa Barbara. With the help of his friend Kevin, Ata set out to transform his mom’s creativity into a flourishing business.
Did Ata and Kevin always see themselves creating a children’s clothing company? No. Did Mama Sari think the dress designs for her daughter could be the foundation for an American-based business? No. But as Ata explains, “Life doesn’t give you a plan; you need to take the opportunities life presents and create your own plan from them.” For Mama Luma, they saw an opportunity to bring elegant style to the younger generations. Why wait until you’re a “grown-up” to be stylish?