Mama Luma: Children’s Fashion Meets Community Networking Space
A new local children’s clothing brand, Mama Luma, founded by two UCSB graduates, Ata Sari and Kevin Mahany, will be celebrating the grand opening of its new Paseo Nuevo location this June. Focusing on higher-end girls clothing for ages 1-10, the company has a unique vision that accompanies their business goals. Previously only available to Santa Barbara residents at Legacy in Montecito, or online, the company’s new downtown location is poised to serve as part retail space, part community hub.
Mama Luna is both Santa Barbara-based and, to a certain degree, family-operated. Ata, a native of Istanbul, recruited his mother, Mahinur Sari, to design the clothing for this brand and to oversee production in Istanbul. She draws design inspiration from a refined mix of European tradition combined with a classic Central Coast look. Mahinur honed her skills through years of sewing dresses for her children using scraps from her husband’s clothing company. As to the founding duo, Ata and Kevin are both class of 2017 graduates, having met in their freshman year of college at UCSB.
Mama Luna is opening its own brick-and-mortar retail shop in Paseo Nuevo on Friday, June 15. But this isn’t going to be your average retail space. Thanks to the business savvy of its youthful founders, Mama Luna will offer some of the more forward-thinking aspects trending in new-wave retail spaces. As brick-and-mortar spaces continue to take heavy hits, business leaders have realized that brick and mortar must be reimagined. With the advent of online shopping, owners have to create a novel and enticing way to bring customers into the store, as the entrepreneurs compete for the attention of shoppers who could easily open their laptops and order from the comfort of their couches.
Retail spaces of the future will be as much about selling products as they are about creating an experience and a meeting place for the community. And that doesn’t mean offering snacks and champagne while shoppers browse – those are gimmicks of yesteryear.
Mama Luma has decided to think about ways to reinvent the purpose of brick and mortar altogether. Their plan is to split the store into two: one-half for regular store operations, where all of their products and checkout counter will be, and one-half as an office and communal space. It is in this communal space that they will offer a place for kids to occupy themselves while parents shop, but it doubles as a space for different events and activities to take place as well.
Examples of some of the activities that will be offered include: weekly reading hour, seminars and workshops hosted by local nonprofits that work with children, and speaking events lead by influential women in the community who work to empower young girls. Ultimately, they want the store to be a destination. “Brick-and-mortar shopping has deteriorated, and it’s time for stores to evolve and offer something more to their customers than just products (which are easily obtainable online). We want to lead the way with this new wave of shopping here in Santa Barbara,” say the founders of the brand.
In the short time they’ve been operating, they have established their online boutique (mamaluma.com) and also partnered with large boutiques around the country. Mama Luma is also partnering up with Kids Atelier, one of the largest children’s boutiques in the U.S. Ata and Kevin assert they are looking for ways to get involved in the community and want to partner with aligned nonprofits, schools, and after-school programs to support what Santa Barbara can offer to the younger generations.
Found locally at Legacy in Montecito