At Home with Michael Silverman of Samantha Brands Group
For our series Closet Confidential, we interview interesting and uber-cool people in their homes wearing outfits from their closet. Culture & Style Editor ANNIE BLOJ interviews Michael Silverman, Managing Director of Samantha Brands Group. Michael is photographed at his home in Cherry Creek.
PHOTOGRAPHED BY ESTHER LEE LEACH
Annie Bloj: Michael you grew up in Southern California before moving here to study Law at the University of Denver. What did you like about SoCal, and what drew you to Denver?
Michael Silverman: I grew up mostly in Carmel, California and then moved to Los Angeles to attend USC. I love LA and the weather and still go back often. I grew up skiing in Colorado quite a bit and the access to the outdoors mixed with a vibrant entrepreneurial scene is really what drew me here. I love being outdoors, skiing and hiking in particular. But I also love exploring new activities, the more intense the better.
AB: After graduating from law school, you carved out a career in the independent food brands market. What drew you to this increasingly growing business?
MS: I’ve always loved the notion of building businesses, especially brands that create a special connection with the consumer. Building equity value because of the unique benefits you can offer to a consumer is such a romantic notion in my mind.
AB: Denver and Boulder seem to be hotbeds for these sorts of innovative products in this market. Why do you think that is?
MS: The Denver/Boulder area has been a hotbed for the natural foods movement and for food and dairy companies for a long time, and typically success begets success. You could list so many successful companies, but brands like Celestial Seasonings, Wild Oats, White Wave, Aurora Dairy, Leprino, and Horizon Organic really set the groundwork for the explosion in companies we’re seeing today.
AB: You branched out and started your firm, Samantha Brands, in 2015. What prompted you to start your own company and were there any surprises as you moved forward with building your company?
MS: I saw a lot of brands that had great products and passionate followings but struggled to find lasting success as businesses. On the personal side, I had recently lost my little sister, Samantha, a year prior and wanted to throw myself completely into building something with bright and motivated people. At the time, I was venture investing and wanted to marry that with a more operational approach. The surprises are too numerous to count, but that’s the nature of building young businesses with evolving supply chains and distribution channels that can be fairly inefficient.
AB: How does Samantha Brands Group identify and work with emerging brands?
MS: To date, we’ve looked at burgeoning young brands with enough retail distribution to get a statistically relevant data set about how a series of products are moving in different channels. We then think about ways that we may be able to add value. I’m really in the midst of rewriting that criteria to try to leverage our learnings from the past few years.
AB: How do you see your life with Samantha Brands in Denver expanding?
MS: I honestly don’t know at the moment, the more I think I know the direction life might head, it surprises me. I’m really enjoying the journey I’m on at the moment and try to focus on constantly finding opportunities to learn and grow. I think there are some significant changes coming to the marketplace.
AB: Since this is a fashion publication and you are featured in Closet Confidential, how do you see clothing contributing to your life?
MS: I’ve always been a big fan of clothes, style, and design. It’s an ever-evolving method of self-expression.
AB: Where do you like to shop to build your wardrobe?
MS: I like to shop in a number of different places. I’m definitely a big fan of athleisure brands like Lululemon, Outdoor Voices, and Vuori. I like mixing in a number of different sources though - Nordstrom, Andrisen Morton, Suitsupply, or other men’s clothing boutiques I come across. I pay attention to trends, but typically have a strong sense of what I’m going to like and not like, regardless of what’s in fashion.
AB: Michael, your story is so interesting and it’s amazing to hear about the business you are building as well as your backstory. I can’t wait to see what you build through Samantha Brands as well as what you accomplish in your adventures!