Here at Prima Dona Studios, we believe fashion is art and our tailors should be paid like the artists they are. Our pieces are individually and ethically hand-crafted for YOU in Seattle, Detroit, Los Angeles, Lagos, and Johannesburg by the people you see below.
Dona Sarkar - Founder/Chief Creative Officer
Dona believes that no matter how wild your dream might sound…you absolutely must #DoTheThing because the greatest regrets we have are the things we did NOT do. She's a picky-as-hell software engineering director at Microsoft, a published author, a keynote speaker and a fashion designer. Dona's inspired by her grandmother, who earned a living tailoring custom clothing for the women in her community for over 60 years in a time when being a woman entrepreneur was super-rare. As a side-hustle, Dona attended New York Fashion Academy and was horrified to learn that fashion is the second biggest cause of pollution on earth thanks to the throwaway nature of fast fashion. She's determined to bring back luxury "slow fashion" that’s tailor-made for YOU. She wants your Prima Dona piece to be something you'll treasure your whole life.
Jeremiah Marble - Founder/Chief Operations Officer
Jeremiah believes that everyone on earth who wants to, can learn technical skills to improve their lives and communities. He has worked as the Director of Business Strategy for the Airband Initiative at Microsoft, working to empower billions more people to access the internet affordably. He is running operations for Prima Dona so he can better understand how to bring efficiency to traditional industries like fashion, especially when working with a global team. He has over a decade of experience in emerging markets and startups--ranging from working at the UN in Paris, studying climate change in Costa Rica, running operations for a social enterprise in Cambodia and Laos and serving in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. In his "off" time, Jeremiah advises early-stage startups on their strategy, tech, and operations, while writing about his experiences. He's inspired to build a business that his true boss, his toddler daughter (and boss), Luciana, will one day be proud to be a part of.
Rahela - Artisan, Seattle
A year ago, Rahela and her husband Shir lived in Afghanistan where Shir was a carpenter who helped build US military bases. As the US military prepared to leave Afghanistan, they realized they had to take Shir and his family with them so they wouldn’t become victims of the Taliban. The family was dropped into Washington State with almost nothing, and only Shir speaking the language. Today, Rahela, Shir and their 4 children live in south Seattle. Shir works many, many hours at the Safeway distribution center. Because of all of you who order our pieces, Rahela is a breadwinner for her family. For the first time, Rahela has her own bank account and is able to contribute to the family's rent. When we go to visit her on Sundays, she asks her daughters to come and watch two women doing financial transactions.
Spogmai - Artisan, Seattle
Spogmai and her husband Sam had to flee Afghanistan last year when the Taliban took control. Since her husband was a translator for the US military, their lives were in severe danger and they left without money or possessions. Spogmai has been sewing for 15 years and used to run a tailoring school in Kabul. We’ve hired her to join our team in Seattle where she will do our custom orders and help the next generation of tailors learn this important craft. This is how she will earn a living and rebuild her life. Welcome Spogmai!
Atika - Artisan, Seattle
Atika is originally from Afghanistan where her husband Hashim was a translator for the US military. When the troops were leaving, they brought Atika and her family, with 3 kids back to Seattle so nothing could harm them. We discovered Atika has beautiful sewing skills and have hired her to join our team to both sew and teach others. She opened her first bank account and now uses her income to pay rent and for her kids’ well-being.
Sohaila - Artisan, Seattle
Sohaila has been sewing for 3 years and originally had learned from her mother. She is assisted by her 12 year old daughter who also acts as translator. Sohaila uses her tailoring income to send money to her family in Afghanistan (Taliban has frozen all bank accounts for Afghani citizens) and for pay for her 4 children's education and livelihood.
Adja - Artisan, Johannesburg
We met Adja on Fox Street in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2019. She was born in Cameroon and has been partnering with her Senegalese-born husband Theirno to design clothes since 2010. Both chose careers in fashion to make the clothing they love. They self-taught themselves sewing in order to bring those designs to life for people to wear IRL. Adja - Artisan, Johannesburg With their work they support several family members including their beautiful newborn (pictured here). When they're not designing and making incredible clothes for customers all around the world, they love spending time as a family. You'll find them out on hikes and they've just begun to farm their land. They're taking lessons on various types of crops - everyday fruits & veggies. For our money, they have the best tomatoes in town.:)
Edelmira - Artisan, Los Angeles
Edelmira has been a family friend for over 40 years! She was born in the little town of Tamazula, Jalisco, in Mexico (then later moved to Guadalajara). She learned to cut and sew at the age of 11 at night school. At first,she didn't want to go,but her mom insisted. Before one week had passed she had fallen in love with the craft. The first dress Edelmira ever made was for her grandmother. Her abuela LOVED it and wore it everywhere.
Since then, she's made literally thousands of spectacular garments - including dresses for Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez,and a beautiful two-piece fuchsia gown for Michelle Obama when she was the First Lady. In her spare time Edelmira loves walking with her dog Frida and watching movies with her family.
Bolaji - Operations Manager, Lagos
Bolaji believes there is no substitute for high-quality, hard work and relentless optimism to make a living as a true artisan. She's a single mom to a sassy and inquisitive ten-year-old girl named Esther. Bolaji taught herself couture tailoring when she realized that no matter what, people will always need well-made clothing for the most important days of their lives. She currently supports herself, her daughter and her parents with her artisan tailoring skills, taking on only the most picky of customers (like us!). On top of having the uncanny ability to find the MOST unique fabric in any shop, she is a master negotiator and strikes fear into the heart of every fabric salesperson in Lagos.
Shyamal - Operations Manager, Detroit
Shyamal believes in helping companies be efficient--from day one. After over 20 years doing this for an automotive manufacturing company of over 100K people, he is currently working to repeat the magic for Prima Dona. His family's business is bespoke tailoring and he is currently exploring the magic of finding exactly the right sources of unique fabric all of the world while setting up a tailoring operations hub in Detroit.
Ioana - Advisor
Ioana believes that anyone on earth can achieve their goals through discipline, unwavering faith in oneself and a heck of a lot of hard work. On top of her day job leading an Accessibility Innovation Program at Microsoft, Ioana is the chief taskmaster at Prima Dona and helps the team stay on track to achieve their weekly and monthly goals. She's also a bespoke shoe designer, an ardent fan of leading with kindness, statement fashion and is the inspiration behind the first Prima Dona dress--the Ioana Hourglass.
Mireya - Advisor
Mireya believes in the power of unbanked populations in developing countries. She is one of the foremost experts of mobile payments in the world. She's applied her expertise through a decade of work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and later as Head of Mobile Money at the GSMA. She’s passionate about financial inclusion and tackling inequality both in the US and abroad.
Doug - Advisor
Doug believes that above all, quality is key and reputation and reliability is everything. He applies this in all aspects of his life from being an engineering director in large tech companies, to side-hustling as a Chef de Partie in the Tom Douglas organization. He brings his organization and extreme attention to detail to acting as advisor and head photographer for Prima Dona.
Dele - Advisor
Dele believes that it's now time for the next 5 billion to rise. He's one of the leading forces behind the new Africa Development Center in Microsoft, where the most innovative engineering in the company is being created out of Lagos, Nigeria and Nairobi, Kenya. Dele has over 20 years in tech and is passionate about is an avid advocate for small businesses using tech to fulfill their potential. He's trying to get bolder with his fashion choices and hopes to someday be as artistic as his kids.