Style File: Sammar Accessories’ Adina Schiffman
By Liz Petoniak
At the next charity gala, golf outing, or corporate networking event, take a closer look at the silent auction items. Chances are, Adina Schiffman, founder of Sammar Accessories, carefully curated one or more of the items that caught your eye. For our interview, Schiffman graciously welcomed us into her Upper St. Clair home, which mirrors her personal style in every way — classic and smart, with a unique flair. Schiffman passionately shared her story of launching and growing her business, starting with providing high-end women’s fashion accessories from brands like Jimmy Choo, Gucci, and Tory Burch through a hosted house party concept. Sammar, a combination of the names Sam and Marlo, Schiffman’s two children, rapidly evolved in a new direction when she began receiving recommendations to participate in charity fundraising functions. From the minute her team set up for the first silent auction, Schiffman knew this was where she wanted to focus her passion — helping philanthropic organizations raise the most possible amount for their causes. This year, the company will mark participation in more than 700 different functions since its inception more than 10 years ago. Though high-end accessories remain a staple (Our editor in chief vividly recalls falling for a Missoni umbrella!), Sammar also offers sports memorabilia and experience packages, like stays in the Cayman Islands, custom-tailored suits, Pittsburgh Pirates game suites with exclusive perks, and special dining packages. And, of course, style and the execution of details are major contributors to her success. “The way in which we present ourselves must also be tailored to each function,” Schiffman says. “What you are wearing and how you carry yourself immediately says a lot about you to those with whom you encounter. Our appearance, confidence, and energy are beacons of taste, knowledge of the merchandise, overall professionalism, and enthusiasm.”
How would you describe your personal style?
ADINA SCHIFFMAN: My personal style has staying power. I don’t have time to be shopping regularly for trends, so I just try to make sure that whatever I choose, I choose something that will be valid for a long time.
What inspires your fashion sense?
AS: I look at the quality of the workmanship, the creativity of the style, and if the designer was able to take both of those attributes and make it into a piece that makes women look beautiful.
Who are your favorite designers and where are your favorite places to shop?
AS: Etro, Piazza Sempione, Lela Rose. And of course, shoes. You have to mention shoes! Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo. When I get a Saturday afternoon off, my family and I like to do little outings. We’ll go for lunch in Shadyside or Sewickley, and then we’ll hit all of the independent boutiques there.
Who are your style icons?
AS: I don’t have a particular person per se, but I respect people who understand how to make certain fabrics or designs work to flatter their figure, where they understand how to dress themselves, age-wise. And, they understand the importance of tailoring. A lot of times you see people wearing a beautiful dress or suit, and it doesn’t fit right. You’re better off getting a larger size and getting it fitted perfectly to your body, because that is the most slimming thing.
What are your wardrobe essentials?
AS: A black dress that has stretch but not sheen because you can wear it for any event and not feel foolish, like you’re not dressed up or down enough. In fact, I tell my staff when I’m not sure how dressy the crowds are going to be to get that! And, stretchy is important because we’re physically moving around and bending. And, if they gain a little weight or lose a little weight, they’re not panicking and having to go out and buy something new.