Founder and CEO of Roma Boots
Samuel Bistrian grew up in the remote village of Benesti in pre-revolutionary Romania, where he experienced first hand the struggles one faces growing up in poverty in a communist ruled country. And though Bistrian and his family immigrated to the United States when he was only eight, his parents taught him and his eleven brothers and sisters to never forget their humble beginnings, to display gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon them and to always give back to those less fortunate. So for the next twenty years, giving back is exactly what Bistrian set out to do.
Throughout college, Bistrian dedicated much of his free time to causes and organizations he believed in. Often traveling to poverty-stricken countries where he assisted with the building of schools and orphanages, Bistrian spent his summer breaks serving in Romania or offering assistance to abandoned children in Colombia. Then in 2001, Bistrian returned to Romania for the first time since moving to America and though the country was no longer under communist rule, poverty still remained. As he witnessed street children trudging through the rain and snow with inadequate shoes or too often no shoes at all, Bistrian knew he had to help.
Upon graduating college, Bistrian took a job with Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Texas where he worked over the next decade. During this time he continued his service to those in need by sending clothes, shoes and clothing and taking annual trips back to Romania. However, it never seemed to be enough. In 2009 while working at Neiman Marcus he met Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes. Bistrian was very inspired by his story and in 2010 decided to take the experience and knowledge he gained working in retail fashion and merge it with the humanitarian efforts he held so close to his heart to create a charity based company that could give back on a grander scale – and with the help of friends and family, Roma Boots was finally born.
Bistrian operates Roma Boots out of Dallas, TX where he resides with his wife Alejandra and their two daughters Ilona and Emma.