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As an Iranian-American entrepreneur, I have a special place in my heart for young Iranian-American citizens who are thriving. I believe in helping Iranian Americans who can start their own business, create art, or just try to make the world a better place. It's even more exciting when Iranian-American siblings get together to do something very special.
I founded Guin Records in 2018 with my sister Misha Kordestani. Since then we've signed a few artists and expanded our startup together. It's hard to explain, but the power of two siblings working together builds on the basic understanding we have of each other. Wouldn't it be better to start a business with someone you've known all your life than with a brand new investor or business partner?
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Culture also plays a major role in the operation of our label. Iranian culture is very family oriented, so it's not surprising that there are dozens of Iranian-American siblings who also happen to be successful entrepreneurs.
In this article, I'd like to take a closer look at the Iranian-American sibling entrepreneurs who are making waves in their respective industries.
Celine and Joline Nehoray
According to their website, Beverly Hills Lingerie is a company “made by women for women”. Iranian-American sisters Celine and Joline Nehoray founded Beverly Hills Lingerie in 2018 with a vision to build on the trend of lingerie as streetwear that began in the 1980s and has resurfaced in recent years. In addition to their appreciation for past trends, the Nehoray sisters also believe in high-quality products. They all design their lingerie in the French tradition of expert craftsmanship and style.
As Celine and Joline Nehoray continue to grow their brand, they also strive to focus on sustainable business practices. Their lingerie pieces are made in limited quantities to reduce waste and ensure that each customer receives limited edition clothing. Most importantly, each piece is handcrafted in Los Angeles.
Paul and David Merage
If you've ever enjoyed a Hot Pocket, you have Paul and David Merage to thank for it. These Iranian-American brothers were born in Tehran but immigrated to California to attend college. While at school, the brothers came up with the idea of a food company that focuses on American-style snacks. Soon after, the duo founded Chef America.
Chef America's flagship was the Hot Pocket, which turned out to be hugely popular. Like an American version of an empanada, the Hot Pocket combines various fillers with a crispy, crusty exterior. Americans loved not only the taste, but also the convenience, as hot bags can be heated in the microwave and eaten on the go. Due to the company's success in the 1990s, the Merage brothers sold their business to Nestle in 2002 for around $ 2.6 billion.
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Ali and Hadi Partovi
While not the youngest duo on this list, the Iranian-American siblings Ali & Hadi Partovi might be the most famous, especially in the tech world. The identical twin sons of a renowned Iranian physics professor, Ali and Hadi Partovi grew up with a thirst for education and a strong entrepreneurial spirit. The two became known as angel investors for a variety of tech startups in Silicon Valley.
However, your talents are not limited to just smart investments. The two have worked on several projects over the years, most notably as co-founders of Code.org. This is how Ali and Hadi describe their flagship startup:
“Code.org is a non-profit organization that aims to expand access to computer science in schools and to increase the participation of young women and students from other underrepresented groups. Our vision is that every student in every school has the opportunity to learn computer science as part of their K-12 basic education. "
Emad and Adel Tousi
It's hard to find a family business that dates back to Tousi Rugs. The high-end carpet dealer has been trading Persian carpets since the late 19th century. Over the years the company has been passed down through the generations of the family. Today, Tousi Rugs is owned and operated by the fifth generation of entrepreneurs, Emad and Adel Tousi.
While these carpet sellers haven't found Tousi Rugs, the brothers are certainly trying to reinvent their family business. The Tousi brothers are now marketing their products to both designers and consumers and have expanded their business to a larger market segment. In addition, the Tousi brothers combine modern designs and colors with the more traditional Persian carpet patterns of past centuries.
Bahareh and Farzaneh Safarani
While the Safarani sisters may not fit the standard image of entrepreneurs, they definitely have an impact on the artistic world. These Iranian-American siblings currently live in Massachusetts, although their art has been shown in exhibitions around the world. If you look at their website you will find that the Safarani sisters are both innovative and extremely talented. Her works include traditional drawings, performance art, and even "video images".
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Although the Safarani sisters are successful entrepreneurs, they mainly identify as artists. Her art has been recognized for her focus on her sense of dual identity, the relationship between siblings, as well as her Iranian heritage. Even in the time of coronavirus, Bahareh and Farzaneh Safarani continue to share their live art performances with the world – albeit from a distance.
The lasting strength of the family
The bond between siblings is suitable for entrepreneurial success. Additionally, the family-oriented nature of Iranian culture has enabled many Iranian-American siblings to thrive in a variety of fields – from engineering to performance art. Needless to say, I am fortunate enough to be an Iranian-American and have a sister with whom to share my passion for music, business, and giving back to my community. I look forward to seeing even more Iranian-American siblings and entrepreneurs succeed in the future.