YEDIDIA HAIM DJAVAHERI
downtown Los Angeles
When did you arrive in the United States and why did you come?
I arrived in Los Angeles for a better way of life, opportunity and education for my family– especially my two daughters and son.
Did you intend to return to your native country at the time?
No, I came to the United States with no thought of returning to my native country because of the events surrounding the revolution in Iran. I did not feel safe and comfortable to move myself, children and wife back.
Do you now?
No, I am an American now and have assimilated into my society. My children have finished their studies and are in the midst of their careers. I am now 81 years old and we have a stable life in the states.
What’s the worst thing about starting and running a business in the United States?
At first, it was difficult for me to brand our company as a mainstream brand and understand the American customer. That was until my son, who attended USC, began working with us. We were able to emerge as a leader in fashion, trend and design in our industry.
What’s the best thing?
The best thing about working in the U.S.A. is people expect honesty and integrity from one another. In our native country, Iran, there was and still is a lot of corruption in business. Bribing the government for contracts or dishonest and unethical behavior in business is very frequent. Therefore, I am comfortable to be living and working among people who expect honesty from one another. It makes business much more rewarding.
What were the biggest surprises?
The American population is increasing day by day. Every day immigrants from all parts of the world are coming here for opportunity, which creates more opportunities to woo customers. Also, the U.S.A. was and always will be a focal point in trend and design. Our company has become global, thanks to the United States.
Would you tell someone from your native land to start a business there or here?
Here, without question. You will have fewer headaches doing so.
What advice would you give someone from there about starting a business here?
Never give up quality and service for an extra dollar. Stay consistent and the reward will be much higher at the end of the road.
Do you go back often?
I have not been back since.
What was your view of the United States growing up?
I was 15 years old and I knew I would want to come here. I applied in 1949 and was not given a visa. I was fascinated with American airplane companies and wanted to become a pilot in the states. I was also fascinated with Hollywood films – especially films with actors such as Clark Gable and John Wayne.
Did reality match yourexpectations?
All expectations were matched and even more because I never expected this country to be filled with so much opportunity.
Any funny stories about being an immigrant entrepreneur?
Since I lived in Germany and Iran, I mix my English with many Farsi and German words. I am always misunderstood in my speech and people find it quite amusing.