We had the good fortune of connecting with Afrid Ghoffrani and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Afrid, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My name is Afrid Ghoffrani, and I’m the self-made world-traveling woman behind Zig Zag Asian Collection. I’m bi-cultural, German/Iranian, and I come from a family of strong merchants, so you could say that this style of business is in my blood. The truth about my thought-process is that there wasn’t one! It was a no-brainer. I knew I wanted to travel the world, and I knew I had to somehow make a living doing it. I’ve always known that I wanted to take my life into my own hands, and be the decider of my own destiny. I started bringing unique, handmade treasures back home. I sold them at street fairs, festivals and small markets. In 1992, I gave birth to my daughter, Roxane, who was thrust into a life of globe-trotting splendor. She’s 28 now, and runs the business alongside me. As my business relationships overseas blossomed, I wanted to work in tandem with these artisans to ensure that their craftsmanship could be appreciated abroad, and that they would be fairly represented. I wanted to bring my love for fashion, color, and textile to a more realized vision. My business evolved into a fashion line that produces two seasonal collections per year; working with many of those same artisans I met over 20 years ago. I’m continually grateful for the opportunity to blend these cultures; to create a bubble of prosperity that can withstand the uncertainty of this last year. There have been a great number of obstacles, but we’re honored to serve as a conduit for the unique handmade items that exemplify the magic of Nepal & Thailand.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I think what sets us apart from other fair trade clothing companies, is that we are an incredibly small team of only three women. It doesn’t get more direct than that! By intentionally keeping things small, we can allow for better quality in our products, and a higher profit for our vendors abroad. By choosing our products, you directly support someone’s livelihood. We’re based out of Santa Cruz, CA… A place known for it’s dreamy connection to nature, and it’s eclectic, open-minded people. We’re an incredibly tenacious team, and this year we’re mostly proud of weathering incredible circumstances like Covid, wildfires, and adapting our business to be entirely online.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Here in Santa Cruz it is imperative that you immerse yourself in the magical old growth redwoods. Henry Cowell state park is right down the street from our office here in Felton. If you find yourself there, you should pay a visit to the local experts at The Bigfoot Museum, right across the street. Make sure you don’t leave Santa Cruz without a Mystery Spot bumper sticker! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My daughter Roxane! Not only has she elevated the business to new heights, but she is my #1 consultant when it comes to designing and producing our clothing. This shoutout is dedicated to all the supportive daughters of the world!
Photography from the Zig Zag archives and Dennis Sosa