We had the good fortune of connecting with Farah Walahi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Farah, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Flowers and Resistance grew from my desire to service others while making a social impact. My business grew from the simple idea to emphasize the importance of giving. I found beauty in the selflessness and hospitality woven into Afghan culture. More so, I wanted to find a way to ground people through nature as I had learned to do. I was always surrounded by greenery and my parents had a mindset similar to many displaced people – to urge us to see how much we were given in comparison to others. The thought process behind my business was also influenced by poets such as Rumi and Mahmoud Darwish, which served as pioneers of universal love to me. They brought me to my practice of meditation, finding myself laying under trees and foraging for fresh flowers. I saw these simple joys as a universal form of optimism and frequently wanted to bring the outside world in. Nature has the power to slow us down and make us feel safe, igniting our parasympathetic nervous system. In this way, we combat disease and depression stepping out of the matrix. It shuts down our fight or flight system which feeds into the fear we are presented with endlessly. Through painting, writing, floristry, and set design, I found connection between my two worlds of Afghan and American. The one thing that gave me courage to go for it was the privilege I knew I had to follow my passions. My soul is one that is anchored by creativity. I wanted to remind the general public that Afghans, who die at alarming rates, are not only collateral damage but humans with dreams and aspirations like mine. They find freedom in the same beauties we do here in the Western world.
I also wanted to make luxury design available to the public and pass on a message that beauty is in the mind that contemplates it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am most excited about doing set design! I want to work in movies and bring a different lens of design to Hollywood. Design and floristry are mediums of my current artistic expression. My work is not easy and involves heavy lifting, doing your own accounting, staying creative, early days from 4 am, and disciplined time management. My knack for artistry comes effortlessly but grinding until I got to a place of returning clientele was not. It took vision and an inner knowing of the worth of my work. I have been told my designs have a gracefulness about them which I can only credit to being in a state of flow. What sets me apart is creating from a place of connection to my ancestors through the meditative process of producing authentic work. As diaspora, we take on different identities and form our own intuitive expressions of all the cultures we are immersed in. It was vital for my ancestors to rely on nature for survival and spiritual well being. I believe these traits are passed onto us. Any challenge can be overcome by knowing whats meant for me will be for me. After all, things of quality have no fear of timing. I want the world to know that my brand echoes flowers and resistance which resides from a culture that is over 50,000 years old. My story is one of returning to oneself. The art forms that move us are not by accident, my story is about the magic in realizing that.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Going to Malibu is a must! If you go early enough, you can see the dolphins peeking out of the water. It is such a beautiful way to start the day. I love a picnic on the beach or a good hike. Moonshadows is a restaurant on the Pacific Coast to enjoy fresh seafood and a refreshment with a view of the ocean. Some of my favorite mornings have been spent in the Calabasas farmers market on Saturdays for the best berries and pickled turnips. Pedalers Fork is close by and makes for a delicious breakfast. It also happens to be combined with a yoga studio! The Melrose thrift shops and Trading Post are gold mines from art to apparel. I would also love to take them to Burbank for a comedy show. Burbank is also home to Porto’s which I am obsessed with! The Cuban stuffed potato balls and sandwiches are made to perfection. The Lake Shrine Meditation Gardens are open to the public and a relaxing place to visit as well. The Griffith Observatory and park are must see treasures. You can take a hike that leads you to the Hollywood sign or go horse back riding. I would have to take them to the drive in movie theatre in Culver City to end a cozy night!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am community made and give all praise to the people who supported me from family to friends! Having parents that were in a constant state of prayer and gratitude influenced me greatly. It made me realize that materialism and constant consumption would not make me happy. Instead, I turned to the knowing that everything truly came from within. My father started a nonprofit called “Hand To Hand Sadaqah Group,” donating 100% of proceeds to displaced people in Afghanistan. His teachings of humility and selflessness led to the art I make today. I was encouraged by my sister, who has the polar opposite personality as me, to always be myself and live a life full of color. I am so heavily impacted by the plethora of authors I dove into as a young adulthood. This included Anais Nin, Rumi, Khalil Gibran, Walt Whitman, and Mahmoud Darwish to name a few. I give credit to all the incredible Afghan, Armenian, and Iranian artists who have the courage to be themselves. I want to dedicate my shoutout to anyone who immerses themselves in their own authenticity! You hold so much power.