We had the good fortune of connecting with Sheba Khodadad and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sheba, we’d love to hear what makes you happy.

I’m happiest when I’m in a state of flow, which is when I am fully present and absorbed in whatever I’m doing. It’s when I am mentally and spiritually stimulated and accomplishing the goal that I am immersed in with no anxiety or uncertainty. I guess you can simply define it as being “in the zone” because you meet the challenges in front of you, apply yourself fully and then look back and realize that time flew by. It’s a liberating and joyful experience for me to hit that certain rhythm and it sort of feels like nothing else matters.

I loved an illustration of that in the movie “Happy” (based on the book Flow) where the director shows a line cook in flow — expertly going through the motions of flipping burgers almost as if dancing — and explains that this is happiness. This is the optimal experience to achieve, in my opinion, no matter what you’re actually doing. When you’re in flow, you feel productive, fulfilled, and focused — in short, happy.

What should our readers know about your business?

My small business is Blue Parakeet Rugs through which I collect rare antique rugs from centuries past, bring them to Los Angeles, and then share them with the world. I grew up in a large family with strong ties to the rug and antiques world, and I was exposed to that from a young age. In the summer of 2016, I started to take an active role to learn and work within this rich culture that was all around me. My uncle Joseph, who was a world-class rug expert, essentially gifted me with his wealth of knowledge and eye for antique rugs. He set me on a path I never thought I would walk, and a great deal of my success is due to him.

The mentorship I received was surreal as I dove into the deep and vast world of mystical, antique rugs. Time with my uncle Joseph was cut short though, as he unexpectedly passed away just a few months after I took my first steps with him in this trade. We’re all still devastated from losing this great pillar in our family, but I feel he still travels with me and weaves the magical journey I am on.

Fortunately for me, my uncle Max (Joseph’s older brother) stepped in to guide me as he saw that I had leaned in and started Blue Parakeet Rugs in 2017. He too is a rug expert with great mastery and technical expertise, and he helped me develop the skills to fetch and identify what he calls “lost treasures”, and I live to scour the world for them. These old rugs are one-of-a-kind heirloom pieces that were woven with beautiful artistry and long-gone, noteworthy textile making practices. There is so much meaning in every inch of these rugs that took months or years to weave, and they hold immense love and symbolism. True antique rugs are imbued with the spirits of the women artisans who created them and should be cherished. It’s a fact that they are among the most labor-intensive handmade items in the world.

Blue Parakeet Rugs has its own niche in the rug business. I cherry pick every piece and make them approachable, so that everyone, whether you’re an insider or just looking for something beautiful for your home, can see and buy the very best treasures of the Old World. I’m able to do this at scale because I source, examine, clean (and if necessary, restore), and sell every rug. That requires “having the eye” for antique rugs as well as having deep knowledge of the rug trade, which takes years of learning and practice to develop. My success did not come easily, and I continue to meet challenges and obstacles, but the process gives me a lot of joy. I’m so proud to have a business that is boutique yet has such a large audience and deep personal engagement with clients.

I love to educate people young and old about the remarkable artistry of old-world rugs and the astonishing amount of labor that went into each one. Instagram has been a great platform for me to do that and to share my personal and professional journeys with my clients and with rug lovers the world over.

One big lesson I’ve learned along the way is not to worry too much about tomorrow’s task list. Trying to control things too tightly causes its own problems. I do what needs to be done and set goals for the week ahead, but realistically, my hands are full every day, and it’s ok to meet deadlines as they come instead of running myself down to beat them. I also think competition is a healthy thing. I’m in a very competitive market, and it pushes me to be constantly improving and growing.

The number one thing I would want to tell the world about my brand is it comes from my heart, from my personal journey, my family, and my culture. It’s that love that made me want to share these gifts with the world because I want every home to be filled with the love, beauty, and treasures that I grew up with. Just like every person, every rug I collect and sell has a soul and a story to share.

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.

I’m fortunate to be able to say that one of my favorite spots in the city is my parents’ house. It’s also the best Persian kitchen in all of Los Angeles. The aromas of richly spiced Persian food coming from my mom’s kitchen always bring me joy. Persian food is rich and delicious with amazing ingredients and the cuisine is world famous for good reason.

Our food is a huge part of what connects us with our family and our culture. My mom makes it all: amazing fluffy, long grain white rice laced with saffron, and the most incredible stews that have so many different tastes and recipes for the palette and dishes spiced with cardamom and turmeric. I could talk about them all day and recommend everyone to enjoy them in a Persian home or at one of the excellent Persian restaurants along Westwood Blvd.

A favorite outdoor activity is hiking at the Los Leones trail in Pacific Palisades, and I recommend it to locals and visitors alike. It’s a great trail, and it’s just a mile from the ocean. I love taking in the endless views, especially when the weather is cooler.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?

I’m blessed to have too many people to thank, from my beloved elementary school teachers to my personal and professional network today. My family is my bedrock and had the biggest influence on shaping my character and ambitions. I owe the success of Blue Parakeet Rugs firstly to my late uncle Joseph, a world-class antiques expert, without whom none of this would have been possible. Blue Parakeet Rugs is named in his honor after his favorite colorful songbirds. My uncle Max also deserves a shoutout for his incredible mentorship and the knowledge he’s shared with me about the trade.

In terms of taking Blue Parakeet Rugs to new heights, I owe a lot to a number of great designers with whom I’ve been able to build relationships and bring more attention to these treasures. One in particular is international design star Emily Henderson, whose word can launch entire brands. She met me when I was just launching this new small business, and I’m grateful she saw something special in it. Her professional generosity and pay-it-forward spirit helped me secure a much bigger platform with clients and other designers, especially on Instagram.

Website: www.blueparakeetrugs.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blueparakeetrugs/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shebakhodadad?original_referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.