The flyers she handed out were written in big bold words, easy to read and in a variety of colors. “SHOE STORE CLOSE OUT – EVERYTHING MUST GO.” Discounts, the fliers promised, reached 75 percent. Some people took the half-sheet flyers, others said no and kept walking.
Naz Khorram was relentless and stepped into high-end boutiques and barbershops to unload her stack of flyers. Khorram said her family had just acquired a new business, the Bonita Trading Co. at 2512 Mission St., near 22nd street. The previous owners retired and now Khorram and her family want to sell the remaining stock and open a new business at the former shoe shop.
“We’re not going to do coffee, we already have so many things to do. We’re going to pack it with plants and water features,” she said.
Khorram, 28, is originally from Iran and has lived in the Bay Area for nine years. Although she’s helping her family out, her passion is art. She works with metal and creates pieces centered around social issues, war and politics. Khorram has had firsthand experience of government oppression: when she was in her teens, she was arrested at a protest demanding the removal of former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.
“I was 18 and there was an attempted revolution at the time called the Green Movement,” she said. “I got arrested in a protest and spent time in solitary confinement for a while.”
Khorram said she began to lose herself and what saved her from going insane was the thought of being able to drink drinking at least one more glass of orange juice. That glimmer of hope helped her hold on to sanity.
Her father, however, had to put his farm as collateral to bail her out.
“That’s why he’s stuck there,” she said. “ I ran away from the country, but he gave me all he could to send me out and study and have a normal life.”
Last month, she celebrated 10 years after her release from prison with a group of other Iranian political refugees who had also been in prison. They collaborated on a metal art piece that is now hanging from The Laundry Gallery at 3359 26th St.