Stepping off gritty Boyle Street in East Los Angeles and into the white-washed interior, you immediately realize you have not entered the workplace of your typical textile print converter. Crystal chandeliers in iron birdcages light up the pale linen upholstered chairs, antique tables, and natural wood plank floors. Lovely floral pieces abound. "Welcome to our home"; says the doyenne descending the stairs in a layered millefiori blouse. A home we call, Colorway.
Nasrin Atashkari, president and CEO of Colorway, Inc., has garnered a devoted following of clientele that appreciates her impeccable taste and inventive aesthetic, not to mention her insistence on first-class service. "Twenty-four seven, you see a light on - someone is always watching". That is the service we cater to - high-end contemporary designers fashioning apparel that are inspired by her textiles and are merchandised at Neiman- Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's, Anthropologie, and other premium retailers.
Nasrin quietly built her business largely through referrals. Born in Iran, with very little resources for her love of clothing and fabrics, she would dress up her dolls using dish cloths. Her circuitous road to success started at the age of 19 where she pursued her education in Interior Design in England. In between studies, married life, running restaurants and a holiday trip to Iran, the 1981 Iranian hostage crisis was the very turning point that fueled the start of Colorway, Inc. in 1998, after decade of textile experience.
From the humble beginnings in La Jolla, California, with a bank loan of $900 to purchase a sewing machine, Nasrin offered her services to a local dry cleaner to do alterations. Moving to Los Angeles, she worked for Giorgio's in Beverly Hills, fitting celebrities, beading by hand. After a stint in retail, managing stores for Max Azria and Daniel Hechter, she began pursuing her true passion - fabric production - where she "learned and learned" and still learning. "One would never graduate the school of textile creation", she says.