Hello and Welcome!

Thank you for visiting the Bazargan launchpad. This is an interim website created to help move our latest publishing initiative through a phased introduction and start-up. Here you’ll learn about the vision and people behind a unique and long-overdue business forum. Bazargan will address, at its core, largely unfulfilled needs among Iranians living abroad: positive recognition, greater solidarity and useful institutions. What’s more, the independent journal and its ancillaries will function as high-impact marketing platforms. These primary objectives will be achieved by engaging the proven leaders of one of the world’s most educated and affluent societies.

Companies created by Iranian expats employ thousands from local labor pools around the world.

Before we go into production, you’ll be invited to share ideas on Bazargan‘s design, content and distribution channels. The blog will also serve as a conduit for receiving your company news, articles, opinion pieces and related material. Further, you’ll be able to subscribe, request advertising quotes, refer your associates and assist us in many other ways. Together, we’ll ensure our community’s voice will reach all the right places.

To be part of this creative journey and among the first to benefit from the collective effort, be sure to leave us your contact details. We’ll keep you posted and forward the premier edition of Bazargan as soon as it’s published.

 

Meet the Founder

 

Azin (Oz) Hatefi

Born into a family of military and civil servants in Iran, educated there through high school and then at universities in the United States, Azin comes from an academic background in aeronautics and business administration. His early professional experience spans aviation asset management, commercial aircraft manufacturing and marketing. For the past 20 years, Azin has pursued a trade publishing and event-production career. He’s also active in the real estate business while supporting community cultural affairs and charities.

Azin and his team’s newest publishing undertaking is to launch Bazargan as the centerpiece of an integrated media organization. The magazine will cater to a highly accomplished but woefully unsung, under-served global market: Iranian Expatriates. He will act as the Chief Editor and Publisher (and wear other hats, too) until the journal is firmly established and ready for hand-over to the next helmsman, or woman.

Azin is aided in this challenging project by a growing international network of specialists, family members and lifelong friends.

Major Goals Met: A Year-End Update

It’s amazing how fast time can go by, especially when you’re moving rapidly yourself. We bring 2013 to a successful close with a flurry of productive activities since my last blog post.

First off, in order to deepen our connections to the Iranian expat community, we took advantage of a nearly year-long Cyrus Cylinder tour of major U.S. museums to reinvigorate our sister company, Pars Art Galleries (PAG). Following a brisk marketing campaign aimed at high-traffic museum shops, PAG cultural jewelry and executive gifts were acquired by five major world institutions, starting with the British Museum, which is home to the original Cylinder. The one-of-a-kind gift items supplied by PAG are accompanied by customized information cards and branded presentation boxes that make them even more appealing. It’s worth mentioning that beyond the museums, most PAG customers happen to be established expat business owners and top-ranking professionals, a synergistic aspect of the company’s alignment with Bazargan.

The next important development came in the form of our move into a commercial office space in late August. This well-appointed facility in the Carlsbad Research Center allowed our core team members to collaborate more productively toward the completion of some critical projects. The Bazargan Launch Media Plan, which was published right before Thanksgiving, and then, as of last week, the entire project’s formal Business Plan. These landmark documents are now being forwarded to targeted advertising and partnership prospects.

We also introduced a robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software in the fall to modernize our database infrastructure. Basic training has been completed on the system and a new in-house support staffer, backed by a contract data-entry service, is now populating the CRM with our massive contact records.

The next big items on our to-do list are the development of a full-blown Bazargan news website and the start of an expansive e-marketing campaign prior to a Norouz (mid-March) launch.

Until our next update, let us take this opportunity to thank you for your continued interest and to wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2014.

Goodbye, Winter: A Progress Report

The past three months saw a flurry of activities on multiple fronts, keeping the Bazargan project reasonably in sync with our business plan and timeline. The biggest gains were made from more human resources and supporters joining our budding organization. In addition to new in-house staffers and several outside contractors helping with IT, database management, marketing, graphics and other tasks, we now have the visible backing of four Launch Partners from distinctly different industries, cities and cultures around the world. These expat-owned companies are BTG Global (Los Angeles, Civil Aviation); Visionlane (London, Financial Compliance & Recruiting); Newr Energy (Washington DC, Energy Consulting) and producerNY (New York, Video & Music Production). Please welcome them by visiting their websites linked through their logos appearing prominently on our home page. We’re also looking to engage partners from the ‘mainstream’ segment of the market to help propel our launch objectives.

To achieve greater traction with would-be partners and sponsors, we have made steady progress on the production of a Prototype Edition discussed in my last post. The image accompanying this writing shows Bazargan‘s physical appearance and that of its variants, which should also answer a very common question about our presentation format. Yes, folks, we’ll be available in both print and digital/online formats. These days, you just have to be present in all of these spheres or you will simply not be taken seriously.

Another area that received some attention over the winter was the creation of a dedicated website for our parent company, Phoenix Publishing, Inc. Historically, PPI’s branding and marketing efforts emphasized the individual publications or show titles that we were intimately involved with at the time. But curiosities about our lineage and background made it evident that we had to produce a ‘report card’ for the inquiring minds to reference. More content and an e-Commerce feature is being added to this site to help visitors even make purchases of our past creations.

We also managed to relaunch Bazargan‘s sister companyPars Art Galleries, and its website. Unique executive gifts and collectibles inspired by Persian civilization will soon be available through this e-Commerce site.

By the way, we now have a Twitter page and a small number of people have started to track us that way. Please sign up and “follow” us for more timely and regular updates on our activities. Mounting workloads are starting to affect my ability to blog as often as I should, but the tweets will hopefully reassure our good followers that we’re still very much at it.

Happy new year to all Iranians, our friends and lovers of spring!

Building a Prototype, Need Your Input!

As expected, all kinds of folks out there, especially those with serious interest, are asking us for a real-life example of what Bazargan will look and feel like. To satisfy their curiosity, as well as what’s customary in the publishing industry at this stage, we’ve decided to create a proof-of-concept model to give everyone a more solid sense of what it is we’re offering.

The process of building the ‘alpha’ has begun, but we would also like to solicit your thoughts and concerns to round out this fun, democratic undertaking.

So please put on your thinking caps and let us know what sort of material you would like to see covered by this new business journal. Other than actionable business news, company profiles, in-depth interviews with notable personalities and interesting feature stories, what departments and sections should we regularly include in Bazargan?

How much should we emphasize happenings in the US versus other parts of the world? Perhaps you’d like to counsel us on what topics to stay away from or treat gingerly. How should we navigate those editorial minefields that have wrecked so many media outlets in the community, and so forth?

Here it is then, an opportunity to help shape Bazargan‘s editorial structure and strategy before, as they say, we ‘pour the cement.’ But please don’t rush to respond, as this is a crucial matter that deserves some careful thought. Just be sure to submit your comments by January 15 directly to me at: ahatefi@bazarganmagazine.com.

As always, I look forward to reading you … and Happy Holidays!

Connecting with Iranian Jewish Groups

Billed as one of the most, if not the most, successful migrant groups in US history, Iranian-American Jews and their extended families around the world should not be overlooked by any serious business. The community has achieved substantial economic gains over the past 33 years and is now transforming itself into a less insular body with much more involvement in civic and international affairs, thanks chiefly to its new generation of Western educated offspring.

The Iranian Jewish expat population now stands at an estimated 150,000 souls and is growing steadily. It is concentrated in four key world regions: Southern California, Greater New York, London and Israel. And according to our research, a whopping 30% of the most successful Iranian expat businesses and professions are linked directly to this group.

I’m happy to report that increasingly individuals from this highly entrepreneurial population, as well as the the larger American Jewish community, are showing sincere interest in Bazargan and its potential to bring together various Iranian business concerns. We hope to bring you news of collaborative efforts with our friends in the Jewish community soon.

Bahmani to Collaborate with Launch Team

bruce Prolific blogger, community activist and business consultant Behrouz (Bruce) Bahmani has joined the Bazargan launch team as an adviser. He will provide guidance on structuring a fully integrated media organization with long-term growth strategies, and will liaise with the venture-capital community to preposition the company for potential future investments. Bruce will also contribute articles and opinion pieces for publication in the journal.

The principal of bCubed, a management consulting firm, Bruce and has worked in high-technology as well as traditional industries for large, medium and small businesses as well as start-ups since 2001. His resume boasts over 50 organizations supported in both Iranian-American and mainstream realms since 1998. His latest consulting clients include Voice of America in Washington, DC, and the Pars Equality Center in Menlo Park, California.

Bruce graduated from Utah State University in 1984 with a BS in Operations Research and a minor in Economics. He attended Iranzamin International School in Tehran before leaving Iran in 1979. Bruce is one of very few Iranian-American Eagle Scouts. He resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children.

Rise of Multicultural Marketing Bodes Well for Bazargan

It was only a matter of time and it’s now finally happening: Mainstream marketers in Western countries are increasingly turning their attention to the tremendous purchasing authority of rapidly growing minorities, both in the consumer and business arenas. And this is great news for Bazargan, the first and only business journal covering the vast commercial activities of Iranian expats.

rise of m/c marketing“Just this past May, it was widely reported that for the first time, racial and ethnic minorities now make up more than half the children born in the US,” says the New York-based Association of National Advertisers (ANA). “While this shift was expected, the official announcement was nonetheless a landmark as the multicultural market is increasingly becoming the new general market.

Today’s multicultural market is rapidly growing and evolving into a new type of customer, influencing overall culture more than ever in music, fashion, food, dance and more. Members of this market are younger, more acculturated, more tech-savvy and most importantly, have tremendous buying power that cannot be ignored. Diversity has also become a key business imperative that is driving not only the internal workforce, but also community outreach and product development,” adds ANA. The association will hold its annual conference on multicultural marketing and diversity Oct. 28-30 in Miami.

Another indicator that Bazargan is entering the fray at the right time comes in the form of a report by Robert W. Fairlie, a professor of economics at the University of California-Santa Cruz. Published in August, “Open For Business: How Immigrants Are Driving Small Business Creation In The United States” analyzes the increasing importance of foreign-born entrepreneurs on US economic growth and job creation.

“Picking up and moving to another country is brave and risky so perhaps it is not surprising that immigrants are venturing out and starting new businesses at a rate that far outpaces their share of the population,” the new study states. “From local neighborhood shops to America’s largest companies, immigrant business owners contribute more than $775 billion in revenue to our annual Gross Domestic Product and employ one out of every 10 American workers at privately-owned companies across the country.”

The report finds that immigrants are now more than twice as likely to start a business as the native-born: “They started 28% of all new US businesses in 2011, despite accounting for just 12.9% of the US population. And, over the last 15 years, immigrants have increased the rate by which they start businesses by more than 50% while the native-born have seen their business generation rate decline by 10%.”

Bazargan representatives begin a series of meetings and presentations to national-brand marketers and advertising agencies, starting Oct. 25. Please visit again for updates on our marketing campaigns.

Sarpand Tapped as Special Link to Next-Gen Groups

Honiyeh Joins BazarganA life-long resident of the greater Washington, DC area, Honiyeh Sarpand has been named special liaison to next-generation Iranian-Americans, as well as a member of Bazargan‘s editorial team in the DC metropolitan region, encompassing the District, Northern Virginia and Maryland.

Honiyeh’s primary objectives involve engaging senior-, graduate- and post-graduate-level university students studying Business, Economics, Law, International Affairs and related fields. An active member of the Persian Students Club at her university, she is well positioned to network with other clubs throughout the country. As a reporter-writer for Bazargan, she hopes to cover a broad range of topics, focusing on the careers and entrepreneurial accomplishments of young Iranian-Americans.

Prior to pursuing her Juris Doctor law degree, Honiyeh obtained a BA in Government and International Politics, conducting her honors dissertation on the “Palestinians’ Right of Return.” She minored in legal studies while concentrating on global relations. Honiyeh’s wide range of interests always included journalism. Her appreciation for writing began in grade school. To no surprise, she went on to become the editor of her high school newspaper, as well as an editor of the international law journal at her university.

Rebranding Exercise Yields New Look, Global Coverage

When the Bazargan project was initiated in 2010, it was conceived as a forum dedicated to the massive and growing Iranian-American business community. A sinuous logo sitting against a backdrop of earth-toned colors was accompanied by the tagline The Face of Iranian-American Business.

The word about the coming of the journal soon reached friends and associates living beyond the U.S. borders, sparking a barrage of objections. These expressions of displeasure with our designs had mainly to do with the unwitting exclusion of large Iranian communities residing in Canada, Europe and Southwest Asia.

Taking us global Given the evolutionary nature of our business plan, we embraced these calls for reconsideration as a perfect opportunity to show our flexibility and willingness to quickly expand our horizons when the right circumstances are present.

However, the decision to cover the whole Iranian emigre universe would essentially enlarge the size of Bazargan‘s audience by more than 30 percent. And it required new thinking on multiple fronts to properly accommodate a much more disparate reader base with a range of different needs and tastes compared to a purely ‘American’ public.

The rebranding effort that ensued resulted in not just more serious, business-like aesthetics (i.e., our new logo, theme colors, etc.), but more importantly, a worldly treatment of the subject matter. The key to properly addressing this wider, international coverage was the adoption of one essential term that now defines and distinguishes Bazargan among Iranian and multicultural media. This pivotal term is ‘expatriate’ vs. ‘Iranian-American’ or other often used (even over-used) hyphenated identities.

With a view to covering expats, meaning all Iranian business-people living and working abroad, we’ve entered an entirely new ball game, a truly global environ, which I hope you will enjoy and benefit from in expanding your own horizons.

Bazargan Connects with Parsis of India

Over 1,000 years ago, fleeing from religious and political persecution, Iranians embarked on their first mass exodus to new lands. The greatest beneficiary of this historic flight was a reluctant India where Persian Zoroastrians were allowed to settle. Over time, these newcomers, who became known as the Parsis, proved to be the main engine of economic growth in South Asia. Today, a small and worryingly shrinking Parsi community effectively runs ‘India, Inc.,’ carrying huge payrolls in key segments of that bustling economy. Brands such as Tata, Godrej, Pallonji and Mistry are among the top corporate and philanthropic entities there.

Given the Parsis’ strong attachment to their past and kinship toward other Iranian expatriates, Bazargan recently started a campaign to find links in the Zoroastrian business community in India and elsewhere in Asia. This effort is intended to add to enduring ties already forged with Zoroastrians in North America.

One Parsi personality that has actively connected with us so far is Mr. Yazdi Tantra, a veteran journalist who also publishes informational resources. With Tantra’s guidance, Bazargan will monitor and report on relevant Indian markets. We have also begun to assemble the first comprehensive database of Parsi-owned or operated businesses in that country. No doubt, as members of the ‘Second Iranian Exodus,’ we can learn a great deal from our original emigres.

The same all-inclusive approach to alliance building will be used to find and appoint special liaisons to the Jewish, Armenian, Assyrian and other Iranian communities worldwide. My previous post introduced Celia Taghdiri as Bazargan‘s link with Baha’i groups. This strategy is rooted in the fact that over half of the most successful businesspeople of Iranian descent belong to these faiths.

Taghdiri Joins Bazargan Launch Team

CeliaA seasoned Iranian-American researcher, writer and editor, Celia Taghdiri, has joined Bazargan as an editorial director and special liaison to the international Baha’i business community.

Celia has had numerous articles published in the San Diego Union Tribune and other notable publications, including Skipping Stones and New Moon magazines. As a graduate of Long Beach State University in California, she has researched and written extensively about the Persian culture and history. Celia has now made it her purpose to feature the achievements and philanthropic contributions of notable Iranian business leaders around the globe.

Celia is married with two young daughters.