Being a Sustainable Persian Business Owner: Celebrating Nowruz and the Cultural Significance of Hair
Kate here-- As a founder in America I have often found it is easier to use "Kate" as my name instead of my birth given name--but part of me struggles that this dissolves the rich Persian heritage that I have grown up with.
When I meet other Iranian people I often joke that our bars are made to Persian standards, which is playfully a way to say we made the best shampoo bar and the best conditioner bar on the market. They know exactly what that means :)
I grew up with Nowruz, beautiful preparations for our haft-sin and all of the experience of being the youngest in a family where I was the only US citizen, and my older siblings born in Iran or the UK.
Nowruz, the Persian New Year, is a significant event not only for my family but for Persian people all around the world. It is a time to celebrate new beginnings, renewal, and rebirth.
As a sustainable Persian business owner, Nowruz presents an excellent opportunity to reflect on our practices and ensure that we are operating in a way that is environmentally conscious and socially responsible.
I'd like to share the importance of being a sustainable Persian business owner and how Nowruz ties into our cultural heritage as well as the role of hair in Persian history and how it has influenced Persian culture today.
Nowruz is a celebration of nature and new beginnings-- so it is no wonder to me that you see so many Persian business owners starting companies to help make the world a better place. One of my personal favorites is the founder of Stasher Bags, Kat Nouri.
(If anyone knows her, introduce us! I'm a huge fan!)
We learn through the tradition of Sizdah Bedar where families must gather outside: on this day fields, plains, parks and gardens are filled with families, old and young, who leave their homes to spend the day outdoors, preferably by a river or a stream. It is embedded in our culture that going outside is essential to our happiness & luck for the new year.
I think this steers our motivation to create companies that operate in a way that is sustainable and environmentally conscious. This means considering the impact of our practices on the environment and taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint.
Our mission at Dip to source materials responsibly and reduce waste can all help us mitigate our impact on the environment. Additionally, being socially responsible means genuinely and ethically supporting our local communities encouraging you to shop small. By operating sustainably and responsibly, we can ensure that Dip is doing our part to contribute to a better world for future generations.
Since Nowruz is a time to celebrate the new year and new beginnings, we hope you join us by consuming less this year.
It is also a time when families come together to share meals, exchange gifts, and engage in traditional activities such as spring cleaning and visiting friends and relatives. For Persian people, Nowruz is a time to celebrate our cultural heritage and pass on our traditions to future generations. By embracing our cultural heritage, we can keep our traditions alive and ensure that they are passed down to our children and grandchildren.
And since we are a hair care company, let's bring it back to hair for a moment:
Hair has played a significant role in Persian history and culture. In ancient Persia, hair was seen as a symbol of strength and beauty. Men and women alike would grow their hair long and wear it in elaborate styles. During the Safavid dynasty, which lasted from the 16th to the 18th century, hair became even more important. Women began to wear their hair in complex braids and curls, and men would grow their beards long and dye them with henna.
Today, hair remains an important part of our culture, and many Persian women take great pride in their long, lustrous locks. But today, that celebration of hair has become a powerful political form of protest.
Women in Iran and all over the world have been burning headscarves, shouting “Women, life, freedom” and “No to the headscarf, no to the turban, yes to freedom and equality”. Some have also cut or shaved their hair in public.
“In the history of Iran, when women didn’t have enough power to stand up, they cut their hair. It has always been a symbol of rebellion and to start a fight.” Euronews
The cutting of hair is a symbol of protest and mourning, one that goes back to Ferdowsi’s Persian epic Shahnameh, one of the world’s longest epic poems written between c. 977 and 1010 CE.
As a Persian business owner, with a father who spends most of his time in Iran, I feel a responsibility to let our customers know the impact of hair in other parts of the world.
Yes, we have a responsibility to operate sustainably and ethically, while also celebrating our cultural heritage--but a fluff piece on Persian culture does you no service as a reader....especially as a sustainable hair care company who prides ourselves on thinking of the world beyond shampoo bars.
Nowruz Mobarak and thank you for joining us in this blog post today.