When Geoffrey Orley’s grandmother offered him an antique Persian carpet for his 15th birthday, he declined the gift. The gesture was nice, but the carpet was not. Inadvertently, Geoffrey’s grandmother had ignited his interest in carpets and quest to find the finest carpets worldwide. On this journey, he met Bahram Shabahang in the carpet market of Isfahan, Iran in 1972. Soon to become lifelong friends and business partners, they began importing carpets into the U.S., and the rest is history.
Bahram Shabahang traces his family heritage to 16th century Isfahan, Iran. The patriarch of the Shabahang family was the son-in-law of King Tahmass Safavieh. He oversaw the work of the rug weavers in the King’s workshop and passed this on through the family. Mr.Shabahang holds a degree in Architecture although his passion has always been carpets, which led to the creation of his first store in 1973.
On travels with Bahram Shabahang to India to visit artisans and other centers of textile production, Christopher fell in love with carpets. As a graduate of the University of Chicago with a degree in History, the history and culture embedded in each rug drew him to pursue a career dedicated to them. Christopher now directs all new technology initiatives for the company and assists in sales and advertising as an integral part of the New York team.
Shirin brings with her an extensive knowledge of the world of rugs. As Bahram’s daughter, she has been surrounded by Persian rugs her entire life. Also like her father, she shares an everlasting passion for these works of art. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, Shirin embraced her family’s tradition and joined the Orley Shabahang team. Dedicated to carrying on the family business for generations to come, she continues to further her education and experience while working with us in New York.
Mehran Iravani is the president of Shabahang Persian Carpets and has been with the company since 1987. Originally from a family of fine Persian rug collectors in Tehran, Mehran found himself especially drawn to the artistry of the Shabahang collection. Besides the love of beautiful carpets that he and Bahram share, their families still hold a close friendship to this day.
As a third generation member of the rug industry, Stephen Jorjorian is an expert in both new and antique carpets. Since 1974, Steve has experience advising clients on rug needs and managing a variety of showroom venues in both Milwaukee and Chicago. Drawn to the artistry of Orley Shabahang carpets in 2011, his knowledge and enthusiasm have made him a valuable addition to the team in Whitefish Bay.