Leading a Legacy – Nicolas Bijan Pakzad

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Few 21-year-olds can list Associate Merchandising Director on their resumes. But then again, Nicolas Bijan Pakzad isn’t your average 21-year-old.

Nicolas is the son of renowned clothier Bijan Pakzad and namesake of the House of Bijan, the super exclusive and luxurious boutique on Rodeo Drive. The high-end brand was founded in 1976 by Bijan and his longtime friend Dar Mahboubi. Thirtysix years later, the House of Bijan is known as the most expensive store in the world and is a legacy in the luxury market.

And it’s Nicolas’ job to continue that legacy.

He joined the brand when he was just 16 and, after the passing of his father last year, began taking on more responsibilities to ensure that the House of Bijan remains a fixture in the luxury market.

 “My job for the future is very simple,” Nicolas said. “Maintain the quality and keep the brand so beautiful that it continues to stand out and be unlike any other brand in the world.”

“When I started working with my father I was in high school,” Nicolas said. “After watching him work, slowly my attention started to grow at the company and the industry as a whole. Slowly but surely it turned into a very big passion of mine and obviously that was something that he and I shared.”

Growing up, Bijan was not only a father to Nicolas, but also a mentor. He instilled important business ideals into his son–ideals like attention to detail and the quest for perfection.

“Those were character traits I had to learn how to deal with growing up,” Nicolas said. “Maybe they would have been considered annoying when I was a teenager, but it was those character traits that pushed me and inspired me to be confident, proactive and not sit around all day.”

In 2008, Nicolas became the Associate Merchandising Director. He now works in areas like brand management, merchandising, sales, marketing and advertising. “I am fortunate enough to be working with the same team that was working with my father when the brand started,” he said. This team includes President Dar Mahboubi and Chief Operating Officer Manijeh Messa. “We are like a family. Most of the team has been here since the beginning of the company.”

As the brand continues to expand—the House of Bijan recently partnered with Rolls-Royce to produce 30 bespoke Phantom Saloon, Coupe and Drophead Coupes—Nicolas believes it is important to stay true to the philosophy upon which it was founded.

“My job for the future is very simple,” Nicolas said. “Maintain the quality and keep the brand so beautiful that it continues to stand out and be unlike any other brand in the world.”

The House of Bijan also boasts a rather notable fan base.

“Since I’ve been really involved [in the family business,] I’ve had the honor of becoming close to the Bush family,” said Nicolas. “President Bush Sr. and President Bush Jr. were very close to [my father] and they continue to be with my family.”

The brand also counts former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the ruling family of Qatar and the royal family of Saudi Arabia as clients. “Our customers are the most powerful men and brilliant men in the world,” Nicolas said. “They have very high standards and they recognize the philosophy that we have and they appreciate it.”

To maintain those high standards, the House of Bijan is an appointment-only boutique. The boutique’s wares include both collections as well as bespoke products. All items are handmade in Italy, and all are limited edition, so limited that there are only one or two of each piece in the world. Exclusivity, it seems, only adds to the brand’s appeal.

Central to the Bijan brand is style, and that’s something that Nicolas knows a thing or two about. He doesn’t pay attention to trends, like thin lapels and short jackets. Instead, he prefers the classics. “The classic cut suit will never go out of style and is by far the most elegant,” he said. “You have to be comfortable in what you are wearing. If I’m wearing a double breasted suit and I’m uncomfortable it’s very easy to tell.”

As the iconic brand approaches its 40th anniversary, Nicolas continues his quest to uphold the brand’s integrity. But he continues to learn—besides working with the company, Nicolas attends Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business at night. He hopes to focus his future efforts on expansion. He continues to work on the Rolls- Royce project, as well as a similar endeavor with Bugatti and is also interested in exploring other new markets, such as China.

Because his father built such a renowned brand, Nicolas knows the company doesn’t require big changes. Instead, he is maintaining the integrity and passion that his father put into every suit, accessory and piece of jewelry, as well as remembering the philosophy that made the House of Bijan such a celebrated icon of luxury.

“The philosophy that the company was founded on is still very much alive today,” Nicolas said. “That strive for perfection, the attention to detail that [my father] had, the highest quality and the exclusivity. Those are all things that I think will never be compromised within the company. That was the philosophy of my father, that was the philosophy that built an empire and that was the philosophy that continues to grow and thrive without him present here.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

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