We were planning a major event for 700+ supporters to be held at Santa Clara Convention Center and decided that it might be a good time to launch our partnership. We held a meeting to generate ideas, and Franco suggested a few items to donate for our silent auction. My team and I were pleasantly surprised when Franco kept volunteering more and more items to donate: sports jackets, shoes, shirts, ties, duffle bags – all custom made in Italy. At the event, we received many bids, and the total value of his donation came close to $10,000.
A month ago, I decided to visit and interview Franco at his new store in downtown Los Gatos. As I walked in, I immediately noticed his distinctive taste. The decor, the ambiance, and the colorful fabrics all pointed to his confidence and sophistication.
The flowers matched his tie, and I surmised that this was not a coincidence. Life is beautiful, and Franco likes to show it through beautiful objects. He sets the tone to make sure that when a customer walks in, he feels good about the whole experience. Below is the highlight of my conversation with him.
Thank you for agreeing to do this Franco. Can you start by sharing a little about your childhood?
I was born in Afghanistan. I had a good childhood, but unfortunately, like everyone else I had to flee the country. I was 17 years old when I had to flee alone. It took me almost a month to reach Peshawar, Pakistan. It was a very difficult time as I lived in a refugee camp, but later on, I manage to have my own business.
It’s amazing. So you actually experienced life in a refugee camp?
Absolutely. There were days I couldn’t afford to buy a piece of bread. It would be 110F in Ramadan and I had to fast — I chose to fast. Forget about AC; there was no fan! But I learned so much there, and it changed my life.
What brought you to the US?
My dad wanted to come to the US, and it took us three years to get the VISA. We first came to Phoenix and then moved to the Bay Area.
What got you into this business of high fashion?
I was in fashion since I was born. I never went to school to study fashion. It’s a gift from God. I am a designer and I use my eyes. I pick the colors, the fabrics, the styles.
Where is your studio in Italy?
In Napoli. I went to China to explore opening a base there, but I learned about child labor, so I changed my mind. People look for quality, and Italy is known for that. Most of my clients are from tech companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Netflix etc., and they are artistic, so they appreciate my work.
Tell me about your family.
I have two daughters and one son, ages 24, 21 and 20. They all go to school, and they help me. They are big blessings.
Why do you support GiveLight?
As I mentioned before, I experienced firsthand what it is to be poor. One day we all will leave this world. My dad told me that you achieve something by giving, so I feel good when I can help someone. He also said that when your right hand gives, don’t let your left hand find out.
The world is full of problems. There is hunger, war, suffering everywhere. What is your dream for children — especially orphans?
Every child must have a goal and dream. As a human, you have to care for each other. Islam motivates me to help others no matter what.
Your wish for children?
To be happy and to be positive. Believe in yourself and have strong faith. Be a magnet. You will draw whatever you want to you. Have discipline and pray all the time — not just the five daily prayers, but throughout the day when you do different things.
What are your last words for our children?
Have a dream and believe in yourself. Life is easy and beautiful. You can achieve anything.
I love his positive attitude and outlook on life. He will donate 10% of proceeds to our cause when a customer mentions GiveLight when they visit his store. He will also give $250 gift certificate to those who donates $5000 or more. So this Eid, treat yourself to some haute style and know that in the process you will be nurturing a child somewhere in the world.
Thank you Franco for using your talents to benefit our children. May the Most High reward you and bless your entire family.