Name: Bahram Djam
Title: Entrepreneur and musician
Business: Bia Boro
What do you and how did you get here?
I am the shop owner of Bia Boro Gastown and I also own Bia Boro Apparel – a bamboo made clothing brand. Bia Boro began in 2004 with our humble little boutique in Nelson. Our idea was to go and find clothing and accessories from across the world, and bring them back to BC.
The goal was to find unique things to wear that were unlike anything at home. We discovered amazing clothing from Brazil, Argentina, Turkey, Italy, Spain and many other places, and sold them at really great prices back in BC. In 2009, we starting making colourful underwear for women crafted out of bamboo.
The line grew to include underwear for men, and we then added a modification to our designs to allow the underwear to also be worn as a bathing suit. Our first location in Gastown was on West Cordova above Versace, and we dealt in wholesale and online only. In early 2018, this space on East Cordova came up and jumped on it. We still had our boutique in Nelson, along with one in Kelowna.
We were super excited to be able to open our third boutique in Gastown. In Gastown we sell our full line of Bia Boro Apparel along with clothes and accessories from around the world.
How did the name ‘Bia Boro’ come to life?
Bia Boro in Farsi means: “Come (bia) and Go (boro)” with connotations suggesting traffic, movement, fluidity, and flow of energy. When you say bia boro, you mean to day that things are busy, or that there’s stuff going on, moving and shaking, or there’s a buzz happening!
What do you love about working in Gastown?
Compared to other places, men have great style here. Men’s shops do well and there is a strong following of customers within each boutique. The neighbourhood is very supportive of new business owners and of each other, and there’s a real sense of solidarity and community. We have a diverse mix of people living and working here, and I continue to experience a daily outpouring of help given to the less fortunate from the Gastown business community. Whether it’s food, clothing, a free haircut or a cup of coffee, everybody tries to get along and make life a little easier for each other. The sense of belonging in Gastown is strong.
If you had 15 minutes only in Gastown – how would you spend the time?
I love John Fluevog’s store. I’d go there to see what’s new. He came to our shop once and said that it reminded him of what the boutiques looked like in Gastown back in the 1970’s. Guilt & Co is my favorite place to go for a drink and to listen to some good live music. I’d try to hit both those spots if I could in 15.
From the extensive collection of string instruments on the wall, the keyboard, and all the recording equipment in the room, I’m gonna guess that you’re a musician?
Was it that obvious? I come from a traditional Persian music background. In my teenage years I was big into heavy metal, and then into classical, flamenco, and blues. I also produce music and have created a collection of music that falls under the genre of Shaman House.
What’s your philosophy for living a good life?
I believe that exercise is a fundamental part of our genetics. Humans are not meant to live an inactive life. You have to break a sweat; you have to push physical boundaries to keep balance, and stay focused and grounded in all other parts of life. Diet is important. Work hard, and hopefully you may leave a positive legacy behind. Most important of all is freedom of time. To choose how you spend your time, consciously and to the greatest benefit of yourself and others; that to me is true success.