Leigh Bakhtiari: Flooring Fashion
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SAN RAFAEL — After two decades in the floor covering industry, Leigh Bakhtiari continues to employ her passion for fashion by beautifying her customers’ homes. “I approach each job with the goal of making things as fashionable as possible while simultaneously providing a durable, high-performance product,” she says. “When I first got into this business, it was actually pretty boring—every carpet was basically beige and cut pile. There are many more options available today, which makes my job a lot more fun.”
Despite having family ties to the floor covering industry, the primary catalyst for Leigh’s long-term involvement was actually her husband’s. “My husband, Hossein, and I each have a family connection to the floor covering industry, which is kind of coincidental because it has nothing to do with how we met,” she explains. “When we first met, I was working at Macy’s and he was working for his sister in the floor covering industry. After we got married, he suggested we open our own floor covering business, which we did in 1993. More than 20 years later, a lot has changed: we now have five kids and two floor covering stores!”
A lifetime resident of Mill Valley, Leigh expresses her appreciation for the natural beauty of her native locale. “I love it in the Bay Area. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel all over and I’ve never found a better place. I love all the open spaces, as well as the short distance to the beach and the mountains. Within a four-hour driving radius, you can go surfing or skiing, which is pretty remarkable.”
Outside of work, Leigh enjoys spending time with her family, both locally and abroad. “Besides hanging out together at home and around town, we love to travel together as a family,” she affirms. “In fact, we recently got back from a trip to the Dominican Republic.” Leigh also enjoys skiing, martial arts, following professional sports and going on walks with her dog, Gus. Additionally, she maintains an active participation in her industry by serving as president of her local floor covering association and regional network coordinator for Carpet One, as well as sitting on numerous advisory councils.
In regard to her professional livelihood, Leigh espouses the importance of treating customers fairly and honestly. “I try to treat my customers as if they were friends and family,” she explains. “That’s one of the reasons I feel it’s important to carry products I truly believe in. There are a lot of options out there, but I never want to sell a customer anything I wouldn’t sell to a friend or family member.”
When asked the first thing she’d do if she were to retire tomorrow, Leigh gives a twofold response. “I’d take a nap and then take a trip,” she laughs. “After that, I’d devote some of my extra time to volunteering, probably for a cause that benefits children or animals.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Africa. I’d love to go on a safari and see animals in their natural element.
Q: If you could live in the city or the country, which would you choose?
A: The country. Cities make me claustrophobic, and I like being close to nature.
Q: What was your first pet?
A: A big, black mutt named Alfie. She was beautiful.
Q: What’s your favorite style of music?
A: As a child of the ’80s, I love my throwback music.
Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: Thanksgiving, because I enjoy cooking and spending time with my family. We spend the entire day preparing everything from scratch, set a beautiful table and then enjoy a great meal at the end.