DLISH—Mona Bavar’s Distinctive Gift Boxes Curated from Milan, Italy
Mona Bavar is the delightful and engaging entrepreneur behind DLISH, a start up company specializing in curating distinctive gifts around food, art and design for the corporate market as well as for person-to-person gifting. We sat down for a virtual breakfast meeting, Mona in a café in Milan with her cappuccino and croissant and me in my office near London with a mug of instant coffee and a slice of buttered toast.
Daks: You have such an interesting story; it’s almost like a travelogue! Can you tell me a bit about your early life and experiences? I’m interested in how a young Iranian girl comes to America and then finds herself in Milan.
Bavar: I was born in Iran and moved to the United States due to the Iranian Revolution of 1979. We came straight to Los Angeles and I basically grew up there, so I guess that’s where home is. But as an immigrant, forced to leave your country, you always have the sense of ‘I don’t belong anywhere,’ at least I personally never really felt American.
I came to Italy to do my MBA at SDA Bocconi School of Management. After my MBA Italy became the perfect place to cultivate my passions—food, art and design. Italians have such a beautiful environment around their food culture. The social culture that’s behind it is very similar to the Iranian one.
When I was a kid, before we left Iran, my summers were spent in Italy. My parents would bring me here so it was almost like reliving memories from the past. My appreciation for the ritual of dining with friends and family around a beautifully set table eating the perfect meal while sharing stories and creating special bonds inevitably led to DLISH.
Daks: So, let’s talk for a moment about the original idea behind the company.
Bavar: DLISH is a gifting company which specializes in curating distinctive gifts around the world of food, art, and design. We work closely with designers, farmers, artisans, and craftsmen from around the world. Having access to such a vast number of talents has led to our bespoke services which caters both to our corporate gifting clients as well as individuals looking for a more personalized gifting style.
Most recently we added antiques and one-off items that are like our rare jewels. I think our unique and personalized approach to gifting helps to create that magical experience for both the giver as well as the receiver. This is our special touch.
Daks: So, like they would say on the Actors Studio. What is your favorite food?
Bavar: Anything with truffles on it!
Daks: Favorite drink, I’m assuming that’s wine?
Bavar: No, a dirty vodka Martini with three olives.
Daks: Here we go!
Bavar: In a heartbeat.
Daks: So, what has brought you the most satisfaction in your life?
Bavar: I would say the life I have created for myself. It is not conventional and oftentimes challenging, but it is my path, and I am proud of what I have built so far. I am grateful for a supportive and loving family and a group of dear friends who continuously give me the courage and encouragement to embrace my truth.
Daks: I think that’s a really good answer. Just giving yourself permission to live the life that you want to live and not feeling that you should censure yourself because of the expectations of other people.
What is the next journey for you?
Bavar: Of course, I would love for DLISH to continue growing and it will; for my plans to come to fruition, and they will; to live in Paris and I will. But to be honest—the future will happen when it happens. I am really happy with where I am right now.
Daks: What would you say is the best reason to experience DLISH?
Bavar: To bring pleasure into your life and into the lives of those that are special to us, especially now when we all need some joy in our lives. Something that says ‘I was thinking of you.’ So, rather than the usual gifts, why not give something that’s rare?
Written by: Michael Daks