COMMERCE, CA – Nora Lighting founders Fred and Jilla Farzan, along with daughter Neda Farzan, head of Nora Business Development, are celebrating the company’s 30th year in business with a renewed Commitment to Service, Quality and Value, a phrase that has defined the company and its product line over three decades.
To launch its 30th year, the Nora team recently hosted an Open House Anniversary celebration at the company’s Lightovation Showroom in January at the Dallas Market. Hundreds of guests and long-time friends joined the Nora staff to celebrate and to hear about Nora’s plans for the future.
This 30th year will see the further expansion of Nora’s already-comprehensive line of LED products, along with a newly re-engineered integrated assembly center. A state-of-the-art lighting showroom and training facility are also scheduled to debut this year at the Commerce, CA, headquarters, along with an extensive rebranding campaign with a new logo and website.
Looking Back 30 Years – Behind Nora’s success is an inspiring story of the American Dream.
Nora President and CEO Fred Farzan and Executive Vice President Jilla Farzan were university students in Tehran, Iran, during turbulent times. Fred graduated in engineering and later obtained an M.B.A, while Jilla completed a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and taught at the university.
On-going political turmoil and religious persecution forced many families to flee the country. The Farzans journey took them to Italy, then Los Angeles, where they settled with two young daughters. Their third daughter, Neda Farzan, was born shortly after their arrival to the U.S. At first, Fred worked in the garment industry, but he and Jilla soon saw a growing opportunity in lighting.
Nora, meaning “the light from within,” became the Farzans fourth child as they started their own company in 1989 within a tiny storefront on Fairfax Avenue in West Los Angeles.
Jilla oversaw the entire operation from purchasing to sales and shipping until Fred joined Nora full-time in 1993. In those days, the Farzans wore many hats: Fred helped load customer trucks with products at the dock while Jilla prepared the company’s first 20-page catalog. Today, the Nora Buyer’s Guide has more than 400 pages.
Character of the Company – “During that time, we began to define the character of the company – an innovative and trustworthy manufacturer of lighting products that featured high quality products at various price points,” said Fred Farzan.
“We totally believed in the value of relationships and have built partnerships with customers and reps that have lasted 20, even 30 years.”
From the start, the Farzans were committed to their growing Nora family, their faith, their customers and, importantly, to the integrity of their business. Few companies have focused on customer satisfaction and high performance standards as consistently and reliably as Nora.
In 2001, Nora moved to a spacious 150,000 square-foot facility in Commerce, just south of Los Angeles. Today, the Nora team is 150 people strong and the company utilizes nine distribution centers throughout the United States.
Originally a residential lighting company with just two housings and two trims, Nora has grown into an industry leader in the development of energy-efficient residential, commercial, retail, hospitality and healthcare lighting.
Over the last 30 years, and particularly the last 15, Nora has become an innovator in energy-efficient lighting products. At the Commerce headquarters, a team of engineers utilizes state of the art technology to develop products that satisfy both aesthetic and technological requirements. The Nora R&D facility features a DAP certified UL lab, photometric testing facility, and 3D printers to reduce the time-to-market of new products.
“A lot of people ask what makes us different from the competition,” says Neda.
“I tell them ‘we listen.’ We listen to our reps, our customers, lighting designers, and the contractors who work with Nora products everyday. Our lines have grown in response to requests and honest feedback from those key associates.”
Family Owned For 30 Years – While known for high quality products, Nora Lighting is also admired as a family-owned and operated company.
“We have been very fortunate to remain a family-owned business for 30 years,” says Jilla, “and in many ways we are still a small family company. That’s where we get our motto: Large Enough To Do It Right, Small Enough to Care.”
She often jokes that when they first started Nora they had to learn everything from scratch, even English
“But it’s been an exciting challenge and we realize how truly fortunate we were to start a new life in the United States, where we found opportunities we could only dream about.”
The lighting industry, which was largely built by family-owned businesses, has experienced a steady decline in family operations over the last decade.
“Our customers have stayed loyal to us because they are treated like family,” says Neda.
“They trust Nora and they trust our products. We are honest, treat them with respect, and deliver products that we stand behind,” she says.
“Since I joined the company five years ago, the most significant areas of growth have been with distributors looking to partner with manufacturers that are still infused with the passion and service that many family businesses are built upon.”
Neda started the Business Development unit at Nora in 2013 after working in corporate consulting and completing her M.B.A. at the Columbia University School of Business. Born Neda Nora Farzan, she proudly shares her name with the company.
A Dedicated Team of Professionals – “Nora Lighting is officially a second-generation family business,” says Jilla Farzan. “We are committed to staying true to our core values over the next 30 years and will continue to design and develop innovative and energy-efficient luminaires for all applications and price points.”
“Nora could never have accomplished so much without the support of our customers, reps and dedicated staff,” says Fred Farzan.
“Again, we have been very lucky in assembling a team of experienced professionals who have helped Nora Lighting become both an industry and community leader,” he says.
The company has more than 30 employees who have worked with Nora for more than 10 years, and six team members who have been with Nora for more than 20 years.
“We value our relationships with each of them and congratulate them on their achievements,” he says.
The company has always been committed to education and training and encourages employees to participate in technology seminars and classes. Nora was one of the first companies to host training programs on California’s Title 24 for rep agencies and personnel.
Giving Back to the Community – Since the company’s founding in 1989, Nora Lighting has supported community programs and philanthropic organizations across the country. Under the direction of Jilla Farzan, the Nora Community Outreach Program has offered support through product donations and financial aid. Among the many organizations helped by Nora Lighting are Vista Del Mar children’s service organization; Hilllview Acres Children’s Home; Habitat for Humanity; Make a Wish Foundation; Los Angeles Women’s Center; Southern California youth sports clubs; Extreme Makeover Projects for Veterans and more.
“We always believed in ourselves, our family’s future and the blessings of God,” she said.
“That’s why it is so important for all of us to give back to our communities and we are glad to support programs, like Habitat for Humanity, that provide shelter and promise to hard-working individuals,” said Jilla.
“We hope we can help ‘light their way’ to a better life too.”
Incomparable Product Line – The always-expanding Nora LED product line offers the industry’s most comprehensive collection of fixtures, including: LED dedicated and retrofit downlights; smart RGBW LED downlights; LED track and rail fixtures; LED edge-lit panels; LED center basket troffers; LED MLS (multi-lighting systems); LED linear and under cabinet lightbars; LED high lumen RLM shades; LED puck lights; LED high-output, Hy-Brite, side-lit, CCT (color correlated) RGB, RGBW and standard tape lights; LED pendants; LED cylinders; LED step lights; and LED emergency / exit signs.