Kamran and his family’s belief in the American Dream

“My family proves the American Dream is still possible. We’ve prospered in a way we could not have done in any other country in the world. We did it by working hard and by working smart, but also by the blessings of good fortune. We have been blessed.”− Kamran Farid

Kamran and his family arrived in the United States on his third birthday. Even though his family was successful in Pakistan, his parents moved to America in search of a better future for their children. They left all their possessions behind and settled in West Haven, Connecticut to start all over again.

Kamran’s father came from a wealthy family and he had never done manual labor in his life. His first job in America was at Burger King where he started by sweeping the floors. He got a second job as a machinist and a third at McDonald’s. It was a very humbling experience for him and for the whole family, but they had to do whatever it took to survive.

Even though his family struggled financially, you never would have known it. Kamran’s mother, Salma, stayed home with the children. She was very nurturing and always made her children feel proud to be a part of their family. She ensured that Kamran and his siblings were dressed and groomed well. Even though times were difficult, Kamran’s mother would always find a way to set aside money and help those who were even less fortunate. She instilled the importance of giving back by setting an amazing example for her family.

In Kindergarten, Kamran was diagnosed with leukemia. It was devastating to his family. While his father worked three jobs, his mother would walk over three miles to and from the bus stop with Kamran so he could get receive medical treatments at Yale. Sometimes on the walk home, Kamran was so weak that she had to carry him. During the entire ordeal, Kamran’s mother supported him unconditionally and gave him the confidence that he was going to be absolutely fine. By third grade Kamran was given a clean bill of health.

As they grew up, Kamran and his five siblings also worked hard to help support their family. They had a very entrepreneurial spirit and would do everything from delivering newspapers to shoveling driveways. Their neighbors were always impressed by how hard they worked as a team. The children gave every penny they earned to their parents, no questions asked.

Kamran’s oldest brother Tariq worked in a flower shop when he was a teenager. When their father saw a shop for sale, he was convinced his family could run a flower business. They borrowed money from a family friend who took a huge financial risk to help the Farid’s pursue their dream of owning an American business. Kamran’s mother managed the shop during the day and the rest of the family worked there immediately after school and on weekends. As a little kid Kamran did whatever was needed, from sweeping the floor to running the register. Through hard work they built a successful business and were able to purchase another flower shop in Milford and then a third in Hamden.

In middle school, Kamran worked for his brother Tariq who had started a computer business that installed point-of-sale systems for florists. Kamran would leave school early to work into the evenings and spent most weekends traveling to customer sites throughout the Northeast. By high school, Kamran was also managing all the back-end operations including inventory, purchasing, and bookkeeping. The company had grown to over a million dollars in annual sales. It was sold in 1998, but there was no rest before the family’s next entrepreneurial venture was to begin.

This time, instead of flowers, it would be bouquets of fresh fruit. With the encouragement of their mother, they launched Edible Arrangements, starting with one small store in East Haven, CT. The family’s entrepreneurial spirit was called on once again as they created this new business from scratch. Now, 15 years and 1,300 stores later, Edible Arrangements has grown into a global company and a household name. As Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Kamran gained hands-on expertise in developing a successful franchise operation.

At home and in business, Kamran honors his family’s long tradition of taking care of those in need. Even when there was little to give, his mother, Salma, taught by endless examples that taking care of others less fortunate was simply part of daily life. And now, many years later, their family story has turned into an American dream. With the launch of the Kamran Farid Foundation, Kamran’s own family can continue the Farid tradition of helping those who need it most.

Kamran Farid is the Co-Founder and Former Chief Operating Officer of Edible Arrangements International, a company that he and his brother created in 1999. The Kamran Farid Foundation, inspired by his mother, helps identify and support unmet and often unrecognized needs in communities around the world. The foundation is focused on creating a sustainable, brighter future for the people it supports. Follow Kamran on Twitter @kamranf.