When Mehdi Abedi moved to Houston in 1981 to complete his Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at Rice University, he also returned to his rug roots. Mehdi says, "One of the first sounds I ever heard was the sound of weaving." All four of his sisters are accomplished weavers in Yazd, Iran. His daily route to school took him past the boiling dye pots and brightly colored wool hung to dry in the alleys.
Beginning with just 10 small Hamadans in 1981, he built an extensive collection and a loyal clientele. A few years later, he began teaching other enthusiasts about Persian rugs through continuing education courses.
Lisa Slappey arrived in Houston in 1991 to complete her Ph.D. in English at Rice University. She soon joined Mehdi in selling Persian rugs by private appointment. To display the growing collection, they acquired exhibit space in Carolyn Thompson's Antique Center of Texas in 1996 and Pride of Persia Rug Co. was born. The shop later expanded to feature about 4,000 rugs in a showroom of nearly 8,000 square feet.
In March 2009, Pride of Persia grew again by opening a beautiful new showroom in the Houston Design Center. This shop features an extensive collection of antique and unusual Persian rugs from the cities, villages and tribes of Persia, along with select lines of new rugs from around the world. It is Houston's home for Hadji Jalili Revivals and Lapchi Hand-Woven Carpets in Silk and Wool.
To meet the growing demand for Tibetan-style rugs, Abedi and Slappey opened Postmodern Traditions Custom & Contemporary Rug Gallery in September 2011. This showroom is in Suite 169 of the Houston Design Center.