Melody Shirazi is the most laid-back go-getter in the game. A warm and fuzzy wave of energy sinks into your skin the moment you step into her mindfully curated living room. Sunlight beams through a wall of windows illuminating citrus-hued blooms on a tidy desk. Ethical sourcing and an eye for detail make her space unlike anything trending on a Pinterest board. Delicate vines spill from empty candle jars, their tendrils floating across a nude black and white print. Cats Teal and Ziggy, darting this way and that, only contribute to the good vibes. Personality permeates from every square inch of her California Craftsman home/studio in San Luis Obispo. A maker with heart and delicious sense of humor, this is a woman who can teach herself just about anything.
WORDS BY CHRISTY wolff
PHOTOS BY kayla tierney
Originally published in Coyote + Oak Magazine.
Details are her obsession, and she describes her overarching aesthetic as intentional. “I feel like I’m sensitive when I’m walking down the street, visually. Whatever it is that I see that catches my eye will leave a mark. When I get back into the studio I get a chance to record those things: lines, light, color. I use those pieces to inspire me.”
Her path from student to full-time artist was winding. “I graduated from Cal Poly at the height of the recession…with a degree in art. I’m a first generation Iranian-American and come from a family of engineers, so I was their worst nightmare come true! I moved to Oakland to a community that was supporting artists at the time. My background was design for the non-profit and social justice world, and Oakland was where I could carve out a space for myself with art and social work. Instantly I found an incredible support network and began creating art again. That’s when I made the decision that really changed the course of my life. I decided to become a full-time artist—that shift from pursuing passion projects to a dedicated vocation.”
Today Melody is the sole founder of two thriving businesses that share handcrafted California wares with happy campers across the country. Foxtail Goods offers high-end leather totes, clutches, and dopp kits designed to last a lifetime. In addition to the cult leather goods (which Melody taught herself how to craft on YouTube) she also produces vibrant cashmere scarves naturally dyed with poppy seeds, eucalyptus leaves, and onion skins. Versatile jewelry line Isobell Designs is her secondary venture inspired by California colors. “I’m heavily influenced by my heritage, Persian and Islamic art is full of deep rich colors, geometric patterns and historical relevance. Combining that with West Coast style, I’ve created a brand based entirely on my own vision.”
Not everyone is capable of working from home but she makes it look dreamy. “It’s so fun to wake up in the morning and know that your day is yours…however that may look. I wear a lot of hats as a business owner, and every day looks a little different. The most challenging part is setting boundaries and turning it off at the end of the day.”
Long after leaving Melody’s place her words sing in my mind, “I think you can be whoever you want to be.” The truth is there’s never been a better time to live on your own terms. Don’t wait another day to start. Shop Melody’s designs online at foxtailgoods.com and isobelldesigns.com or say hello on Instagram at @isobelldesigns and @foxtailgoods.
Childhood style icons: Denise Huxtable and Punky Brewster
Favorite author: Sue Monk Kidd
Book worth rereading: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Live music: The Tipsy Gypsies
California musicians: Jurassic Five, Jenny Lewis, and Etta James
Comfort meal: The Tempeh Spring Rolls from Shine Cafe in Morro Bay
Guilty pleasures: I don’t believe you should feel guilty about things that bring you pleasure!
Creative process: Tea, email, another tea, email, workout, lunch on the porch, back to emailing and jewelry and making a mess (I live clean but I make messy). On nights that I stay in, I get a ton of work done. I like doing that because it's dark and quiet, and though I'm no night owl, I get most of my energy and ideas around then.
Childhood style icons:
Book worth rereading:
WEB DESIGN: Kendra Aronson CreativeStudio
WEB DESIGN: Kendra Aronson Creative Studio
TERMS + CONDITIONS