At the 2017 Family Business Awards – an annual celebration of multi-generational, family-owned businesses in the Washington, DC Metro region – the Washington Business Journal honored TriVision for overall excellence, innovation, ethics, and philanthropy.
The entrepreneurial passion and courageous spirit that fueled the creation of TriVision was instilled in the Lutfi family from an early age. The father of the family, Ibrahim Lutfi (now Chairman of TriVision), owned and operated a successful furniture manufacturing and steel construction business in Kabul, Afghanistan for more than 40 years. In the late 1980’s – on the cusp of the Afghan Civil War – Ibrahim, his wife, and his four young children left their native country and immigrated to the United States to start a new life.
It didn’t take long before the Lutfi family put together their combined passion and talents for the creatives to start a business, called TriVision. Tabasum, the Chief Operating Officer of TriVision and the youngest member of the family, recalls their early days – when she and her three brothers (Sulaiman, Arsalan, and Kamran) operated their office from the basement of their home while attending Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia. Their father insisted that they wear professional clothing to work, even if they were only going down a flight of stairs to the basement. “My father believed that if you looked the part, you would act the part,” said Tabasum. “This type of thinking really helped us take the business seriously and grow our operations.”
Arsalan, the Creative Director and SVP of TriVision, remembers designing logos and marketing collateral for small local businesses while juggling his college courses at George Mason University. His work didn’t go unnoticed – he won first place in school design competitions, including an airport map he designed for United Airlines, as well as the logo for DC Central Kitchen.
Sulaiman, the President & CEO of TriVision, who was more involved with video and media, recalls producing short films for his classes – or many times for fun – a foreshadowing of the activities that are now an essential part of TriVision’s capabilities.
Being located in close proximity of Washington, D.C. allowed TriVision to work with a good amount of prestigious clients from the beginning. Kamran, TriVision’s Chief Marketing Officer, has a recollection of the White House being one of their first clients, where they designed and printed T-Shirts for former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. Later on in 2011, TriVision built the digital media broadcast studio for the office of Al Gore in Nashville, Tennessee.
Over a span of almost 25 years, TriVision rose from a small home office to an award-winning marketing and media communications company with multiple locations across the Washington, DC region and Asia. Their services cater to a wide range of clients, including small businesses, large corporations, universities and international brands to include: National Geographic, The U.S. Department of Commerce, Johns Hopkins University, Siemens, and Tata, among many others.
What makes TriVision’s family story special is that each sibling offers his or her own unique skill set and asset to propel the family business forward. Running a business among siblings can be challenging; but the Lutfis have made it work through their unwavering ambition, hard work, and a strong family bond.
Sulaiman says that they hope to build on their family’s entrepreneurial legacy and continue to grow the TriVision brand across the globe for many years and generations to come. It is the journey, not the destination, that defines this family as a true American Dream story.