What started in 1992 as a small-time diamond cutting and polishing unit is now the largest distributed diamond jewellery brand in India. However, the company wears a number of hats. Not only is it an exporter of diamonds and diamond jewellery, it is also a diamond manufacturer and diamond jewellery retailer.
Throw in the fact that it’s the only Indian company with 6,000-plus employees to have achieved the Responsible Jewellery Council Certification and you start to get a sense of the size of this gemstone operation.
The Founder and Managing Director of Hari Krishna Exports (HK), Ghanshyam Dholakia, is the man responsible for leading the business with a vision to surpass the company’s 2018 US$1.2 billion revenue. “Over the next three to five years, we want to focus more on the jewellery side of our business as well as our branding,” he says.
“We’re beginning to see a shift in customer preference, which is moving away from diamond jewellery and more into gold. It’s important to us that we adapt to trends and so we’re looking at ways to use innovative design to incorporate both diamonds and gold into our jewellery.”
Much like any industry, trends come and go, and a business needs to remain agile enough to keep up. Luckily, Ghanshyam has been in the industry long enough to have witnessed many of these trends and knows just how to keep the company focused.
“One of the interesting ways the diamond industry has changed over the years is that it has become more and more organised, which is great and something HK has greatly benefited from,” he says. “As diamond prices have standardised, the large-sized diamonds have come back into demand. Back in 1992, the trend was for smaller stones and so we used to sell only one diamond shape. Now we’re making and selling 10.”
Ghanshyam talks about how the organisation of the industry has meant that it’s been able to rapidly expand, and HK is growing with it. “Our brand, Kisna Diamond Jewellery, is now available in more than 2,000 showrooms across India,” he says.
“There are four mining companies in the world that control 60–70% of the world’s diamonds, and HK is associated with all four. It means that we can always keep up with the demand, and we now export to 85 countries. We also buy straight from the mining companies, which means there is a consistent supply, and we don’t need to negotiate so we can keep our
These are just a couple of the reasons why HK stands out from competitors. Another is that they sell their diamonds online, something no-one else does. But the one that has made them newsworthy is the way their Founder and Chairman, Savji Dholakia, chooses to reward company employees.
For 2014’s Diwali celebration, Savji and Hari Krishna Exports gifted 207 homes, 490 cars and 575 pieces of jewellery to its staff. The story of this generosity went global and was a gesture that ended up being both criticised and celebrated in equal measure.
“Our employees are our biggest asset.”
Ghanshyam thinks the reward system is an incredible incentive that benefits both the company and the employees. “Our employees are our biggest asset,” he says. “They deserve to be rewarded for their hard work because they are the reason the company is such a success.”
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