Namokar Jain, the founder of Diona Jaipur, was leading Sales for a prominent firm Practo in Gujarat in the year 2015 where he led a team of 40. While he was able to create a great work-life balance during his tenure at this position, he was scared of not tapping into his full potential and wanted to work on something that will help him grow and let him fill a gap in the market. Namokar wanted to explore his entrepreneurial side and grow substantially. After launching Frooce – Jaipur’s first juice bar: critically acclaimed, it was followed by the launch of Asteria – a unique and pathbreaking lounge in Jaipur. He then launched Levels, a club in Ramada. Namokar went on to set up White kitchens, Jaipur’s first cloud kitchen service in December 2020. White Kitchen was a huge success during the pandemic and was able to expand from 1 to 6 kitchens and was recently funded by Curefoods (parent company of eatfit).
After continuous successes, Namokar set up Diona Jaipur, a never seen before experiential property in Jaipur. A project by Prime Hospitality, it is one of the biggest rooftop lounges of India, spanning over an area of 36,000 sq ft, with expansive indoor and outdoor venues. Diona Jaipur raises the bar -both literally and figuratively. It isn’t a place, but a lifestyle. The entire architecture and interiors of the lifestyle destination are reminiscent of a Grecian holiday. The whitewashed walls, rustic open spaces, and the quintessential Santorini blue transports you to the Greek isle while you are in the heart of Jaipur. A curated menu of unique appetizers, local and international delicacies, and house-crafted cocktails put the rooftop bar on top of the things to do in Jaipur. Other than housing the best tipples and nibbles in town – the brewery at Diona that is launching shortly makes it the go to destination for beautiful brews year round. For the launch of Diona, Namokar got India’s best holiday and resort wear designers Shivan & Narresh to launch their new collection and do an opening show for the first time ever in Jaipur among an audience of 2000 top attendees from the city.
Namokar now envisions creating a pan-India chain with Diona and launching similar experiences in different cities. In an interview he says..
Where/How do you get your best ideas?
There’s no specific process or a place. I have a set of people with whom i discuss initial thoughts over something. If it excites most of them it converts into an idea.
What’s something they don’t teach you in University that you should probably know?
Basic finances, importance of communication and relationship building. We don’t emphasize on it enough but your people skill is the most important thing ever. Whether in corporate world or business. It will take you places.
First thing you do as soon as you wake up?
I wake up and remember the almighty and then i do nothing for the next 15-20 mins. Just sit silently with a cup of coffee. After that the daily routine kicks in.
What do you hope to see happen in the near future for small businesses in the country?
I hope the processes become easier and faster. The initial stage of taking licensing and permissions should not take more than a week.
What was your biggest stroke of luck since the time you started Diona?
Proving people wrong that a 40000 sq ft space cannot work in a city like Jaipur. while getting Shivaan and Naresh with Lifestyle Asia was a masterstroke would say.
What do you typically read?/ Favourite book?
Harry Potter is my favourite ( can’t say that as a 31 year old ) , but thinking fast and slow , zero to one. These two books have helped a lot
Best boss you had and what did you learn from them?
My first job was with a US based startup eSeal. My first boss Mr Sudheer Mareddi sent me to a big meeting alone. Saying when you start you should start big and you will fail only if you think you will. That just stuck to me. I still follow the same strategy
What question do you ask at interviews?
I don’t take much interviews.
One thing you learned about yourself.
I have to keep developing something new. I just can’t sit and enjoy the benefits of a successful project. I have to start working on something new as soon as i feel the current one is on automode.
How do you keep your team motivated & engaged?
Following an open gate policy, available for everyone all the time.A proper communication with everyone is more effective motivator than anything else.
How do you maintain work/life balance?
Once a new project starts , the work life balance goes out for a toss for sometime. But I try to spend at least 2 days a week properly with family.
A childhood memory that shaped something you do in your business today?
I was never inclined to become a businessman as a child. Wanted to be a doctor like majority of my family. So no childhood memory helped me shape into the businessman I am.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Be ready for 24/7 struggle and hustle. Just remember why you did it and never remember what others say about your dreams and visions