Disha Shah grew up in Hong Kong and majored in Economics and Management and then pursued the Family Managed Business course in Mumbai. She envisioned the majority of people to be able to afford diamonds and be able to wear fine jewelry everyday without having to spend too much on it.
She learnt about lab-grown diamonds and was amazed by how environmentally friendly and affordable they are. She now uses her creativity in a way where she can make durable, everyday luxury without compromising on the designs. Her aim is to create designs that are stylish and modern, yet timeless and lab-grown diamonds were the way to go for that. In our generation where everyone is much more practical, people want luxury without having to dig a hole in their pockets.
Her goal is to see 3/5 women wearing DiAi while she walks on the streets. I want all the women to feel empowered to be able to afford fine jewelry themselves yet be proud to flaunt being a part of sustainable fashion. In our meet the founder series, she says..
Where/How do you get your best ideas?
In the shower! Random ideas that aren’t taken on the office desk, have actually been the best!
What’s something they don’t teach you in University that you should probably know?
Most universities teach you theories based on an already existing business, that is probably doing well. However, what about when you start from scratch? How to register your company, the process and documentation of opening your business bank account, how to and how many employees to hire, managing the marketing, operations and finance side of business. These skills develop over time as you start but if they were taught, it would definitely save a lot of time!
First thing you do as soon as you wake up?
Pray. Right before I sleep and right after I wake up, I say a small prayer.
What do you hope to see happen in the near future for small businesses in the country?
Collaborations! I believe if we all support each other in some way or the other, we can all grow together, in turn grow our country’s economy. Whether it is small businesses supporting each other, or the bigger names doing the same. Also similar to the parks we visit to hang out, there should be more workplaces, which allows budding entrepreneurs to work from. Everyone isn’t privileged enough to own/rent an office space at the start of a business.
What was your biggest stroke of luck since the launch of your company?
To be honest, we have worked hard towards every small or big achievement till today. However, when we lost hope 1 year after launching the brand, since sales were not picking up, the sudden boom right after was definitely our stroke of luck! It gave us hope and motivation to do more and do better.
What do you typically read?/ Favourite book?
I used to read books but it’s been a while since I picked up something engaging. Everyday business and economics news is my regular.
Best boss you had and what did you learn from them?
He’s never been my boss, but I have learned so many business angles from him. My father. His random teachings come to me when I’m at work, stuck or stressed about a certain matter. What has stayed with me though, are his business ethics, honesty in business, keeping the customer happy and maintaining the books of every penny!
What question do you ask at interviews?
Are you passionate about jewellery?
One thing you learned about yourself?
I’m capable of much more than I ever imagined.
How do you keep your team motivated & engaged?
Every now and then, I ask them for feedback about what they’re enjoying at work, the biggest challenges they faced in the past week, what they found boring and whether they feel like they are growing. I take this feedback to see how I can add more substance to their role.
How do you maintain work/life balance?
I love working because my work doesn’t feel like work. However when personal life needs to be put on priority, it has to be done! Also, I have realised over time and after months of over-stressful days, that you need a great team for your peace of mind and it is extremely unhealthy to micro manage. Delegation is a must.
A childhood memory that shaped something you do in your business today?-
Whenever I’m low or feel unmotivated, I remember the drive of 12 year-old Disha of becoming a businesswoman and using my creativity to my absolute fullest.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
DON’T GIVE UP when the going gets tough. Keep going until you’ve achieved what you want. Also don’t wait for good luck or an opportunity to knock your door, keep hustling and it’ll come to you some day!