Mr. Sanjay Shah, Owner and Director of Gold Star Ltd Diamond Pvt in Mumbai, India, honors us with his opinions on the most pressing issues facing our industry today.
1. What would you do professionally, if you weren’t working in diamonds?
I toyed with the idea of technology research and development - creating new and innovative products, but the draw of the diamonds was just too strong.
2. What is the best business advice you received when you were starting out? Did you recognize it as great when it was given, or did you have to use it later to understand its wise nature?
Well, when I entered the business, I was always advised to believe and trust in diamonds. Don’t rush – wait for the right value, as every stone is precious.
I was skeptical at the time – since diamonds are not perishable or destructible, I thought, how many can one consumer purchase in a lifetime?
Although many of us (including my mentor, who originally gave me the advice) have lost some confidence in the business, given its current state, I learned over the years that every woman’s dream is to posses a diamond – it’s a status symbol and will endure for that reason.
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3. What is your best strategy for triumphing over difficult times?
Be smart - stay away from foolish competition.
Stay low on stock and receivables, as when good times come, you should be in position to grab the opportunity to purchase, thus maximizing your return on investment.
4. What went wrong in our industry that led us to this challenging time?
I believe we were conned by miners with illusionary, misleading data which caused us to stop promoting diamonds and rather focus on increasing retail.
Departing from our forte and business plan was very much to our detriment.
When we hit times in which consumers are not in mood to spend, it is better to be conservative on production and promote sales collectively, rather than producing and adding stock to the pipeline.
5. Can the diamond industry be saved? How?
First, promote diamonds to bring profitability to manufacturing.
Next, curtail stock level. Understand the consumption of diamonds and produce accordingly.
Third, recognize that there is a separate market for synthetic diamonds, and there is space for that too. It’s not a crime and it has its place. Work on branding to make real diamonds distinct.
6. What is your vision for the future of the diamond industry?
I’m afraid that my current outlook is rather bleak, given the way current industry players are self-focused rather industry focused.
7. How do you think young diamontaires can contribute toward making a better world?
The younger generation should work toward controlling production, increasing promotion and avoiding unhealthy and unnecessary competition.
We can still steer back to profit from diamonds, rather than attempting to earn from other avenues which are not our core competency.
8. Why diamonds?
Diamonds: A woman’s best friend. You can’t express love better than with a diamond!
They are the only brilliant product created by nature. Diamonds are rare, and it takes millions of years to produce one. They are not only hardest substance, but also significant efforts go in to producing brilliant diamond jewelry.
It’s a sign of affluence.
Mr. Shah is a third generation DTC Sightholder and lives with his wife, son and daughter in Mumbai. He has 29 years of experience in the diamond buisness.