Starting early at the age of 17, Colin Shah has today has built a jewellery business model that is spread across India and China, and employs a 1200 strong multi-cultural workforce.
Tell us briefly about your journey into the jewellery industry.
John Lennon's, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans", rings a bell with me. Hailing from a family of doctors, I was gearing for a career in medicine, but was destined to have a career in diamond jewellery. With a diamond grading course from the International Gemological Institute as a starting point, I began manufacturing jewellery for local needs and exported to the Gulf. That's how I started 'Kama Jewellery' in 1996, which is now known as 'Kama Schachter'. What started with 40 employees and a small manufacturing unit in suburban Mumbai is today one of Asia's top 10 manufacturers, exporters and retailers of diamond jewellery.
What challenges did you face in carving a name for the brand?
Being a first-generation entrepreneur had its own set of challenges, which included learning the tricks of the trade, establishing credibility among the customers and associates and setting up a professionally managed jewellery company. Over time, and armed with a passion for jewellery, overcoming challenges came naturally and Kama emerged as a fast growing business module.
The online jewellery space has picked up speedy momentum. How has Kama ensured a strong foothold for itself in this space?
Having pioneered the business of diamond jewellery manufacturing for over two decades, Kama entered the retail space in India. Kama's brick and motor store and its web store www.kamajewellery.com were seeded in 2013. Our web store offers excellence in diamond jewellery shopping and more than 1000 stunning designs to choose from. Competitive pricing, excellent customer service and innovative designs have been our strengths.
What makes Kama different from its competition?
For over two decades, Kama Schachter has been combining unparalleled craftsmanship, technical processes and innovation in all its creations. And while ensuring high quality of products, we also adhere to the professional standards of certified jewellery, on-time delivery and timely customer support. We pride ourselves on driving rigor, operational excellence and enhanced customer value.
Kama Jewellery is serious about its corporate social responsibility. Can you share some thoughts on that?
As a socially responsible entrepreneur, I always wanted to make a lasting, positive difference in the lives of those around me. In the move to do something for the society, as an Individual and as a conscious company, we worked towards empowering those with special needs. 10% (and increasing) of Kama's workforce is powered by the differently-abled.
At Kama, we not only train and treat them on par with everyone else, but we also make them self-sufficient. They are motivated to earn a living for themselves. Activities like yoga, English training, teaching basic reading and writing skills are undertaken to boost their confidence and overall development.
What are your plans for the brand in the next five years?
In addition to the organic growth through our B2B distribution, we foresee enormous business potential in the areas of retail, e-commerce and corporate gifting; we are looking at expanding our business through these outlets and becoming a global company that manufactures, supplies and sells diamond jewellery.
—As told to Shraddha Shirodkar