My family is into diamond cutting and polishing business but the buying and selling activities were limited to my hometown, Surat, till the time I moved to Mumbai. I came to this city in 1990 to learn the whole eco-system of diamond trading: importing rough diamonds,
cleaning, coloring, boiling, assortment, cutting and polishing, pricing, shipment charges, custom duties, and finally exporting it to different countries etc. I worked for a diamond company for two years and learned the nitty-gritty of the trade. In 1992, I established my own company called Hari Krishna Exports and opened a sales and marketing office in Mumbai.
The initial years were tough. I use to carry diamonds in my bag and sit under a tree near Opera House, Mumbai- waiting for brokers to take me to various export firms. There was no security or guarantee and everything worked on the trust factor. In the year1993, a customer duped me of Rs27 lakh product. I had nothing left to trade or sell. I didn't give up. That day I learned to divide and apportion my risks so that a non-payment or a defaulter doesn't stop my business. I started with manufacturing and trading of round diamonds less than 0.18 Ct in size. In the very first fiscal year 1992-93, I did a business of Rs1crore.
However, the biggest turning point came in the year 1994 when a customer from Israel referred our company to his international clients. Our export increased dramatically thereafter as we surpassed our customers' expectation in terms of quality of the product and timely delivery. Year 2001 was another major turning point as we started manufacturing and trading of diamonds in the size range of 0.18 Ct to 0.96Ct and above. For the fiscal year 2002-03, we registered 200% growth on YoY basis.
I started HK Jewels Company in 2002 and launched HK Designs in 2005. We have been winning the best exporter award in cut and polished diamonds in India for past six years and with god's grace will win the award for other four years too. Our KISNA brand of diamonds, which was launched in market in 2005, is now available with 1002 retail jewellers across Mumbai, Gujarat and Maharashtra. In 2007-08 fiscal, we grew by 49% and did a turnover of Rs1025 crore.
My business differentiator is 360 degrees trust with clients, banks, vendors, and employees. The employee turn over of the company is zero. They either retire or start their own business but nobody leaves for salary issues or work conditions. We run our own kitchen-both at Surat and Mumbai-daily to provide lunch to company's 6000 employees totally free of cost. We have never defaulted on payment and always fulfilled our commitment on timely delivery of the products.
One should always value relationships. I haven't changed my accountant, who has been there with me from the year1993. Or, for that matter, I haven't left my bank whose loan rates are higher than other banks. It is because they gave me loan of Rs25 lakh in the year1993, when nobody was ready to invest a penny in my dreams.
We are looking for direct suppliers of rough diamonds as our output is depended on the import of rough diamonds. We are also looking for manpower in market research, online selling, marketing, and modernize our IT infrastructure.