Leaving his family business, how this law graduate built a Rs 5 crore diamond manufacturing, wholesaling business

In 2006, Saurabh Khandelwal started Dhanvi Diamonds, which deals in manufacturing and wholesaling of diamond jewellery. In 14 years, the brand has become a well-known name in North India spread across seven states and 150 stores in Delhi-NCR.

Saurabh Khandelwal, Founder, Dhanvi Diamonds

In 2005, Saurabh Khandelwal was running a garment store to get some hands-on experience in running a business. Coming from a family of jewellery business, he knew that eventually, he would have to follow the same path. However, he didn’t want to get swayed by the age-old traditional business model. Saurabh decided to venture into a completely different business format without the influence of his older generations. 

In an interaction with SMBStory, Saurabh says, 

“My grandfather, Lala Banarasi Dass started the silver and gold jewellery trading business in 1956 in Lakshmi Nagar, East Delhi. When my father, Ashok Khandelwal, entered the business, he expanded it by opening a retail store dealing in all sorts of jewellery including gold, silver, and diamond. Even I joined the business in 2005 after running the garment store for a year, but I wasn’t satisfied doing the business.”

And, in 2006, Saurabh founded Dhanvi Diamonds, which is a totally different entity from the family-run business. 

Edited excerpts from the interview.

SMBStory (SMBS): Why did you found Dhanvi Diamonds and what is the business about?

Saurabh Khandelwal (SK): I started my entrepreneurial journey from a garment shop my father bought. But, I felt retailing didn’t suit me.

You see, when we sit in shops, we have to wait for our customers to come and purchase a product. Retail is something where you have to wait and this forced me to dwell into something else. 

After a period of research, I thought of entering into manufacturing and the wholesale of diamond jewellery where I will visit my potential clients and get the business done. 

This is how I founded Dhanvi Diamonds with a bootstrapped capital of Rs 25 lakh. 

Dhanvi's necklace collection

SMBS: From where do you source the materials and who are your customers?

SK: All diamonds are sourced from Surat and Hong Kong. We manufacture the jewellery through a third-party unit located in Mumbai. We have tied-up with these facilities on a job-work basis. 

Usually, manufacturing units have a CAD team responsible for designing jewellery. However, most of the times, we provide them with the designs, which are either best selling or sought after in the market. 

My clients are mid-sized jewellers spread across seven states in North India, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Delhi-NCR. In Delhi-NCR, we are present in 150 retail stores whom we wholesale the pieces of jewellery. 

Dhanvi Diamonds recorded a turnover of Rs 5 crore in the last fiscal year. 

SMBS: How are you surviving the cut-throat competition from large jewellery brands – offline and online?

SK: We do not cater to large jewellery brands like Malabar and Kalyan Jewellers. Our focus is on the mid-level jewellers who target customers who are able to spend a portion of their income on designer jewellery as our price-point is low compared to larger chains. 

At one place where online platforms like Bluestone or Caratlane give 450 designs every quarter, changing 10 to 20 percent of their inventory, we release new designs every month. Even though we have kept our prices low, we sell every piece certified by IGI - the highest degree of certification in the industry. 

Dhanvi's ring and earrings collection

Jewellery business is largely built on trust and faith, which are not synchronised in the industry thereby, creating a lot of hurdles for us as a professional institution, and calls for us to be on our toes to match up the demand. 

SMBS: What are your plans ahead?

SK: Dhanvi is a known brand in northern India. Our future plans are to have recognition internationally. Very soon, we shall capture the southern, eastern, and western part of India, and our team has already started planning to go overseas.

We are also planning to launch our online platform ‘Premio’, which will focus on premium and low price jewellery between Rs 5,000 and Rs 25,000. 

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)


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