Interview with Ashish Joshi

Ashish Joshi, Kama Schachter, Mumbai

Ashish Joshi, Kama Schachter, MumbaiAshishbhai, How did you start your career in Diamond market?
Started in 1998 as an Accountant for a Diamond Trading company. My friends suggested that I should consider Diamond related profession to grow in career. So I started spending half day as Accountant and other half as Diamond Assorter. Slowly started Assorting and getting involved in trading activities. Took about 2 years to spend 100% of my works hours as Diamond Assorter.

After 4 years of hard work, one fine day came to know about opportunity at Kama in a newspaper. I decided to attend interview however was not sure about what would happen next. Colin Shah took my interview and I was selected.

For next 5 years I worked closely with Colin Shah. He himself trained me on all fine details of Assorting and all numbers. I kept working hard made progress and eventually was asked to do Diamond buying. Since last 6 years I am mostly spending my time in Diamond buying related work.

Do you consider anyone as a Mentor inside Diamond Industry?
Its simple answer – Colin Shah is my guide. I still have to find anyone who can match his style. He keeps whole team on same page. Informs us about all ups and downs and almost all important things going on inside company or market. He shares his insight about how prices are behaving in market which helps in making right decision.

How was your experience during 2008 slowdown?
Everyone in market was facing uncertainty crisis. Buyer Seller Broker Trader everyone was worrying about what will happen to prices.  Many big companies went through Job cuts but me and our whole team had complete faith in our company and were assured that we will have our job. It was nice to know that we were part of company which would care about employees in tough time. We were staff of about 1000 people. Not a single person lost his job. While many companies were cutting salaries as much as 25%, we got planned increments in salary and Diwali bonus too.

Many of these companies which did job cuts were making huge profits for years and they were not able to hold their people in bad time which lasted not more then 6 months. We were very sorry for such actions in market.

In tough times one comes to know real picture and I would say 2008 slowdown only went to strengthen my faith and trust in my company.

What do you think about present position of Indian Diamond Industry in global scenario?
India is leading manufacturing base for global Diamond market. The number of skilled force and years of enterprising experience makes it one of its kind. I doubt if any other country is even close to what we have achieved. Equally true for Jewelry market. In addition in recent years we have seen in growth of Indian consumers. All factors look very good.

Can you please talk about some distinctly – good and Not-so-good – elements you have seen in last 12 years of Career?
Not-so-good thing – horrifying job cuts during 2008 recession. I have never seen so many people being disappointed in Diamond market. As I said earlier, I wish, these big companies would have somehow managed to support their people and not leave them in middle of crisis.

There were Job losses even outside Diamond Industry, but In personally feel companies inside Diamond market have a family like touch. There is more connection between people socially. Hence it was very steep curve for everyone to face.

Good thing – I dont know about other Industries but Diamond Industry is full of people who care about each other. Business and competition are in their place, but behind all such serious business you will still find people who stay together and care about each other. I know one boy who use to work as an Assorter and he unfortunately faced some major health condition. He was definitely not in position to afford good treatment. In no time I saw many coming together and contributed to solve the problem. You will find many such small & big stories inside our market.

Any major changes do you for-see in next 3-5 years?
BKC is trending. We will hear many companies moving their base to new place in coming days. Prices are seeing lot of pressure and probably there will be corrections. Export side of markets have lost steam. Domestic market is growing strong day by day.

Any tough decision you have taken in recent time?
A small incident occured recently – I was following Single cut prices since Oct but in less then 6 months prices appreciated almost 50% . Numbers decided previously in client’s requirement were not feasible anymore. We made a decision to have samples ready with some changes. My boss personaly visited clients in US, showed samples to clients. Clients understood that they were getting best as per situation and they liked what they got.

what are your leisure activities?
I like to travel. I am always planning some trip with family, keep looking for more and more travel.

Any other message you want to share with readers?
For some reason there is some bias with respect to whether buyer Domestic or international. A stone that is sold at very reasonable price to international client but offered at higher price to some Indian member. This thing is very common across many major big time suppliers. I want to request community to think about it. It will be much better place if there no such bias in business.

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