Welcome to the Emirates Woman weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and businesswomen both based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths that led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.
This week we chat with Darshna Soni Siroya, founder of lab-grown diamonds brand, Hadine. Born and raised in the UAE, She comes from a family with a legacy in the jewellery industry in this region and globally. “I was drawn to the process of creating beautiful, high-quality diamonds at a fraction of the cost,” she explains.
Without sacrificing on quality, lab-grown diamonds have grown in immense popularity over the years as they continue to be an ethical route for purchasing new diamonds. Designed with attention to detail, Hadine also customises bespoke pieces according to the customer’s preference.
Emirates Woman sat down with the jewellery designer to find out more about her creative process and what inspired her to launch her own eponymous brand.
What was your favourite subject at school?
My favorite subject in school was Creative Studies and Business. It combined my interests in the arts and commerce and allowed me to think creatively in a business context. The class was always dynamic and interactive and opened up a world of possibilities. The subject was made even more engaging by my teacher’s approach, which included real-world projects such as school marketplaces where all proceeds went to charity, which provided me with an opportunity to apply my knowledge and develop my skills in a meaningful way. It was not only academically stimulating but also enjoyable.
What was your first job?
My first job was as a trainee in my father’s gold factory. It gave me valuable experience as I gained a broad understanding of the manufacturing process. It was challenging as I was the only woman in the team, but I was determined to prove myself to my father and show that I had what it takes to work in the industry. The most important skill I acquired was attention to detail, as every piece of jewellery requires precision and care in its creation. It was quite demanding, but it allowed me to grow both personally and professionally.
What brought you to Dubai?
I have a strong connection with Dubai as I was born here and after completing my schooling in India, I returned to call it home. The diversity and visionary leadership in Dubai are truly inspiring, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of it. From the towering skyscrapers to the bustling markets, this city never ceases to amaze me and I am constantly discovering new things to love about it. It’s a place where anything is possible, and I am excited to be a part of its growth.
What inspired you to enter the lab-grown diamonds space and launch Hadine?
My love for jewellery and my desire to shake things up in the traditional diamond industry led me to enter the lab-grown diamond space and launch Hadine. Growing up, I felt that the traditional jewellery industry was not welcoming to women and I always saw men at the forefront of the industry. But, after working with my brother-in-law and learning more about diamonds and the business, I realised that I had a knack for it and a passion for it. I saw an opportunity in the market for a more sustainable and ethical alternative to mined diamonds and I was drawn to the process of creating beautiful, high-quality diamonds at a fraction of the cost. With my love for sustainability, it was a no-brainer. So, I decided to create my own brand and bring a new wave of ethical sourcing to the industry and thus Hadine was born.
Talk us through the inspiration of your pieces.
My pieces are inspired by nature, art, and fashion. I aim to capture the mesmerising radiance of diamonds and enhance their natural sparkle by drawing inspiration from the colors, patterns, and textures found in nature. The way light reflects off a diamond’s facets and the sparkle it emits is truly an optical phenomenon that inspires me. Additionally, I strive to create pieces that are not just beautiful but hold personal and emotional significance for my customers. I take inspiration from their unique stories, memories and feelings to craft one-of-a-kind pieces that are a reflection of their individuality.
What are the key elements of your role?
I am the founder, so I wear many hats. My role encompasses a variety of responsibilities. These include establishing partnerships with diamond suppliers, supervising the production process, formulating marketing plans, communicating with customers, hiring and managing my team, and monitoring the financial performance of the business. I take great satisfaction in interacting with customers, which is a key aspect of my role as a founder and a driving force in growing my business.
Talk us through your daily routine
My daily routine helps me get into a flow state that unlocks my ability to be effective and productive every day. From getting a decent amount of sleep to starting the day with an energetic workout. As every day at work comes with its challenges from personally going to the production unit, sourcing diamonds and designing pieces for my customers. In this I equally keep myself updated on world affairs and educate myself about the diamond industry. Followed by some quality time with my friends and family.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?
My advice for anyone looking to start their own business would be to fully believe in their product or idea, conduct thorough market research to understand the industry and target audience, develop a comprehensive business plan, be prepared to adapt and pivot as necessary, and never give up. It’s important to work hard, be persistent and not get discouraged by obstacles or setbacks that may arise. It’s also important to surround yourself with a good team, this will help you share the burden and make better decisions. While the most important advice is to not forget to enjoy the process.
.What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best advice I ever received was from my mother, who taught me to focus on progress and improvement rather than striving for perfection. She said, “Perfection is like chasing the horizon, you’ll never reach it, but the journey is what matters.” This advice helped me realise that perfection is a moving target and it’s impossible to achieve. I have always been someone who sets high standards for myself, and I often found myself becoming frustrated and disappointed when I fell short of these expectations. However, by shifting my focus to progress and improvement, I have been able to let go of this constant need for perfection. It has also helped me to be more resilient and accepting of my own mistakes and to overall be a more well-rounded and positive individual.
And what is the worst?
The worst advice I ever received was to change my behavior and personality to be taken seriously in a male-dominated work environment. It made me feel like I had to sacrifice my authenticity and individuality to be accepted. I realised that being yourself is not only important for personal growth but also for business growth as it allows you to connect with the right audience and build a unique brand.
What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
The biggest challenge I had to overcome as a professional in the diamond industry was understanding consumer psychology when it comes to lab-grown diamonds. Many consumers have been conditioned to purchase mined diamonds, and there is a lack of awareness and knowledge about lab-grown diamonds. This made it challenging for me to educate and inform consumers about the benefits of lab-grown diamonds, such as their environmental and ethical advantages. I had to work hard to overcome this obstacle by researching and staying up to date on industry trends, and by exploring different marketing strategies to increase awareness and educate consumers about the benefits of lab-grown diamonds.
What are the future plans for your brand?
At Hadine, we’re taking over the Middle East with our upcoming collaborations, pop-up events, and exhibitions. In 2023 we’re focusing on creating buzz and making sure everyone knows about our beautiful pieces and vision. But that’s not all, by the end of this year, we’re going global with the launch of our E-commerce platform, so you can shop with us from anywhere in the world! But we don’t want you to wait too long, mark your calendars for our Valentine’s Day special drop on February 7, 2023, it’s going to be a sparkling one for sure. Keep an eye out for Hadine, we have big plans, and you don’t want to miss out.
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