When it comes to running a business, it takes a solid team of like-minded individuals to grow the brand.
With women at its helm, Tania Santos Silvia, founded Lala Diamonds to create “delicate, powerful and memorable” pieces for women who constantly inspire her. By working closely with each client, she ensures that the brand adopts a unique design process to represent what each wearer truly embodies.
“Your fresh air is the team you choose to work with, without them you’re just another person with an idea,” she tells Emirates Woman.
By embodying her philosophy of trust, this entrepreneur has gone through many ups and downs and knows what it takes to grow an idea into a successful brand.
To understand her inspiring story, we spoke to Silvia about her journey as the founder of a sophisticated fine-jewellery brand.
What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine?
Let me start by saying that I’m a mum of a toddler, so the first 30 minutes of my day are everything but fancy. Between waking up Santiago, or him waking me up, getting him ready for school, making breakfast, and enduring the occasional tantrum… it can be hectic. I’m all about a strong beauty and wellness routine, so in the second part of my morning, sleep takes major importance. When you’re a mum with a young son, a good night of sleep doesn’t happen that often, so I always try to get a power nap once he’s off to school. Following my nap, I go to the gym. I’m obsessed with a good HIIT workout. Work starts later in the day due to the time difference with my team in Portugal – which also means that my day ends later.
What inspired you to launch Lala Diamonds and how did you know it was the right time?
I was energised by the beauty of what nature produces and all its nuances, and how a seemingly “unappealing” rock can be transformed into magical and hypnotizing beauty. I was working very closely with the industry of rough diamonds, so during the first lockdown, I decided I wanted to create a competitively priced brand that would allow more women to fall in love with this nature-provided product as I did. I began working with my team in Portugal to develop the concept; we were inspired by all women around us and we launched the Lala Diamonds brand.
Lala Diamonds is run by an all-female team and places an emphasis on empowering women – how does this translate into your pieces?
During the creative process, we never forget our mission. We work to make our pieces delicate, powerful and memorable; alike to the women who constantly inspire us. This also allows us to work closely with our end clients to design unique pieces for themselves and their loved ones, focused on what represents our clients, their memories and emotions.
Can you walk us through your gem sourcing process and how you ensure you’re working with ethically sourced stones?
One of our main priorities is the tracking of the gemstones. We work very closely will all parts of the supply chain with the aim to guarantee their quality and ethical standards. This also gives us the freedom to choose all our partners and suppliers very carefully, with a major focus on traceability and compliance. Our products come with the appropriate Kimberly certification and are conflict-free.
What personal philosophy do you live by that you have applied in your business?
This is easy… trust! You can’t run a business alone. You need a team that you can trust, so you can delegate, and they can implement. Entrepreneurship can be time-consuming. Your fresh air is the team you choose to work with, without them you’re just another person with an idea.
You created Lala Diamonds to be an e-commerce operation – how does technology help your business to grow and how did you select which platform to work with?
Technology comes into play in many ways and it’s definitely what allows for major trends that are shaping all industries – hard jewellery is not an exception. Not only does it allow for the digitalization of processes and traceability of all suppliers; it allows us to reach a global audience. We launched our web- site about a year ago, with a strong focus on customer experience, embracing all moments of the client journey.
We know diamonds are formed under pressure, can you describe a high-pressure challenge you’ve faced and how you grew from its resolution? Can I still say COVID-19 and lockdown?
I’m sure it was a high-pressure challenge for many, and I was no different. The world changed, people changed, priorities changed too. I’m more focused on spending time with the ones I love, more focused on experiences, travel, and enjoying my freedom. I’m now more self-aware of the time we all have and how to maximise it properly.
Do you have any mentors who have guided your career and what was a key lesson you learned from them?
I’ve had a few mentors along the way, my mother was definitely the first one. She guided me to learn what mistakes to avoid in business. How- ever, for the past eight years my husband has been, without a doubt, my true mentor. He has taught me how to remove any type of emotion from businesses and investments and continues to teach me every day. One of my biggest takeaways from what I’ve learned from him was that while we might love a concept, salaries aren’t paid with love, so we also need to ensure designs work commercially.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to define their edge?
My advice is to be 110 percent sure you want to do it. Have a plan B and C. Do all the pros and cons. Sleep on it, and get advice from people with experience (both good and bad). Trust your team, you can’t do it all alone – it’s doomed to fail if you do. Finally, be more rational than emotional.
This is The Entrepreneur Issue – how has becoming an entrepreneur impacted you the most and what does being an entrepreneur mean to you?
Being an entrepreneur has enhanced my resilience without a doubt. My patience has improved massively too. It’s a “knock the wall down when the door is locked” kind of vibe. It’s not easy, it will never be, but the fun and pleasure that comes out of the fact that you’re slowly but steadily succeeding makes it all worth it. And it’s a hell of an example for my son.
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