Shakti Kumar Begani , the founder of Shree Ganapati Jewellers located at Bishal Bazar, is not a new name in the jewelry industry of Nepal. General Secretary of the Nepal Gem and Jewellery Association, he is also a trade committee member of the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce & Industries (FNCCI). Begani always had a keen interest in both traditional and modern jewelry designing. He exemplifies hard work and determination, inspiring those who want to be successful in their careers. Shakti Kumar Begani talked to Namuna Dhakal, giving us an insight into the jewelry business and the challenges that lie ahead.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Born in Biratnagar and brought up in Kathmandu, I did my schooling and finished my college education here in the capital after which I got into the carpet business. I was more into designing, playing with colors and traveling from the very beginning of my business career. Along with the carpet factory, we started manufacturing pashmina shawls as well. We used to export pashmina shawls and carpets to the international market through the exporters.

What inspired you to get into this business?

Both the carpet and pashmina businesses were doing well till it became difficult to run the factories because of the then Nepali Civil War happening. It led us to jump into the real estate business. Again I was searching for the best platform where I could perform to the best of my ability in creating and designing. So, I entered the world of jewelry. Another reason I got into this business is because it was an easy exit, since selling and buying gold in Nepal is similar. I chose jewelry because it is a steady, never ending business. In the Nepali culture, gold is preferred in every occasion including naming ceremony, rice feeding, wedding ceremony, and in some cases even for funerals. Designing and buying/selling process can change but this business will never die.

How long have you been involved in this field?

I started Shree Ganapati Jewellwers in April of 2010. At the time I was the treasurer of Nepal Gem and Jewellery Association, we managed to organize a Gem and Jewelry Fashion Show in 2014 in which we had invited Rabina Tandon, one of the most successful Bollywood actresses of the ‘90s as the showstopper. The main purpose of the show was to promote Nepali traditional jewelryin the international market. We also sponsored the crown for Miss Nepal 2015.

What kind of services do you provide to your customers and from where do you import diamonds and other stones?

We provide buy-back guarantee to our customers. It means that if you buy jewelry from our shop then you can sell it back to us at the same cost as when you bought it. People buy jewelry to celebrate special occasions, but they buy gold mostly as an investment, so that should any financial problem arise, they can sell it. So for the customers, buy-back guarantee can be the best service. We import diamonds mostly from India, color stones from the local markets and gold and silver from the banks. Both Nepali and Bengali goldsmiths contribute to our jewelry making. For organizational growth, I think the management and the employees should get equally and actively involved. We regularly provide training to our staff and conduct meetings to discuss strategies for providing quality products and customer service.

What are the opportunities and challenges you see in this industry?

Gone are the days when most of the Nepali people used to prefer 24 carat gold rather than 22, 18 and 14 carat jewelries. Nowadays people have been globalized and are up to date with the outside world and the destination weddings and off season weddings are happening. So the jewelries are sold and bought at any time, which is good. As for challenges, the main problem in this industry I see is the exporting. We don’t have clear legal provisions and sufficient infrastructure to explore and use the gold mines available in our country and we are requesting the government for it. A large number of talented youth are leaving the country, and as a result there is slow development in every sector. Another equally challenging task is to make a profit. The profit you get is only in the making of the products. However, if you focus on designing, coloring and customer service, you can succeed. In my opinion, to sustain yourself in the gem industry, you should get regularly updated on designs and trends. Lastly, determination, patience and hard work will always pay off sooner or later.