Lobsang Choden Lama is the founder of Dhanashri Jewellers and has been working in the jewelry business for over a decade. She has a keen eye for design and is in tune with the changing tastes and trends in jewelry. Lobsang is one of the few Nepali women to initiate her own diamond and gold jewelry business. We caught up with her to learn more about her experiences in the jewelry world.

 

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into the jewelry industry?

 

I married quite young and for a while I got busy with my family and children. I really wanted to do something with my life. Jewelry is something I have always been interested in and have some idea about, so I decided to turn my passion project into a business and I have never looked back.

 

At first, I started buying and selling traditional Tibetan ornaments. There are certain pieces of jewelry that hold great cultural importance for us in the Sherpa and Tibetan community.

However, more than a decade back the government defined these ornaments as antiques and

banned their buying a and selling. I then started working with diamond and gold. Initially my customer base was largely my own relatives and friends and my business grew mainly through their goodwill and word of mouth. For the initial decade I worked on a much smaller scale. My business model was to provide one on one consultation to my customers. This worked for me because I could structure my time to maintain the work life balance I needed. Now that my children have grown up and as I have built a trusted customer base, I finally decided to open my own showroom.

 

  1. Where do most of the diamonds and other stones you use come from and what kind of guarantees and services do you provide?
     

The diamonds and stones in my store come from India. All of the diamonds and other stones I use bear certification either from Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or International Gemological Institute (IGI). We frequently update our collection so our customers can choose from a wide range of designs at every price range. We also provide consultation on design, free cleaning and free adjustment as required. With the working woman in mind we also provide Equated Monthly Installment (EMI) payment plans at 0% interest.

 

  1. What are some of the challenges you have faced as a woman in the industry?
     

Owning a jewelry business independently in Kathmandu is not easy. There is lots of competition and trying to differentiate yourself is always an uphill battle. Additionally, to do so as a full-time mother and wife is definitely challenging. The journey has been exciting, exhausting but ultimately very rewarding because at the end of the day you realize that you are here, you’ve made it this far and you are still standing. I am thankful to many people within the business community including the Nepal Gem and Jewelry Association {NEGJA) of which I am a member, and my family and friends for all the support and advice they have provided over the years.

 

  1. What are some of the opportunities you see in this industry going forward?

 

Being a woman has been an added advantage for me because women make up majority of the customer base and I feel that I can relate to them and vice versa and this comes out intuitively in our jewelry designs. With the changing times and access to the world beyond Nepal through travel and the internet, the women of today have vastly different tastes and sensibilities compared to the generation before. I try to be mindful of this fact and try to incorporate that in the products and services we provide. There is a growing appetite for innovative and creative designs in jewelry and there has been an increase in people's purchasing power as well, so the future definitely looks bright.