Interview with Niyati
Tell us about yourself & your business?
I am Niyati and I run my own bespoke, and ready to wear diamond jewellery company called Niya K. We do a lot of ready-to-wear pieces of jewellery that are under 30 000 HKD, but the main part of the business is customized pieces. 70% of our business is customizing pieces because everyone is different, just as their dream jewellery!
How & When was your idea born?
I grew up in a family that was in the garment business. I studied and worked in art & fashion for many years before turning to jewellery. Before having kids I had a full-time job and worked 11 hours a day, but once I became a mother I wanted more flexibility. My husband’s family has been in the diamond & jewellery industry for decades so that gave me the backing I needed to get started. Stars aligned and 8 years ago I started taking small steps further to create my jewelry business and 4 years ago I registered the company & got started. Last two years have been amazing, we’ve seen significant business growth.
How do you balance this time between work and family?
It is not easy at all. I start really early in the morning with going to yoga from 7 to 8 am, from 9 to 5 pm I work, and then from 5 to 7:30, I am with the kids until they go to bed. It is a constant balance between managing work & the kids. But the great thing is that there are days I can take the whole day off & be on holiday with the family or choose to work and not see them. I love that I can be the one to decide how & where to use my time best.
What was your motivation to start your business?
I believe there is a lack of affordable bespoke jewellery for everyday wear. Our strength lies in being there for the customer no matter how big or small their request is. People care about all those small little details that make a service personalized, and I believe that personalized, yet affordable service is what makes our clients choose Niya K over and over again.
What was the most challenging part of starting your business?
I think it was and still is to figure out how to do all the digital marketing: social media Website, SEO…etc. I had no idea to start with and I still require help. My strong suits are Design and working with customers, but I am not trained in marketing, especially digital one.
So, what is your marketing strategy now?
I do some pop-up events, about one every 6 weeks that help meet new customers. But I would say it is mostly through word of mouth. I have Instagram, Facebook, a beautiful website but I believe it's mainly word of mouth that helps my business expand. The best thing about our product is that each customer loves to wear and flaunt it so in some ways the product markets itself.
Tell us about was your first client?
I cannot remember, however, there are few customers who’ve been with me for a really long time. They recommended me to their friends and family and that is how I created my first client base. Some of them even moved out of Hong Kong, but they still are recommend my services.
What are the core values of your business? What do you want your clients to think when they buy your jewelry or when they wear it?
I would want them to think that my business is ethical, personalized and that I'm very approachable. I love that my clients are open with me when we are designing something based on their dreams and wishes.
What are the smallest pieces you offer?
Funny enough, at the pop-up stores, the moms who come and pick something for themselves, always told me 'oh I don't have anything for my daughter'. To make them and their daughters happy we started a line or girls enamel earrings: it is $500HKD a pair and in 18K gold.
What do you find the most difficult part about running your business?
Time management is hard. I always feel like I can do more for my business, but then I also have to look after my kids, do something for my house and the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, I am not somebody who can switch off easily. Sometimes I find myself still working at 10 pm, which is not the best but I guess that is what you do to make everything work! The thing about running your own business is the more time you invest the more you get out of it.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of having your business?
I’d say the biggest advantage is flexibility, however, it can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. If my kids are on holiday, I can still take some time off, I can go to see a school performance, or go to Bali to do yoga for 5 days, for example. Nevertheless, it requires a lot of balancing between your personal and business time.
How do you feel about marketing in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is a competitive market, definitely! But it's a good place to start in my business, diamonds are popular here. There is a high demand for various types of jewelry from small to large pieces.
Finally, do you have any bits of advice for women starting their business in HK? Something you wished you knew before starting your business 4 years ago?
I wish I knew more about the world of the internet and everything related to marketing. It took me so much time to set up my website, to figure out all the little details. A little knowledge can take you a long way, the best way to learn is to go to networking events, go to a seminar that is specific to the topic you are struggling with.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! It is such an inspiring business story!
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