She’s young, ambitious, and super stylish. Payal has been taking the jewellery world by storm with her brand L’Dezen, which she started when she was straight out of college. Born and raised in Hong Kong, this jet-setter lives in Belgium and travels the globe for jewellery shows. Her gorgeous jewels have been worn by many celebrities in India and abroad. This month, we caught up with this young entrepreneur to find out what keeps her going.
What’s your story?
I was studying architecture in London, but I really wanted to get into a space of larger designs...something with infrastructure. I grew up in Hong Kong, so skyscrapers and structures always fascinated me. So I finished my graduation and returned to Hong Kong. I then worked in hospitality for a year, while also helping out my parents who are in the diamond business. It was then that I came across some unique stones that I didn’t see a lot in the market. So I did a small line which I showcased in Vegas at a show, and it got a great response. From there on, I never looked back. I have always had a business side to me...I’m a hustler and have always loved marketing, being social, and showcasing brands. It’s been six years since I started, and the rest is history!
Your parents are in the diamond business. What role has it played in you doing what you are now?
I never got into it because of my family. The only reason I got into it is because I had my own vision. The jewels I design are not very generic, but people who have a certain type of eye will love them. I am my father’s customer, since I buy all my materials from him. That’s about it. But having been raised by a family in the same industry, you do have that sense of trust of people based on the heritage, and I owe that to my parents.
You started the brand when you were very young. Has this worked in your favour?
It’s been great. The good thing is when you’re young, you’re willing to learn and juggle a lot of things at the same time. But 21 is a very young age; you’re still maturing and it can get a bit intimidating to be in a multi-million dollar business. But overall, it has worked very well for me!
You’re such a jet-setter. Where do you feel most at home?
I feel at home in Belgium, Hong Kong and India. But I can go to any country and blend in. When I go to Istanbul, feel like I’m Turkish. When I am in Hong Kong, I speak in Chinese. When I’m in India, I love wearing big tikas and earrings. If I were to be an animal, I’d be a chameleon because they blend in with their environment (laughs). I love being a local everywhere I go. Every culture has the crème de la crème, but the majority is ordinary, and that’s where the true essence of a culture lies.
What is the most exciting part of what you do?
I have met the most incredible people thanks to my work. For instance, last summer I met Ottavio Missoni in the Hamptons, which was super exciting.
Best piece of advice that you have received over the years?
Attitude is everything. Be approachable, professional, and humble.
What is the toughest part of the business?
I’m a girl and I have an emotional side. Over the years I’ve understood that men in business might be ruthless, but they still have a sense of solidarity. Women in business are extremely competitive, and it can get difficult at times to be supportive of each other. And this can get quite stressful. But having said that, I am lucky to have all the amazing women I met through work around me.
– as told to Suneela