Hobby becomes business
A business which started as a hobby is the success story of Mallika
Mallika Hemachandra speaks to the Daily News Business on her success
story. Excerpts of the interview.
Q. What is your business and how do
you set about it?
A. Jewellery is my
In my business we identify a specific market. Understand the customer
and design jewellery in our design studio.
Thereafter we manufacture the items in our production factory at
Hokandara and retail them in our showrooms.
Q. How do you balance your family
life and business?
A. I have conveniently
located my residence next to my office and showroom. This cuts
travelling time to a minimum.
This allows me to have more time to spend with my children,
grandchildren and friends.
Q. What were the challenges you
A. Being widowed when my
children were nine and eleven I was compelled to shoulder the full
responsibility of bringing up my children.
My late husband Dr. P. Hemachandra worked in a Government hospital as
The pension I received was insufficient to provide for my children.
So I had to pursue my hobby, jewellery designing and make it into a
This is a male dominated industry.
However with the blessings of my mother and father I ventured into
the jewellery business.
I went to England and completed a course in jewellery making and
designing for three years.
I came back and started the business.
My first jewellery shop was in Horton Place.
Q. What are your goals?
A. My goals are to further
strengthen the business of which my daughter is in the front line
managing the full business.
By profession she is a management accountant and runs the business
with her management team.
My son who is a British qualified IT consultant helps in the business
in a big way by managing our computer systems.
Our idea was to bring in girls into the jewellery industry. We have
been successful in this goal as our company is dominated by females.
Q. As a woman was it an advantage to
be in business?
A. It was not an advantage
to be in the business as a woman when almost all in the industry were
men. However I progressed with the support of all the staff in the
Q. What is your advice to women in
A. My advice to women in
business is to believe in oneself and understand what you want to
achieve at home and in business.
Set out a clear plan with clear objectives and put into place a
strategy to achieve these objectives.
Monitor and evaluate on the run have the courage to make necessary
changes as you go along to reach the target.
In a business profit is what you get in return. In your personal and
family life the profit is happiness.
Q. What were your achievements in
business and family life?
A. My achievement in
business is that the business had a steady growth.
It is a very st able business with around 150 staff who are
supportive and contribute to the growth.
I also won the Gold Award for the Woman Entrepreneur of the year in
1997 in the medium category presented by the National Chamber of
Commerce Sri Lanka.
I have also won several awards from gem and jewellery shows and
From a family perspective as an individual I have achieved all I want
to have in life and live happily.
As for family, my two children are happily married and I have five
We as a family live a quiet and contented life.
Q. What is your contribution to
A. My contribution to
society is the opportunity given to women to be trained as designers and
Later on in life once these girls get married and have children they
have the opportunity to be self employed being at home and contribute to
the family income. Furthermore over the past twenty five years or more I
have trained people in the jewellery industry at educational, training
institutional level and at the university level. My contribution to
society on social welfare projects is a silent part of my life.