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For Mallika Hemachandra:

Hobby becomes business

A business which started as a hobby is the success story of Mallika Hemachandra Jewellers.


Mallika Hemachandra

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 business.

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 faced?

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 a psychiatrist.

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 business.

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 company.

Q. What is your advice to women in business today?

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 exhibitions.

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 grandchildren.

We as a family live a quiet and contented life.

Q. What is your contribution to society?

A. My contribution to society is the opportunity given to women to be trained as designers and jewellery makers.

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.

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