India’s Transformational Leader 2019 – Atul Saraf, Aisshpra Gems and Jewellery
Beginning early like in most traditional run family business of that time, I was guided through the ropes by my father Shri Bal Krishna Saraf. Today after 42 years in the Jewellery industry, I echo the same what I was taught all my life, the power of Ethics. Ethics is a belief set in the mind that decides what is morally right or wrong. Well flanked with past experiences, a variety of cognitive biases, an escalation of commitment and socio-economic stats, my foundation was well laid in the Hari Prasad Gopi Krishna Group.
A project or an accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career?
Aisshpra conceptualized in the year 2003, is a project very close to my heart. When other traditional players in the jewellery industry were trying to consolidate their business, we thought of transforming a jewellery house into a brand. The idea was brought into reality in the same year and Aisshpra was launched as a diamond jewellery brand.
How do you integrate corporate philanthropy or corporate social responsibility as a part of your business strategies?
Corporate Social Responsibility lets companies put their money into helping society prosper while illustrating that business is not just about making profits.
I have integrated corporate social responsibility as a part of the company culture by establishing a set of values and a sense of relevancy to explain them.
This can be related to health, wellness, education , diversity and any social cause I value as an individual and want the team to believe in.
By regular participation in internal and external projects related directly to Corporate Social Responsibility, I make sincere efforts of the CSR values which needs to be encouraged,.
What has been your driving force or philosophy in life?
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”, said Albert Einstein. Passion is the energy that keeps me going, that keeps me filled with meaning, happiness, excitement and anticipation. Passion is a powerful force in accomplishing anything we set our minds upon and experience work and life to the fullest extent possible.
Ultimately, passion is the driving force behind success and happiness that allows us to live better lives. MY STRONG BELIEF IN THE DIVINE POWER KEEPS ME GOING.
What are the other philanthropic works you are involved in?
Following are the few philanthropic works we have been a part of:
Adoption of two schools- primary and high school.
Jewellery Gifting to the underprivileged brides for Group weddings held in remote areas of the periphery of the town.
Sponsoring higher education of the brilliant students who are underprivileged and needy.
Created a favorable place and environment for Yoga promotion in the city.
Our team was a also a part of the Flood Relief camp happened in the outskirts of Gorakhpur City in 2017.
Felicitation of wrestler “Mr Bajrang Puniya”
Beautification of Police Booths and many other streets and junctions in Gorakhpur City.
How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?
According to me, success is chain of goals because there is no shortcut to get success. If we have achieved one goal the we should move to our next goal so that our journey will keep going with full dedication.
Success is defined by who we are and the person you aspire to be. In today’s society, people are always comparing each other’s success but the goals you set for yourself can only be achieved through your own hard work and perseverance. Self satisfaction is the biggest judgment for success.
We are constantly making things better, faster, smarter or less expensive. In other words, we strive to do more with less. Tell me about a recent project or solution to a problem that you have made better, faster, smarter or less expensive?
We strive to do more with less which is very visible by not taking the short-cut to brand building. We chose to amplify our values and our beliefs as Aisshpra rather than take on the service of a Bollywood start to cash in on the initial euphoria that they create.
Built on the grounds of Honesty & Trust, the 78 years old brand aims to fulfill the combined needs of the jewellery consumers in all respects- product, service and information such that they appreciate the value of all they derive and think of Aisshpra fondly as their preferred choice for generations to come.
Aisshpra introduced MirrAR, augmented reality Mirror which is an excellent addition to the series of experience our brand provides. MirrAR, an app which caters to the high end customers of the brand, gives freedom from the hassle of wearing jewellery pieces each time and still seeing how it looks on your neck. It therefore also liberates the customers from geographical barriers and an Aisshpra Bride can therefore try on her wedding jewellery from any part of the world. MirrAR is the first ever technology brought by Aisshpra in Uttar Pradesh. It works purely on real time where a person just have to bring their face in-front of the tech and system snaps their their face to show them in jewellery and then conveniently swipe to see multiple designs
In your opinion what is the most significant aspect of leadership?
Any business needs leaders who are honest, committed and highly approachable. Leaders of companies who are under a constant watch and followed are idolized by the employees. A strong emotional connect with the employees is one of the most significant aspect of leadership.
Your perception of an empowered society. How far your industry has/ can contribute for the same?
Empowered society is my dream where every human is healthy, happy and knows his rights and duties. We try to give back to the society which gave us the opportunity to grow.
One thing you wish to change and one thing you wish to retain about your industry?
One thing that I wish to change is that there should be same embracement and trust while buying diamond jewellery that a customer has when he buys jewellery from us.
One thing that I wish to retain is that the Jewellery forever should be looked upon as an asset and be a means for the beautification among the upcoming generations to come.
One thing you have to let go off as an entrepreneur/leader?
Whom do you owe your success to?
To the unity of my family and the extended Aisshpra family (the employees)
Best thing about your job?
Meeting people from different walks of life and having the opportunity of holding out a helping hand.
A message from you to all the future entrepreneurs/leaders?
Create a set of ethical values by which all should abide.
Never compromise with goodwill and growth and success follows itself.