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Meet Asit Shah of Zazzy Box

Today we’d like to introduce you to Asit Shah.

Hi Asit, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My name is Asit (pronounced “Ah-sit”) and I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. My grandparents immigrated from India in the late 1970’s and moved to Houston by way of New York in pursuit of the American Dream. While my grandfather studied Civil Engineering at the University of Houston, my grandmother worked at factories and as a baby-sitter to help make ends meet. Overtime, she decided she wanted a more flexible lifestyle and financial stability to support her three children. That’s when she realized that employing five generation’s worth of experience in trading fine jewelry and loose diamonds by opening a diamond importing and wholesaling business in Houston would be the solution to her problems. Originally a means to help finance her son’s Muscular Dystrophy, my grandmother started by working from her car and selling her small diamond inventory to jewelry stores in Houston. Fast forwarding nearly 30 years, Mody International ( has grown into a trusted diamond dealership that supplies jewelers worldwide.

After I graduated from the University of Houston with a BBA in Management Information Systems and Supply Chain Management in 2017, I was dead-set on pursuing job offers in my dream industries, Aviation and Technology. One day, my dad casually stated that joining the family business and learning the diamond trade would offer me more opportunities to grow in the long-run. He said that, “In business, there are no limits”. I really didn’t want to work in the business and at the time, and swore that I wouldn’t set foot in their office. Being the natural salesman he is, my dad’s casual comments convinced me.

By March of 2018, I started learning the business of trading loose diamonds. And for the first year, I genuinely hated every aspect of the business. The only reoccurring thought I had was, “Why in the world would anyone fork-over so much money for a diamond?” To add, working in a small-business was not what I expected. I was incredibly isolated, I couldn’t figure out how to make myself useful, and my parents weren’t entirely sure what to do with me. All they knew was that they needed help to grow their online presence. After the first year, I hit my lowest point of frustration. I was determined to leave the business and then realized that if I wanted to be hired in another role, I needed to demonstrate that I did work of value at my current job. That’s about when my mind started to connect dots.

As opposed to making an effort become fluent a completely new language (trading diamonds), I focused applying what I knew about information systems and supply chain management in small, actionable ways. I found an inventory system that was cloud-based and integrated it into our existing paper-operation. The process of listing thousands of diamonds taught me how they are traded, all the characteristics, how they are priced, and about the various realities of lending them to jewelry stores. After this arduous effort, I was tasked with helping our B2B clients adopt our mobile app. Being the first dealer in Houston to have a mobile cloud-based app meant that our customers weren’t exposed to employing a phone-based app to trade high-value diamonds. So, I went door-to-door and taught people 20-30 years older than me how to download an app and trade diamonds with us. Doing all of this changed my attitude about the business entirely and created a newfound motivation. It completely changed the trajectory of our business – our system allowed our customers to have access to our inventory at any time and in real-time meaning that they sold more of our diamonds and jewelry. It also allowed us to list diamonds in our trading networks, meaning that Mody International started selling diamonds to states all over the US and to far-away places like Canada, India, Israel, and Hong Kong. After visiting all of the stores, I started to develop an acute understanding of how selling jewelry to the public works.

That’s when I started Zazzy Box. I realized that in order to compete and stay-relevant in an online-first world, I needed to connect the public to our wholesale business. Through our collective network, we have access to over 1,000,000 diamonds every minute of the day. In our building, we had all the parts needed to fulfill custom fine jewelry products – jewelry setters, jewelry findings, appraisers, shipping vendors, and of course, the diamond dealerships. And best of all, we have two inherit competitive advantages over traditional jewelry retail stores – our overhead is low allowing us to maintain a low-cost operation and we own the majority of the diamonds we sell meaning that we can buy competitively and sell at prices that beat big-name retailers like BlueNile and JamesAllen. So, I started selling fine jewelry via my retail company, Zazzy Box. My parents weren’t entirely onboard with the effort, so they didn’t lend me money or financially support the endeavor. I invested about $2,000 into the business in 2018 with the hopes to become their largest diamond buyer and of course, a modern customer-first fine jewelry store.

What most people don’t realize is that unlike other industries, gaining access to product is difficult. Vendors are EXTREMELY cautious about who they lend access to diamonds to. I spent the first two years developing trust with vendors so that Zazzy Box could be supported by a reliable supply chain. Today, Zazzy Box is on track to achieve $1M in sales within a three year span via my favorite product, Zazzy Private Client. Last year, we were approved to begin selling fine jewelry on Amazon and this year, our development team has started the meticulous effort to develop a website. Now, I’m making an effort to grow our private client base nationwide and to build an eCommerce product line inspired by local artists.

I started in the fine jewelry business with my dad’s casual nudge and initially hated every aspect of the business. Being an outsider helped me learn the business with alert-eyes – kind of like a baby learning how to be human. Now, I love being a small part of such a big moment for so many couples nationwide. Rogue as I am, I’ve made it my goal to become the largest lab-grown diamond retail jewelry store for Men’s fine jewelry and engagement rings in Houston. I’ve also noticed that the majority of the jewelry stores in our metro have their selling approach all wrong. I want our supply chain to match how Houston buys. Everything from our inventory to our branding is being curated to serve the nation’s most diverse population – content and services that support Houston’s Everyday Extraordinary doer’s. I’m extremely excited to design a product-line to better serve people from minority backgrounds, non-traditional families, LGBTQ couples, and a population with mindful, forward-thinking budgets. After all, it’s you that brings our diamonds to life!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The road has been rough. Most people don’t know the hurdles that a custom-fine jewelry store faces to make their engagement ring or fine jewelry project a reality. The reality that every jeweler face is that we can never have EVERY diamond available for a customer in-stock. Diamonds are extraordinarily expensive to stock. As such, our industry and online-retailers work on a consignment system. This means that we borrow diamonds from wholesalers to show to our customers. I started when I was 24 and for a new-bee like me, $2,000 was definitely not enough to stock any diamonds. Not to mention, I had no credibility in the industry. So it proved to be a difficult task to gain trust and the right product for my customers. I started by using my family’s inventory to grow our product line and used their reputation to consign diamonds. Slowly, I’ve gained a list of credit references and access to new dealers worldwide to better serve my clients.

In addition to this struggle, I’ve also had to learn how to market my services in an extremely-competitive industry. To stand out, I’ve used my personality and my family’s personality. As opposed to contributing to saturated content of modeling shots and jewelry shots, I’ve tried my hand at creating videos that help my clients understand how to approach buying diamonds. This took off well with our base and we’ve decided to pursue building on this effort.

It’s also incredibly isolating to start a business. That’s why I co-founded Entrepreneur’s in Motion (EiM) – a diverse collective of young professionals that work in, lead, or own small and medium sized businesses and non-profits in the Houston Metro. We connect the low-key underdogs who champion the American Dream and rejuvenate America’s small business landscape. We’re hoping to build Houston’s largest network of small-business owners under the age of 40.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Zazzy Box is an American family-owned fine jewelry store founded in 2018 by Asit Shah as bridge between a long-standing wholesale diamond dealership in Houston and jewelry shoppers looking for fairly priced custom fine jewelry. Built on a foundation of over five generations of luxury goods experience, our ancestors have served Indian royalty and everyday heroes alike with one purpose: to see our customer’s smiles out-shine top-quality diamonds. The Zazzy Way: Earn an honest living through fair pricing. GIA certified diamonds. Handcrafted fine jewelry. Free insured shipping. 30-day returns. Infinite love for our most valuable gemstone: YOU.

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
Believe it or not, people have not stopped buying diamonds! Last year was a strong year for the majority of our industry. As a small business owner, I’ve learned the importance of staying agile and adapting to the global business climate. We’ve incorporated a more rigorous hygiene process.

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