Female Disruptors: How Nidhi Dangayach and Nityani Riziya are shaking up the diamond industry

Authority Magazine
Apr 28 · 7 min read
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Implement — there’s no better way to test your idea. An idea is just an idea if it lives on the whiteboard. In the past couple of months, we’ve learned that it’s OK to feel one way about an idea today and to feel completely different about it the next. If you feel strongly about implementing a new plan, quickly evaluate the pros and cons and don’t fear testing it out to see if it’s something that would make sense for the long term. Not every idea will stick, but implementing something and getting direct customer feedback is the best way to learn.

had the pleasure of interviewing Verlas Founders Nidhi Dangayach and Nityani Riziya. Nidhi and Nityani are based out of NYC. Nidhi has worked with global FMCG brands (Mondelez International, Coca-Cola etc.), consulted start-ups and learned the traits of the diamond trade from her father for over a decade. She is a Graduate in Diamonds from GIA in NYC. Before starting Verlas, she worked with one of the top 3 diamond jewelry manufacturers in the world as a marketer and helped launch 2 brands in brick-and-mortar stores. Nityani has over 5 years of first-hand experience in the diamond industry, working very closely with her father in understanding the nuances of the business & trade.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

idhi: We’re the second generation of Diamond Traders. When speaking with family & friends and observing market trends, it was obvious that behind the veil of beautiful looking websites, we had an under-served audience struggling with transparency in the product, its price, and the supply chain. When looking for high-quality diamonds, customers were leaning on trusted designers or local jewelers and when constrained by budgets, they were compromising for lower-quality. Either way, they were not confident if they were getting the right value. At the get-go, we just knew that the industry overall was very complicated and daunting for all age segments.

We created Verlas to introduce transparency in prices, and eliminate designer markups on high-quality jewelry, so the world can experience the perfection of designer diamond jewelry without the designer premium. It took us about 9 months to debate and carefully articulate what we wanted to build together and craft a plan to realize our shared vision.

As a new D2C brand in a trending industry and a rapidly expanding competitive set with similar value propositions, product offerings, and digital experiences, Verlas had to stand out as a differentiated offering. Our goal was to make designer diamond jewelry more accessible than our customers had ever imagined it to be, paired with the quality they’ve come to expect from brands such as Tiffany & Co., Cartier and the like.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Nidhi: We wanted to marry the physical experience of a luxury product with the convenience of a digital platform that was just as personal and elevated.

Verlas brings proprietary 3D viewing technology called ‘Every-Angle-View’ that enables our online users to view diamond jewelry as they would in-store. We also bring the convenience of a Try-at-Home service to add more confidence to our client’s final purchase. Thinking ahead, we also wanted to ensure our clients’ ever-evolving choices and preferences are covered by Verlas Care — an add-on 5-year warranty that gives clients access to Verlas’ premium suite of services such as Upgrades, Buy-Backs & Repairs. And finally, we provide all of this with the transparency our customers want — in pricing, and in sharing every detail about the product and its craft.

Verlas simplifies the process of customizing diamond jewelry. We only offer VS & SI clarity diamonds in VG/EX cuts in H/I colors because we believe this combination brings the best value to our customers without sacrificing quality. Every design can be fine-tuned in a variety of carat weights and metals to look dainty or statement-worthy, depending on the occasion or budget. To know if it’s true love, customers can order a Try-at-Home kit with 3 replicas of their choice before deciding which ones they want to commit to. This convenience is complimentary and we pay for shipping both ways.

The insight behind offering Verlas Care as an add-on was in knowing that our customers love interacting with their favorite brands in a transparent and ongoing way, similar to Apple. Client needs are ever-evolving and we understand that choices in diamond jewelry evolve too. Committed to offering the best of the best, we offer our clients the choice to Upgrade to a new piece of Verlas jewelry as many times as they wish or even sell their Verlas jewelry back to us if they grow out of it — it is all made possible under Verlas Care.

Finally, our Verlas Concierge has trained professionals guiding and educating our customers around the clock! Given the high value and sentimental nature of the category, personalized help and attention have helped us establish trust, validate the quality and give consumers the ability to interact with products before buying. Our customers are recognizing the value we bring to their decision-making and we’re seeing a lot of success with the specialized model we’ve built.

We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

Nityani: We’ve had many mentors throughout our journey and continue to seek mentorship from CEOs, Founders, and Investors in our network. We’ve both mentored one another along the journey to bring the best out in each other and make Verlas successful.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Nidhi & Nityani:

The only way to do great work is to love what you do. We know it will sound cliched but this is true in every way we can think possible. We wake up and go to sleep with just one thought — what are we learning about our customers and how are we going to make their experience with Verlas worth cherishing.

Implement — there’s no better way to test your idea. An idea is just an idea if it lives on the whiteboard. In the past couple of months, we’ve learned that it’s OK to feel one way about an idea today and to feel completely different about it the next. If you feel strongly about implementing a new plan, quickly evaluate the pros and cons and don’t fear testing it out to see if it’s something that would make sense for the long term. Not every idea will stick, but implementing something and getting direct customer feedback is the best way to learn.

Don’t make Perfect the evil of Good. We took Verlas through a branding and rebranding exercise very quickly within a year. We wanted to put our best foot forward and present our customers only with what we truly love. Together, we spent hours evaluating Verlas through every critical lens we could — understanding our strengths and planning to overcome possible pitfalls. But you know what? It’s never going to feel enough. Perfection is an iterative process. If something feels right, allow your learning curve to teach you the path to perfection, and your clients will help you along on this journey.

How are you going to shake things up next?

Nityani: We have a roadmap, but we want to spend some time listening to our clients and understanding what they are looking for. They’re asking us all the right questions and the more they do, the closer we will be to implementing our next BIG IDEA!

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

Nidhi & Nityani: ‘The girl with a broken neck,’ Radhika Gupta was born with a birth defect (a broken neck) that deterred her confidence and self-esteem in her formative years. Everyone is tested by life, but only a few extract strength and wisdom from their experiences. From almost committing suicide when at Wharton to selling her co-founded company to Edelweiss in her 20s, and then becoming CEO of the same company that acquired her firm — she has proven to be an extraordinary leader. For someone as young as her (she’s only 37 years old), she accelerated her journey to success by keeping her demons behind her and finding power in her capabilities & resolve.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Nidhi & Nityani: ‘Nothing is Impossible!’ The moment we tell ourselves something isn’t possible, we move away from creating something new.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Nidhi: “Life is a balance between talent, discipline, design, and passion.”

As a luxury brand trying to solve a deep-rooted problem for our customers, it will take consistency & discipline to follow through our plan. Being perfect won’t be enough if we can’t sustain it.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Instagram @verlasofficial

Thank you for all of these great insights!

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film…

Authority Magazine

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Good stories should feel beautiful to the mind, heart, and eyes

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Authority Magazine

Written by

Good stories should feel beautiful to the mind, heart, and eyes

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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