Karats Jewelers of Kansas City is operated by Akshay Anand, President & CEO. Most people would consider him a dynamic individual, and a powerhouse when it comes to customer relations and marketing and within the jewelry industry. He has expanded his families business from its genesis in New Delhi India to the Kansas City area of the United States. His family heritage comes from a long line of Jewelers, as Akshay is the 6th generation to promote the traditional family business.
To develop his expertise as a jeweler, Akshay acquired his Diamond Degree from the Gemological Institute of America in New York in 2001. He earned his bachelors degree in Marketing and Business Management from Northwest State University in Maryville, Missouri.
This innovative young man had a new vision for his families long well-established business. Soon after his graduation in 2005 Karats, Fine Jewelry had its origins in the United States, and the next generation made its mark and took its place in the family history.
Akshay did not go mildly into this noble families business. As Akshay assumed his entrepreneurial role, he embraced his leadership, and ambition with fervor. He had no doubt that he would build his business to become the largest fine jewelry store in his market. He engaged himself in many projects, building relationships with the leaders of commerce and becoming a pillar of strength within his community.
Akshay Anand’s vision has come to fruition through his hard work and demonstrated industry savvy. He travels internationally to attend international jewelry shows and to acquire store inventory. He showcases top designers wedding rings. He guarantees the highest quality diamonds, as he owns a diamond grading computers which provide state-of-the-art diamond testing.
Karats Fine Jewelry is the premier destination jeweler in the Kansas City market. It boasts the largest selection of engagement rings and wedding bands by top designers in the area. They are also known for their choice watch collections.
Above all, Akshay has created Karats Fine Jewelry to be a place of opulence and comfort for an exquisite customer experience when choosing one of the most important purchases of a lifetime.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
After graduating from college, I wanted to expand the family business and to bring it to new heights. I brought the business to the United States. I started here from the ground up. I always wanted to have my business name as Karats, even from childhood.
How do you make money?
We sell beautiful engagement rings to some very lucky brides. Karats is best known for our huge watch selection and our beautiful engagement rings.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
It took a good five years to become profitable. This is not an easy business. There are a lot of moving parts to it. Also, I started the business in 2005 and the economy crashed in 2008. It was about 2010 when we were financially comfortable.
How did you get your first customer?
My first customers were friends that I’ve known for years in Kansas City, as well as friends from college who knew of my endeavors and they supported me and believed in me. Also, the Kansas City Star wrote an article about me as an Indian Immigrant who came to the U.S. and started his own business at a very young age. After that article was written the community followed me and supported me from the very first day, and I am very grateful.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
We are heavily involved in the community. I believe that a personal touch and building relationships and lifetime friendships are more powerful then any marketing can do.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
The toughest decision that I had to address was in dealing with an employee who was a destructive hero. He was a hero because he was so good at what he does. But, at Karats, we work as a team. This employee did not work as a team. It was a hard decision, but we had to part ways.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I think it is resilience is what keeps me successful. I have to work harder, and I fight to the end for what I want. I don’t give up. I think it is a virtue. I think my mother would call me stubborn. But that attribute has worked very well.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I think that is when I see my customers and friends and family members share those memorable moments because they got something from Karats. It could be an anniversary present or even just a present for a friend, or a present for someone who is going to have their first baby, it is the fact that I can be a part of that. It is worth a million bucks. We are the first step to people creating their lives together. To be a small part of that give me joy.
What does the future hold for Karat Jewelers? What are you most excited about?
Karats is growing and expanding. I am excited because we will be expanding to a single standing building. Even though we are the largest locally owned jewelry store in Kansas City, we would like to see Karats have a much larger footprint in the community which will stand for generations to come Our business is about relationships not just for now, but for future generations. I believe that building that one store will accomplish that.
What business books have inspired you?
Good to Great by Jim Collins is my absolute favorite book. It talks about how a business really grows because you have good people. It has taught me not to hire the best salespeople, but to hire smart people who really care.
Also, Malcolm Gladwell, he is an intuitive, The Tipping Point and David and Goliath
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
Mac and going complete Apple. It synced all of our databases and iPhones. Everything works together. I can access information on my customers even when I am not in the store.
What makes you the engagement ring superstore of Kansas City?
We have over five thousand engagement rings and wedding bands on the premises. The rings are top designers. Additionally, we have a huge diamond selection and inventory. So when people think about engagement rings they look at Karats Fine Jewelry as the primer destination for selection, service, value, comfort, and price.