When Anna Dimond started her business with her sister Eran in 1996, the young women didn’t think twice about the challenges that lay ahead of them.
“We didn’t stop to think about it,” says Dimond. “If you think about the challenges and pitfalls of starting a business, you’d never do it.”
And Dimond certainly has gone through some challenges to grow Palas into the successful jewellery company that recently came in at number 49 in this year’s Smart50 list of fastest growing companies.
She lost her sister Eran suddenly in 2007, hit some rough financial times the same year and was faced with the enormous task of completely rebranding the company on her own.
But for somebody who doesn’t “do anything by half measures”, Dimond has turned Palas’ fortunes around and set the company on an impressive growth trajectory.
Over the last three years the company has grown by 47.09% to reach an annual turnover of more than $2 million.
She sat down with Women’s Agenda sister publication SmartCompany to talk about healthy eating, the importance of mentors and why you’ll never find her sitting on the couch.
Dimond wakes daily at 6.30am and gets her two daughters – Coco, 6, and Lola, 12 – ready for school.
After dropping the girls off, Dimond tries to get down to Good and Grains – a fresh food store in the Adelaide markets.
“I have a beetroot, carrot and kale smoothie,” says Dimond, who began a health kick a year and a half ago.
“They also make these chia seeds balls and bars, so I get one of them and a veggie salad for lunch.”
Despite being the head designer, Dimond doesn’t spend much of her time designing jewellery since she “put the CEO hat on” a few years ago.
“The designing is absolutely the tiniest part of my year. We bring out two new ranges each year in February and August where we’ll have 100 new styles,” she says.
“I pull the whole thing together in about two weeks.”
Day-to-day, Dimond spends more time focusing on the financial side of the business and says she has done a lot of work with mentors to have more control over the strategic growth of the company.
Dimond sees two mentors privately and also attends monthly meeting with her entrepreneurial group, Behind Closed Doors.
She says having a mentor can be very useful to an entrepreneur, but it has to be the right person.
“You have to have that synergy of personalities. They need to be the right people and need to ask you the right questions.”
When Dimond started to come to terms with her sister’s passing she pulled the business apart, whittling it down to just herself and one other person, and re-thought everything from the processes to the concept.
“I was moving forward and it kept me busy. It was an opportunity to show myself how strong I could be. I couldn’t design like she could, but I threw myself into spiritual readings and the messages and affirmations helped me,” she says.
“I’d never really been through a tragedy, but it gave me a lot more life experience and showed me what doesn’t break you does make you stronger.”
Dimond says she’s a big believer in working hard and has always had a full schedule, with little leisure time, by choice.
“I’m not the sitting down on the couch type person,” she laughs.
Each day, Dimond finishes up in the office at 5pm, and three times a week she has a personal training session.
“I do altitude training. It’s been six months and I’ve been going three times a week. I also pick up my kids one day a week, but my husband and the kids’ nanny also help out,” she says.
“Then I get the kids sorted, help with their homework, take the dog for a walk, do the washing, my husband cooks and then I’m back doing work when the kids are in bed from 9pm until midnight.”
Like most entrepreneurs, Dimond likes to use her time efficiently and chose altitude training because it makes your body work harder in a shorter time frame.
“You’re operating at 3000m … It’s like working out for 1.5 hours, only it takes 45 minutes.”
On the weekends, Dimond likes to socialise and she still loves to travel.
“I go interstate for trade fairs and I travel to Indonesia three times a year to my factory. I’m off to New York in a couple of weeks too. Travel is a big passion of mine and I’ve dragged my kids all over the world with me.”
Dimond says strategic growth is the plan for Palas Jewellery in the coming years and she is looking at expanding into the US and Middle East.
“There is some great potential there, so I am spending some time looking at that.
Her best piece of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to “listen to your gut”.
“If you’re passionate about what you’re doing don’t let people shake it out of you, but be realistic about your numbers, commercial viability and sign up with mentors.”
“Even if you’re not a numbers person, absolutely make yourself one. If you have a partner, at least have one of you who is on top of the numbers. You can’t move forward unless you have a realistic picture of your finances.”