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A Perfect Balance

by Webmaster Masala

Krishna Patel is a multitalented woman who wears many hats and loves every single one of them.

By Ashima Sethi

As Krishna Patel greeted me at the door of her spacious riverside abode, I was struck by her warm and laidback demeanour. Sporting a stylish black jumpsuit without a pearl out of place, she spoke with so much wit and vigour that it immediately made me feel like I was catching up with an old friend. I soon realised that it was her innate ability to connect to others that has made her so successful in her roles as the Founder and CEO of Krish Events and co-owner of long established gems and jewellery company Krish Creations.

As a relatable and down-to-earth 21st century powerhouse, Krishna’s busy schedule is frequently filled with ups and downs that she happily views as “experiences worth more than any social or financial gain.” Her impressive journey begins with her early work in the family business leading to finding her own ground in the competitive world of jewels. However, not one to settle down into a single career path, her passion for event management also led her down the road to become one of the country’s most respected Indian wedding planners.

And that’s not all this avid multitasker does. Her magnetic persona and unfaltering can-do attitude has also resulted in a positive personal life, as Krishna often fi nds herself cycling between the roles of a loyal daughter and daughter-in-law, loving wife to husband Mehul, and a devoted mother to her son Mihir.

Masala sits down with this multifaceted all-rounder to understand how she perfects the impeccable balance of always getting it right.

As an established entrepreneur, did you always dream of becoming a businesswoman?

I grew up watching my parents build their businesses, so the thought of leading a life of leisure was something that went against the grain of what I was familiar with. I have always been driven to find and follow my passions.

How did your upbringing lead you down the path towards entrepreneurial success?

The opportunities in education combined with my husband and parents’ unwavering support helped shape my career path. Growing up, my siblings and I witnessed how hard our parents worked to provide us with the most comfortable life possible, so I have always believed that it is in my genes to work hard.

What was your first business venture and what were some of your experiences?

My family had a business that exclusively dealt in colour stones and that is where I began my training. We had many exciting opportunities, including an occasion where we made jewellery consisting of over 100 carats for a Middle Eastern royal family.

However, after I completed my studies at Mahidol University, I decided to branch out on my own, establishing a division of the company that exclusively dealt with diamonds called The Diamond Trade. It was going well until I faced a fraud scheme, where a broker tried to steal and pawn off a lot of diamonds. It was a setback, but I collaborated with members of other companies who were also affected, and we managed to put the fraudster behind bars. This difficult experience helped me develop more confidence in myself.

So how was Krish Creations established?

In 1998, the same year I was married, Krish Creations was incorporated into the company. We mainly exported diamond and colour stone sets, but with a constantly changing market, there was great potential to learn new approaches. For example, there was an incident where a worker discovered how to weld surgical steel to silver, gold and titanium. This was a fi rst for Thai-based businesses and it allowed me to branch out into body jewellery, where I began with 10 styles, which two years later grew to 10,000. Nowadays, because the market has been squeezed by foreign manufacturers, we’ve phased out of body jewellery. Instead, we’ve kept our focus on single colour stones, exhibiting them at various trade fairs.

It is never easy to mix personal and professional relationships. How can people maintain strong ties with their family while also working with them?

Working with family has both perks and drawbacks. I have been brought up in a very close-knit home, and being the eldest child, I have always taken it upon myself to retain the strong bond that I share with my siblings. All four of us have agreed that the best feeling is knowing that our parents are happy.

I am also very close to my mother and I am my father’s assistant whenever he needs me. But the best way to keep family ties strong is to make sure we give each other some space.

After achieving continued success in the jewellery trade, what motivated you to join the Indian wedding industry?

My parents were always hosting events, and they made sure me and my siblings took on an active role in helping them. This made me realise that I took great pleasure in assisting others. When I planned my youngest sister’s wedding, I finally realised my love for events, as the process came very naturally to me. I loved the adrenaline rush that came with quick problem-solving and thinking outside the box, and so I established Krish Events.

What are the challenges that come with being a wedding planner?

Definitely time management, as we don’t work nine to five hours or have the luxury of taking weekends off. Before in the age of emails, it was much easier to disconnect, but now with WhatsApp, we’re always expected to be on business mode. Planners are also expected to play many roles, including the crisis manager or creative director, so it is imperative that we always stay calm and collected.

On the other hand, what do you enjoy most about your profession?I love being able to meet and work with so many different people, including my dedicated Krish Events team, the vendors that share my vision, and my clients who leave me on top of the world with their appreciation. During a wedding, I also get to watch the couple sitting in the mandap, and I know in my heart that I have created a fairytale that they can cherish forever. I think about these times often and they always make me smile, as I know the care I’ve extended towards these families will be remembered long after the wedding is over.

How do you predict the Indian wedding market in Thailand will evolve over the years?

The event management industry is evolving very quickly. Thanks to groups like the Thai Indian Wedding Association (TIWA), many more hotels now want to be a part of the Indian wedding market, as it’s a business that will continue to flourish, despite fluctuating economic trends. I also believe Thailand will continue to be a leading destination for many reasons, including its value for money, superior hospitality, incredible venues and experienced vendors that have everything to offer.

You were featured on a show called Dulha Dulhan Destination that showcased destination weddings around the world. What was the experience like?

I actually worked in collaboration with a friend who is a TV producer to create the show. In 2015, I completed two seasons of Dulha Dulhan Destination, which featured 15 weddings planned by Krish Events. Each episode showcased behind-the-scenes action and emerging trends, introducing viewers to all the valuable players that contribute to a successful wedding. It was a great opportunity to share stories, and I even got the chance to give fun facts, helpful tips and insights on what to do and avoid when planning a wedding.

In addition to your businesses, what other ventures have you explored?

I’ve been the Gems Tower Building Director for more than 10 years and sometimes it has its perks. For example, I had the chance to rent part of the lobby to open up my own vegetarian café. It ran successfully for five years, but because events took up so much of my time, I couldn’t fully commit, so I decided to shut it down.

Do you believe career-oriented businesswomen are moving in the right direction?

Definitely! Nowadays, there are so many prominent businesswomen with pivotal roles in the workplace. These women are educated, talented, confident and hardworking, which are all the qualities that entrepreneurial women need to fulfil both office and household duties. The emergence of computers and mobile phones have also made it easier for women to work from home and have more flexible hours in order to achieve stability between work and family life.

On top of your career, you are also a dedicated wife and mother. What’s the trick to striking the perfect balance between work and family? The trick is to prioritise what will maintain the harmony in both my personal and professional life. I used to put too much pressure on myself to be perfect in every role. On top of running my businesses, I wanted to clean my home, be able to cook up gourmet meals for my family and be involved in Mihir’s afterschool activities. But let’s face it —there aren’t enough hours in the day, so I stopped worrying about all the little things.

As a working mother, you should never feel guilty. In fact, you should be proud that you are inspiring your children. I am very thankful to have a husband and son who support everything I do. When Mihir was in elementary, I was the class parent for many years just so I could feel connected to him. Even though he is a high school graduate now, there are still occasions where I feel like a total ‘helicopter mom.’

With a busy schedule, how do you maintain such a positive attitude?

I love what I do and I’m blessed to be surrounded by people who motivate me to do well. I like to think that our attitude is what makes a big difference. For instance, it started raining very heavily at a wedding we planned, and we had to move the mandap indoors. The father of the bride then made a speech, saying, “we cannot change the weather, but we can change our attitude.” Sure enough, the ballroom lit up with smiles.

I’m sure free time is very valuable to you, so what do you do on your days off?

I enjoy staying at home, reading, cooking or watching Netflix. I also love spending time with my friends and family as I see them as my sanity.

What tips can you give women who want to become entrepreneurs?

It’s never too late to pursue what you want, as everyone has different paths in life, so make sure to follow your passions and do things that give you inner happiness. Always believe in yourself, and whatever the endeavour, make sure you are all in, as there is no halfway route to success. In terms of skills, multitasking is key but so is self-discipline. If you stay dedicated, you can transfer all your dreams into realities.

What do you hope to achieve in the future?

As author Peter Drucker once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” In my first ever interview with Bangkok Gems & Jewellery Magazine, I was asked what I would want to be if not a jeweller, and I responded by saying an event planner. Now, I would like to begin organising events in different parts of the world. I have done them in Dubai and Oman, and I am looking forward to exploring Europe very soon. I like to think that I’m in the business of creating memories and that’s what I want to continue doing. I look at my work as my identity, so making people happy is my greatest achievement.

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