Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in jewelry but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Virginie Roy, founder of Proud Diamond, located in Montreal, QC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Proud Diamond is a Montreal-based online jewelry brand. We design and distribute lab-grown diamonds. Our mission is to introduce a kinder, more intentionally sustainable, and ethical alternative to blood diamonds. We aim to create a world where the value of a diamond is about where it comes from and what it stands for. Proud Diamond represents a new era where all diamonds are made by people, for people.
Millennials and Gen-Z are more conscious than ever about what they buy. They focus on high quality and strong company values, and as such, they make up a large proportion of the Proud Diamond customer demographic. We offer them a brand that aligns with their socially-responsible values. Otherwise, our customers are diverse and gravitate toward us because of our unique, eye-catching designs, quality, and workmanship.
Tell us about yourself
Like many of you, I have long wrestled with the question of what I would do in life to make a lasting impact on our world and how I would leave it better for my two sons to inherit. I walked different paths until I found the one most true to me. I explored careers in television, advertising (SidLee), and hospitality (Airbnb), and finally, I found myself where I began- in the heart of the diamond industry. My grandfather, Marcel Dumontet, generations before me, worked in the diamond industry, and I spent my childhood captivated by his work. Founding Proud Diamond felt like a homecoming for me. It celebrated everything I stood for and loved, femininity, sustainability, a dash of glam, and my family’s tradition. Coming to work every day feels like I am where I should be. It is an honor and a motivation for me to embark on this journey to revolutionize the diamond industry and make it more sustainable and altogether kinder.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My greatest accomplishment as the founder of Proud Diamond is educating people on the destructiveness of blood diamonds and introducing them to a kinder, more sustainable alternative: lab-grown diamonds. Our diamonds are 100% real, 100% pure carbon, and 100% lab & love grown. There is zero conflict and zero mining associated with them. Most people are quick to fall in love with the brand and products once they understand the message and the mission behind it, and that, in and of itself, feels like a victory. It’s a privilege to have a pulpit to preach my message and to access an audience who needs to be educated on this topic. When I truly reach them and make them reconsider their own position and purchasing power, this feels like a real win to me.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The most challenging part of being a business owner is achieving a healthy work-life balance. I am a mother, a wife, a friend, and an entrepreneur, and I take all those titles very seriously whilst juggling my own physical, emotional, and mental health. There are some days, or rather most days when I feel pulled in every direction- between school drop-offs and meetings. To avoid getting overwhelmed by the chaos, I’ve learned to block off sacred time for myself to regroup and recharge my creative juices, as well as precious story time every evening with my children and one-on-one time with my husband to reconnect. To reconcile personal commitments with the demands of entrepreneurship, I’ve learned to lean on my husband and my teams heavily to get it all done. But above all else, I prioritize hard work and discipline in all spheres of my life so that I can be where I want and need to be professionally and personally.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Surround yourself with an A-Team, both personally and professionally. The people within your inner circle should be invested in your well-being and the success of your company. My husband, colleagues, partners, and my close circle of friends are aligned with my goals as much as I am, and that kind of support helps me reach my goals faster.
- Listen. Seize every opportunity to learn and grow. If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.
- Do. Dream big, plan, execute, and repeat. There’s no room for overthinking.