Many do not need an introduction to Samir Bhansali—celebrated jewelry designer and successful diamond trader. But to me, he’ll always be dad.
My father is larger than life, and he lives life just like that: with a zest and passion for everything he does. In the early 80s, my father immigrated to the United States from India. With little in his pocket, he and my mother worked hard to become the most notable dealers of the (then popular) princess cut diamond in the LA Diamond District. Clients loved doing business with him because of his charisma, straightforwardness and style. His old clients called him the Giorgio Armani of the industry, and even my family friends called him Versace Uncle when we were kids.
Growing up, I loved going to our office. It was filled with a lot of movement and energy, with everything moving faster than anyone had time for. We would walk fast, talk fast, and eat fast, moving from office to office while we did it. Each day was a blur of my dad on the phone, tea and coffee at client’s offices, and of course the afternoon industry gossip session at the local food court.
My favorite thing about shadowing my father in those very young years of my life was watching the respect, warmth and joy people had around him. It felt so genuine. Years after he left the industry, I still remember someone stopping us on the street to shake his hand and tell us how much he missed him. It occurred to me at that moment that very few people in this world have the ability to leave an indelible mark on what they touch, and my father was one of the few people.
And so, just as big dreams and long lasting relationships are values that guided my father, the same is true for me. I am eternally grateful for the influence he’s had in my life: shaping the designer, businesswoman and human I am today.