To most of us, a doodle is just a doodle. But for Houman Omidifar, a childhood attraction to drawing without rules has led to success as a small-business owner.
The Iranian born entrepreneur, who was raised in France, owns Houman Jewelry Design in Coronado. "My parents (had) a jewelry store, I grew up around it as a kid," Omidifar said. "But I also always was into arts and did drawings and things with my hands as a kid. When I was in high school, I already knew that this is what I wanted to do."
Omidifar, 33, started the business in 1998 in Nantucket, Mass., with $1,000 from personal savings. In 2000, he moved into ~ workshop in downtown San Diego, and in 2003, moved once more to Coronado. His signature work, the Luz collection, is designed around 12 emotions associated with falling in and out of love. Pieces range from one with rubies signifying passion to twisted hearts that appear to disappear. At least nine pieces have been unveiled. The
last few remain works in progress.
Watching his business grow has been especially rewarding for Omidifar, who averages 75 to 80 hours a week at work and reported revenues of $390,000 in 2005. "I don't have any children, (so) to me, this business is like watching my child grow,"
Reason for getting into business:
- I always had (an) entrepreneur mind and designing jewelry is my passion.
How I plan to grow the business:
- By designing and creating unique pieces that no one else has, by producing uncompromising quality and by offering a very high level of service.
Biggest plus of business ownership:
- Knowing that all the hard work that I do goes toward further developing my own company.
- It takes a lot of sacrifices and long hours, plus carrying the risk. .
Biggest business strength:
- My vision, my drive and my ability to stay focused.
Biggest business weakness:
- Wanting to micromanage everything.
- Luz collection.
Smartest business decision:
- Luz collection.
Toughest career decision:
- The move to San Diego. .
Biggest ongoing challenge:
- Keeping up with my own vision and the challenges that I create in design and in business. I always try outdo myself.
The most important part of my business:
- My staff.
My business works best when:
- Everyone is happy.
Best way to stay competitive:
- Always try to create new and innovative designs and products.
How I measure success:
- When I actually see my customers' face and eyes glow with happiness when they receive or wear my designs. When I am in a public place and strangers stop me and recognize the jewelry that I am wearing or when everyone is talking about the jewelry. In one simple word I would say, "recognition."
Goals yet to be achieved:
- To have the name and brand Houman known and recognized by everyone in the United States, Europe and Canada.
My five-year business plan:
- To have three more boutiques in the United States.
I would sell my business only if:
- I couldn't ever sell.
Guiding principles I will continue to follow:
- Do what I love and enjoy to do, create and design. I can see that my passion and art touches other people.