MAN WITH THE
With a turnover of Dh7.34 billion and 85 outlets in nine countries, it’s no surprise that billionaire Joy Alukkas, head of Joyalukkas group, believes in planning ahead. Shiva Kumar Thekkepat managed to find a space in his busy diary
He appears unassuming even when he’s the only person in a suit – “worn specially for the Friday photo session” – on the floor of the Joyalukkas corporate office in Deira, Dubai. But the moment Joy Alukkas, chairman and managing director of the eponymous jewellery group, walks into the office, every one of around 40 staff stand up waiting for his next command.
It’s an open-plan office, a deliberate ploy according to the 55-year-old. “I want to see everybody, and everybody to see me.” He smiles as the staff take their seats and resume work as if he’d given a sign that excused them.
Although he’s ranked 81 on the Forbes’ richest Indians list and is number 1,342 on Forbes’ list of billionaires, it’s difficult to identify him as such. If he was seated in a huddle with his employees in his office, you might walk by and not realise at first glance that he was the boss because, out of the suit, he appears to be one of them. And he doesn’t raise his voice. Ever.
But look carefully and you’ll spot him: he’s the one usually dressed in a plain white opennecked shirt and smiling. And why not? He has plenty to celebrate. To say he is a success would be an understatement. Joy’s group has 85 outlets spread over nine countries including India, the UAE, Oman, Qatar, the UK and Singapore. He will be opening stores in the US and Malaysia soon. “This year we’ll be opening 18 outlets in northern India as well,” he says.
Joy enjoys leaving people awestruck with his success. What stands out about him is
22 not so much what he says as how he says it. His sentences don’t end with exclamations. What he wants is to make you exclaim at his achievements. And therein lies his success.
He credits his achievement to his father Varghese Alukkas. “He opened a gold store in 1956 in Thrissur, Kerala, which was a huge success. He influenced me a lot,’’ says Joy.
“I used to enjoy being with him. In fact at the age of 15, I left school to work at my father’s shop as a salesman and learnt a lot from him – most importantly the ability to take quick decisions and stick by them.’’
Joy was born into a large family of 18 siblings. “Fifteen of my siblings – 10 sisters and five brothers – are still alive,’’ he says.
He learnt most of his lessons from working rather than school. “The time I spent at school was minimal,” he says. “All I learned in business I did from my father. I’ve never been to college and I’ve never felt that I missed anything.’’
Middle Eastern money
A major factor that helped him in business is foresight. In 1987 when Joy and his five brothers who initially comprised the Alukkas jewellery group in Kerala were still a team, he was intrigued by the wealth that expatriates in the Middle East were sending back to Kerala.
Sensing a lucrative market, he made a trip to the UAE, gauged the gold-buying potential of Indian expats here and managed to convince his more conservative brothers to make a foray into the region. “Instead of sending the money
Setting a target is important to realise your dream, says Joy