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

Friday - - Society -

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

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