Believe in Yourself to Succeed: Ali Pastorini

Ms. Ali Pastorini, Senior Vice President of Panama Diamond Exchange (PDE) and Vice President of World Jewelry Hub (WJH) now needs no introduction for global gems & jewellery industry. Basically an aspiring sports person in her early 20s from Brazil, happened to fall in love with glittering beauty of the gems and diamonds where she gradually graduated herself in the subject and scaled the enviable heights of success within a short span of time. At the tender age of early 30s, Ali besides winning the above prestigious positions in WJH & PDE, runs her own jewellery business along with her partner Dione Lima.

A rare combination of brain and beauty, Ali also possesses leadership, administrative and marketing skills. A determined person, Ali does not work or do things without believing that they would succeed. Here we bring the success story of Ms. Ali Pastorini, the owner of ‘Del Lima’ jewellery.

What were your backgrounds, experience and qualifications in the jewelry field before you opted to enter this sector?

ALI PASTORINI: My first love used to be basketball, which was a sport that I played from age 10 to age 22. But it was several years ago, during a trip I made to South Africa, that I was introduced to gemstones. I was absolutely captivated.

The colors, shapes, natural beauty and their use in jewelry fascinated me, and was I motivated to begin studying gemology. This led to me traveling to several other countries in Africa, and to learn as much as could about their gemstones.  It was around this time that time that I met some of the important gemologists in our industry, who today I have the pleasure to consider personal friends.

Back to Brazil I visited several mines in the northeast to keep improving my knowledge in the field. At the same time my eventual partner, who is also Brazilian, was studying in a gem school, but at the time she considered it more a hobby than a business prospect.

That career in jewelry came later, after we began experimenting and getting good feedback from the public.  We had both been happy in our previous jobs and weren’t planning to leave them, but suddenly – and fortunately – we realized that there were real business possibilities in what we were doing.

When and why you decided to launch Del Lima?

ALI PASTORINI: We decided to launch officially in January 2012, and obviously before that we studied everything that we could to understand the market and succeed.

Setting up a business isn’t only about knowing diamonds, gold and colored gemstones. You have to learn about the business itself, set up strategies for varied situations, create an advertising and marketing plan, and execute a range of things not only to get to market but also to sustain your brand. It’s not simple.

We were very deliberate and had been working on the project for a while before we launched.

Say something about Del Lima and your business partner…

ALI PASTORINI: Dione Lima is Brazilian like me and she is the creative brain behind our operation. As the demand for our jewelry began to increase, we decided divide responsibilities. She would take care of the design and I would take care of business strategy and the expansion of the brand.

Dione used to be partner in an architecture company in Brazil and her hobby is painting. I couldn’t find a better partner. We constantly exchange ideas and respect each other great deal, which in my opinion is essential for a successful partnership.

What is so unique about or how different are the collections of Del Lima from other brands?

ALI PASTORINI: We understood that every market demands a different style or collection for its particular public.  But there are consistent elements. Irrespective of the market, we work with 18K gold set with a variety of precious stones, including faceted and cabochon gems.

Most of gemstones that we work with are Brazilian.

We make only few pieces of every model, so each client has an almost exclusive piece. This is complete contrast to what most other companies are doing these days. We understand that what we are doing is more challenging, but at same time we create a better and closer connection to our customers.

How do you manage to handle the workload of World Jewelry Hub, Panama Diamond Exchange and Del Lima? How many days do you work in a week?

ALI PASTORINI: It isn’t that hard to handle both jobs because I really love what I do. I believe that when we work in what we love we do not have to make a sacrifice. On the contrary, the jobs are a genuine pleasure.

But it is important say that I don’t do the work alone. I have tremendous teams in both organizations. My partner Dione and our employees in Del Lima do an amazing job for the brand and in the World Jewelry Hub my colleagues are excellent professionals, who work hard every single day to position Panama as the hub of Americas.

How do you keep balance between you professional and personal life?

ALI PASTORINI: Pretty well.

Of course isn’t easy all the time but I have the discipline to separate the private and the professional. When is my free time I understand well that is my time to relax, sleep more, do sports or simply disconnect and talk about things not related to business.

The key is when I am working I try to do my best, be efficient and not to accumulate a backlog of tasks. In this way, when I have free time I do not have that nagging feeling that there is still something to do on a job, because I have already finished it.

As a brand, is Del Lima as successful as you had wished on its launch?

ALI PASTORINI: For a new brand we accomplished more that we could that have imagined that we would by this time. But obviously we are relatively new in the market and have considerable room to expand. There are many other countries to get our products placed in, and many more potential clients around world.

How are you planning to expand its reach in future?

ALI PASTORINI: I have been working very hard of late to get into the East Coast market in the United States, and more precisely in New York.  There are jewelers in several other U.S. states, and also Canada, who have approached us. We currently are studying our options very carefully, and planning to be ready for those markets.

We prefer not to rush things and decide under pressure. The trick always is making the correct decision.

You have become an inspirational icon at such a tender age for aspiring entrepreneurs, how do you feel?

ALI PASTORINI: Honestly I don’t see and don’t want to see myself as an inspirational icon because I still have many things to learn and accomplish.  But I am proud to have received recognition from many women since I became Senior Vice President at WJH and PDE, and I hope that I have motivated them to continue following their dreams in our industry.

I certainly am happy with such positive feedback but my routine and mindset has remained the same since I started in this career, especially because I am well aware that there are many women in our industry, around world, who have been doing an incredible job for many years, and who have not received the recognition they deserve. They are the real inspirational icons.

Who is the motivational force behind you? Whom do you owe your success?

ALI PASTORINI: The motivational force behind any person should be that person herself or himself. But obviously there are few people who were and are extremely important during anyone’s career path, but ultimately nobody can do your job and give you the power if you aren’t ready for it.

I am grateful for my family that always has supported me, and I am also grateful for having a very good business partner, Dione Lima. I also am grateful to Mr. Eli Izhakoff, who was the person who nominated me to the positions I hold at WJH and PDE, and who has always believed that I could deliver the goods despite my young age.

Your message to the aspiring women entrepreneurs…

ALI PASTORINI: In life you might hear many (say) the word “no” many times as an answer to a request, but never let it affect your dreams and aspirations. Challenges are part of life and facing them is necessary for your improvement as professional. Never put yourself in the position of a victim.


Describe yourself in a few words…

ALI PASTORINI: A determined person. I cannot work or do things without believing that they will succeed.

Who is your favorite jewellery designer?

ALI PASTORINI: I admire many of them, but I would say the Brazilians such Carla Amorim and Fernando Jorge.

Do you wear Del Lima jewellery or some other brand? Why?

ALI PASTORINI: I usually wear my own brand but I don’t have problem wearing other brands. I appreciate the art and the design even if isn’t our own creation.

How would you like to be remembered as?

ALI PASTORINI: I think I am too young to consider such a question. I have to do much more before answer that thoughtfully.

Would you like to reborn as?

ALI PASTORINI: As myself; I am very happy with the life that I have.

Who Ali would have been, if not a jewelry professional?

ALI PASTORINI: I still would be a business woman traveling around world, but in other industry.

Presented by Suresh Chotai