The jewellery trade is steeped in tradition. It’s the type of business typically handed down from generation to generation, with kids following in their parents’ footsteps.
This was not the case for Diamondport, a young and thriving jewellery store in the heart of Brisbane with a unique – indeed, some would say serendipitous – story to tell.
Founder of Diamondport, Ashley Portas, began his working life as a courier driver.
It just so happened he was often in charge of delivering valuable parcels of gold, gem and diamond merchants in the city of Brisbane.
Ashley was soon offered a job working on the wholesale side of diamonds.
“During the early days, I learnt a lot about sorting, buying and selling diamonds,” Ashley says.
“I fell in love with them and even travelled to Surat in India, the city famous for its diamond cutters. It wasn’t long before I started a side business, enlisting the help of jewellers to make engagement rings for friends.”
Ashley’s side business quickly grew into a full-time job and in 2015, Diamondport was born.
It soon became a family business with Ashley’s twin brother Jason joining the team as general manager.
“Indeed, the most rewarding part of starting Diamondport was being able to fulfil my childhood dream of working with my identical twin,” Ashley says.
Investing to grow
Until 2019, Diamondport relied on another jeweller to make its classic engagement rings. When Ashley decided it was time to set up his own workshop and bring a jeweller in-house, his extended family chipped in to fund this first big step.
It quickly paid off, with 65 per cent year-on-year growth in the first year. This rapid growth opened the door to new opportunities for the business.
“When you grow this fast, you need more money to grow,” he says. “Suddenly, we found ourselves needing more diamonds, new tools and more rings to market and sell.”
To fuel the next chapter of growth, Ashley decided to apply for a $200,000 business loan. He initially approached an online lender but his brother didn’t like the look of the loan’s fine print, so Ashley kept looking.
“I then found the ANZ GoBiz offer online and really liked what I saw. It only took me 20 minutes to apply and I got my answer straight away,” Ashley says.