Meet Shanya Amarasuriya, the creative force behind B.P. de Silva Jewellers, a 150-year-old family business that's not just surviving but thriving and is a pioneer of ethical change.
In a world where keeping family legacies alive is a challenge, B.P. de Silva Jewellers is not just surviving but thriving. For over 150 years, B.P. de Silva Jewellers has been a glittering gem in Singapore’s jewellery landscape.
What sets them apart? They’re pioneers in the sustainability game, proudly holding the B Corp certification and championing ethical practices. Under fifth-generation creative director Shanya Amarasuriya’s innovative leadership, this age-old family business has donned a modern hat, blending tradition with innovation.
Five remarkable insights from Shanya Amarasuriya’s journey
#1: The family business has a time-honoured beginning
Shanya’s family heritage dates back to her great-grandfather, a daring 19-year-old gem merchant. He embarked on a journey from Sri Lanka, sailed across continents, including the Americas and Australia, and eventually chose Singapore as the place to establish the family business. This adventurous spirit laid the foundation for B.P. de Silva’s glittering legacy.
#2: Shanya’s journey from business to jewellery was a “cosmic roll of the dice”
Shanya’s foray into the jewellery business was initially inspired by her father, who encouraged her to use it as a platform for creativity and collaboration. She honed her skills through formal training in New York, embracing both traditional and modern techniques. This unexpected love affair with jewellery laid the foundation for her pivotal role as Creative Director in 2018, kickstarting a transformative journey for the family business.
Her brother’s forward-thinking approach prompted the family to view business performance through a different lens, going beyond financial metrics to consider the triple bottom line. This shift culminated in the decision to pursue B Corp certification, a journey that initially began as her brother’s passion project. Shanya’s involvement was spurred by her desire to simplify the process and use the jewellery business as a pilot for the entire group. In doing so, she unwittingly embarked on a mission to revamp the family legacy and redefine its values for a new era.
#3: Old business, modern approach – how Shanya welcomes change with tradition
The value systems have remained consistent across the generations, but the way they are operating is evolving. B.P. de Silva’s values have endured for generations, but Shanya is pioneering a modern approach. Her commitment to sustainability and ethics led the company to become one of Singapore’s early adopters of B Corp certification; reflecting its dedication to social and environmental responsibility.
#4: Shanya embraced impactful initiatives in pursuit of B Corp certification
She and her team introduced pro bono volunteer hours, fostering a culture of community service among their staff. Despite initial hesitation, team members found profound connections through service, exemplified by one staff member forming a lasting bond with an elderly person. This commitment extended to a colleague, now sharing the experience with her own child, reflecting the brand’s values in their personal lives. These moments of soulfulness underscore the broader impact of their actions, beyond the corporate realm, making a positive difference in the world.
And to ensure ethical practices, they introduced a formal code of conduct for their suppliers, despite being a longstanding jewellery brand rather than a multinational giant. Some suppliers resisted, leading to a significant shift, as they got rid of up to 90% of their suppliers. But in return this initiative not only streamlined business relationships but also forged more meaningful partnerships grounded in shared values.
#5: The B Corp Certification ignited a transformative mindset swift within the team
B.P. de Silva Jewellers experienced a profound transformation in its team’s mindset following the B Corp certification. Team members became more engaged and proactive in evaluating materials and processes, reflecting a shift ingrained in the company’s DNA. This change also extended to hiring practices, with a newfound emphasis on aligning values during recruitment. The certification not only fostered a holistic work environment but also reinforced the notion that business can be a platform for positive change, one small action at a time, encapsulating the essence of B Corp principles.
In Shanya’s hands, B.P. de Silva isn’t just about jewellery; it’s a platform for positive change. From community service to redefining business norms, Shanya’s commitment shines through. The legacy continues, not just in the gems they create, but in the experiences and values they share with the world.