Monika Tu is the Founder and Director of Black Diamondz Group, a company that deals in high-end, luxury residential property sales, investment strategies and business solutions for Asian, European and Middle East buyers.
BD Group also provides marketing and PR services, bespoke luxury experiences, exclusive events, networking opportunities and recruitment for its clients.
I spoke to Monika about her journey, how she came to Australia and started up a highly successful property concierge company.
Image credit: Kurt Jtilse
How did you come to live in Australia?
I came to Melbourne from Shenzhen, China in 1988. Australia was an extremely different place back then. I couldn’t speak English and the Chinese community was small.
The majority of my community was poor, working students and hardworking migrant families unlike now, which has a higher percentage of wealthy Chinese. I had to start from nothing – learning the language and finding a job while becoming accustomed to a new culture and environment.
As a woman and a migrant, it was challenging. From time to time I did wonder if I had made the right decision.
I am a firm believer that success does not come easy and if something doesn’t scare you a little, it’s probably not worth doing.
I left a well-paying government job behind as a translator in the Department of Foreign Trade in China. I chose Australia purely out of coincidence. Some friends had moved here, they described a lifestyle that seemed a far cry from the crowded world I was experiencing in China, and they asked me to join them.
I was an only child so this meant having to leave my parents behind. This was a big decision, however, they supported and encouraged me to follow my dreams.
In truth, I’ve always been a risk taker looking for a new direction and new adventures in which to grow and progress. The thought of moving to Australia excited me more than it terrified me.
What were your earliest experiences?
Once I arrived in Melbourne I studied language. After a year, I received a scholarship from RMIT for further studies in International Trade. In the meantime, I worked hard to make ends meet in a busy restaurant and then moved on to selling cosmetics.
After graduation, I moved to Sydney and worked in a small computer corner shop. I found myself selling small consumer electronics, recordable floppy disks and CDs at a weekend market. I had little knowledge about this industry, however, over time I extended my customer and product base.
I built that humble store to an international company, Laser Corporation. The company’s products are now stocked nationally in Harvey Norman, Target, Big W, The Good Guys and we have offices in New Zealand, Hong Kong and China.
After being hands-on in the business for more than 15 years, I felt it was time to step aside and took on a board position.
Monika retired in 2007…
I had a young daughter who I wanted to be there for and I felt that a slower paced life was calling my name!
After working 24/7 all my life and building an incredibly successful business this was “my time”. However, after 2 years, my urge for business came back. I saw how many wealthy Chinese migrants came to settle here in Australia. A number of friends were asking for my help and advice as I had lived here for so long.
I was surprised that no one local had considered servicing this wealthy, emerging market! At the time I didn’t have any knowledge of the property market, but I saw an opportunity and being a risk taker, jumped in.
After nine years in business, we’ve positioned Black Diamondz as a disruptor in the real estate market.
We revolutionised the word “Concierge” from someone who holds a client’s bags to someone who holds their hand and guides them thought the process of finding a perfect home, lifestyle, education and business opportunity here in Australia.
I believe everyone is born with a purpose. My purpose to inspire others to believe in themselves, challenge the status quo and give back. After all these years I’m as passionate about my business as I was on day one. It gets me out of bed every morning and I still work 7 days a week.
Australia is the land of opportunities…
I’ve been fortunate enough to have travelled around the world and have the privilege of choosing wherever I want to live. I would never choose to live anywhere else. To me, Australia is the land of opportunities. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all I have if not for the fair, supportive, businesses minded community here in Australia.
The chance I took all those years ago has paid off ten-fold.