Fashion / Style

This Houston Diamond Duo Helps Bring Smiles to Children In Need — And To Each Other

Nick and Sneha Merchant Celebrate 20 Years of Love, Family and Philanthropy

BY // 09.21.22

This is the sixth of Houston’s Diamond Duos, presented by Valobra Master Jewelers. The new series honors, recognizes and congratulates the Bayou City’s most dynamic, gracious and steadfast couples. This Diamond Duo installment spotlights Nick and Sneha Merchant.

When Nick and Sneha Merchant met as teenagers in Los Angeles, little did they know what they would accomplish together. Fast forward two decades and the duo has created a life full of family, philanthropy and connection to the community in Houston and beyond. 

They’ve raised funds and awareness for women and children-focused initiatives and were even bestowed with the honor of Sneha and Nick Merchant Day in Houston (September 18 by the way) by Mayor Sylvester Turner.

Talk about couple goals.

Sneha and Nick Merchant
The family supporting and chairing the 2021 Operation Smile Gala in Houston TX.

The two are each other’s biggest fans and are focused on raising their children, 12-year-old son Zaryan and 8-year-old daughter Zenya with the same commitment for helping those in need. The Merchants own and operate an extensive enterprise of retail, commercial real estate and hospitality throughout Texas and Mumbai, India, and actively support a long list of organizations that improve the life and well-being of others.

Their community involvement includes the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Association, the March of Dimes and the Houston Area Women’s Center, but it’s the work of Operation Smile that truly has their heart.

Operation Smile raises awareness and financial support for cleft lip/palate surgery in children in developing countries. The Merchants were honored in 2016 with the Universal Smile Award from Operation Smile award and as soon as pandemic travel restrictions were lifted in 2021, they headed to Guatemala, overseeing 25 cleft lip palate surgeries. They served not only as support for the children undergoing the surgeries in the operating room but for the anxious families waiting for their children.

Sneha is continuing her commitment to Operation Smile. She’s even serving as the chair for the Smile Gala set for October 22.

This Houston couple’s work isn’t done for accolades or recognition, but rather to give back while setting an example for their children. As they shared: “Being parents has been the most rewarding experience of our lives and we hope and strive to keep our family on top of the list while being able to help and serve others.”

Nick and Sneha Merchant
Nick and Sneha Merchant will celebrat their 20th anniversary in 2023.

The Merchants will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary in 2023 and are clearly still very smitten with each other.

“I admire the way Nick balances his life, he always has time for his children and he is always available to his employees,” Sneha Merchant says. ” He’s a great father and a damn good boss.”

“I love her multitalented personality,” Nick Merchant says. “Sneha is a hands-on mother of two, helps run the family business, is actively involved with several nonprofit organizations, and at the same time manages to look amazing, keeping up with the latest fashion trends.”

Spending time together, and doing things they love are important elements of the Merchants’ marriage and they value family time with their children.

The couple honeymooned in Interlaken and Zurich in Switzerland followed by the South of France, and consider the French Riviera as their most treasured vacation destination.

“Since our honeymoon, we try to go back every summer, especially to Cannes and St Tropez,” Sneha says. When they are staying close to home, the Merchants head to IPic for a night out at the movies and champagne.

The Merchant Family
Family Vacation in Aspen Colorado.

Nick is still in awe of Sneha’s inner light — and how she illuminates every place she goes.

“I admire Sneha’s abundant energy,” he says. “She lights up the room as soon as she walks in and rubs off her positive energy to everyone around her.”

Sneha credits Nick with helping to keep that light burning so brightly. 

Nicks’s drive is always something that I’ve found so attractive,” Sneha says. “He motivates me every day to give my all, go after what I want and be the best version of myself I can be.”

One part of Sneha Merchant’s best self is being an artist. She studied at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. Now, she is following her passion for mixed media art on canvas, launching Sneha Merchant Art to share her love of art with others.

Her list of community involvement and honors dates back to 2011. She was named a Women of Distinction Honoree in 2019 from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, a Neiman Marcus Best Dressed Honoree in 2017 from March of Dimes and was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women of Houston in 2017 by The Woman’s Magazine.

Sneha Merchant’s chairing duties include Una Notte in Italia for The Houston Area Women’s Center in 2019, where Nick and Zaryan walked the runway together, and the 2017 Indian Film Festival Gala for the Indian Film Festival of Houston. She also launched the Gold Luncheon in 2016 and 2017 for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

The future is indeed bright for the Merchants — and they continue to make the world a brighter place. If you ask them what’s next, they will surely tell you they’re just getting started.

To learn more about Valobra Master Jewelers and its exquisite collection of jewelry and luxury timepieces sure to create lasting memories and be treasured forever, visit the full website. Or stop by this fourth generation of master jewelers at Valobra’s Houston showroom located at 2150 Westheimer Road. Be sure to stay tuned to find out who will be the next special Valobra Diamond Duo. . .

New Diamond Duo couples will be chosen and celebrated in this special series throughout the year.

Part of the Special Series:

PaperCity - Houston's Diamond Duos