In 2016, Joachim Latocha was promoted to Director in Deloitte’s Corporate Finance function. Three months later, he quit his job to fulfill his entrepreneur dream.
Barons is known for its quality business shirts, competing against large established brands such as Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren. The ambition is to offer timeless and simplistic shirts, liberated from the concept of trends. But for founder Joachim Latocha, the success of Barons was not always written in the stars.
From young talent to Director
Joachim’s career started in Corporate Finance in Deloitte, where he worked with a large variety of M&A transactions. Starting a full-time job while still finishing his master’s degree, long workdays were the rule rather than the exception. Discipline was a key word.
The learning curve was fast, and so was the career path. Five years into his employment with Deloitte, Joachim became a Director. But despite the busy days and the many opportunities handed his way, one vision was pulling him in another direction.
“Through my job at Deloitte, I observed best practice in the fashion industry. I was very inspired by some of the owners and managers of the clients we worked for, but I also identified weaknesses in how businesses were operated. It appealed more and more to me to be the one creating the underlying value that is the core foundation of a business.”
There is never one right moment
It was not easy to make the bold choice and exchange a prestigious job at a successful corporate house with uncertainty and a belief in a fragile idea. But from Joachim’s perspective timing is not necessarily everything.
- There is never one right moment. You can always find a good reason not to do it. I could have come up with ten different reasons – I had just become a father and been promoted. Everyone I talked to thought I was crazy and didn’t understand why I would leave a job that I really liked.
Joachim’s mindset was to go for it without any excuses. But it was not an escape from Deloitte. Indeed, he believes his time at Deloitte gave him vital tools that he still utilises to this day.
- I might not create as many slideshows as I used to! But turning complex ideas into simple concepts is something I learned during my time at Deloitte – and a valuable asset on my Barons journey. Deloitte enables you to learn at an accelerated pace because you often don’t just work for Deloitte – you work for changing companies within changing industries. The ability to adapt accordingly has benefitted me on the long run.
Popular TV show accelerated the journey
Today, Barons is increasing profit and expanding its business. But reaching the current success took years of dedication and hard work. The first years were without salary, and Joachim had to face the reality that his only currency was his own work.
- You have to believe in your own idea. If you don’t, you will give up. You should not focus on the money or any short-term goal.
In January 2020, Joachim took part in the Danish TV show ‘Løvens Hule’, where he presented Barons to successful investors and a large number of TV viewers. It sparked an immense interest in the products. Shortly after the episode had aired, Barons experienced a large increase in orders – which led to a few tough months of being sold out. Fortunately, Barons managed to quickly get back on the successful track.
- Currently, we are in a good position and are upscaling the business – but hiring a lot of people has never been a main goal. My dream has always been to create a product I am proud of. On top of that, I want Barons to be recognised for doing our part to transform a conservative industry. I might still be young and naive, but I believe we can contribute to driving change.
The outcome of a corporate background
Reflecting on the journey today, Joachim learned a lot from his corporate background – but he was still challenged in many aspects of driving a business.
- In Deloitte, you gain a lot of tools to succeed in your further career. But you also develop habits. If your laptop breaks down, you know where to find the IT department. If your team is lacking competencies in an area, you hire a new consultant. As an entrepreneur, it is all learning by doing.
Putting all efforts into an idea makes it difficult to go back – something Joachim realised once Barons was a reality.
- Before truly diving into the project, I saw it as an experiment. If it didn’t work out, I could just go back to Deloitte. But I quickly realised that it doesn’t work like that. Once you spend a year of your life bringing your idea to life, you become very invested.
Despite leaving Deloitte to start a new chapter, Joachim is, to this day, thankful for his five years at the firm and for the mentors and colleagues who helped shape him as a young professional.