Throughout the years, thousands of people have been part of the Deloitte community. Some are still here, while others have left to seek new career adventures. Among those are two former Deloitters, who – with the recent launch of their fine jewellery brand longvé – have taken a brave jump from consultants to entrepreneurs, and the Deloitte values will stick with them forever.
Several years ago, Katja Lund Schjølin and Astrid Tajmer walked through the doors to the Copenhagen office daily. Katja as a management consultant, serving clients in the Consumer industry and driving strategic projects. Astrid managed bid projects and strategies across the firm as part of Clients & Industries.
Today, they are business partners embarking on an exciting entrepreneurial journey with the launch of their business, longvé.
With longvé, Katja and Astrid have taken it upon themselves to reimagine the way fine jewellery is designed and produced, by offering a digital platform that makes it easy and accessible to create something unique that is crafted responsibly. Personally designed, responsibly crafted and fairly priced are the core values of longvé. The gold used in production comes exclusively from recycled sources, and all items are made to order to ensure a no-waste inventory.
“You should not be forced to choose between price and quality. We aim to offer both,” says Astrid Tajmer, former Deloitte employee and Co-Founder of longvé.
longvé works directly with the best jewellers around the world, cuts out the middlemen and engages directly with customers.
Katja and Astrid did not work at Deloitte at the same time. Their story as a team began when they met at another firm where they consulted global direct-to-consumer brands on digital strategies. As the two started to collaborate on projects, they realised that they work extremely well together.
“We quickly realised that we enjoy working together. To some extent we have the same background in terms of toolbox, structures and standards of professionalism, and because of that our expectations and approach to collaboration are very well aligned.”
The partnership philosophy
Starting up a new business requires dedication and commitment to working one hundred per cent as a team. This also means that being business partners is about more than being colleagues.
“We have embarked on this journey together, which means we are in it together and rely on each other fully. We both bring something indispensable to the team that, through great teamwork, can turn weaknesses into strengths and challenges into opportunities. That's the power of being partners," says Astrid, and Katja continues:
“We founded longvé as business partners as we fundamentally value partnerships. Besides our collaboration as partners, we strive to build a business with an ecosystem approach leveraging and including people and communities with different perspectives and competencies from all over the world. This philosophy originates from our time at Deloitte.”
Two things stand out when Katja and Astrid reflect upon their experience working at Deloitte:
“Firstly, you become part of a community. I gained some good relations and a strong network during my time with Deloitte, which I am very grateful for today. Secondly, but just as importantly, you get the opportunity to develop your professional skills in an environment with a healthy approach to collaboration and with strong values that you can bring further on in your career,” Astrid says.
“I clearly remember being a newly hired young consultant, with great ambitions, struggling to grasp Deloitte as a business. Then I remember CEO Anders Dons talking to the whole firm about ’serving with integrity’ in a way that reflected the core of what engaging with clients and colleagues is about, regardless of what professionalism you hold. This I’ve kept as a simple but important guiding principle,” Katja explains.
Jumping into the deep end
Despite having a strong foundation from their time at Deloitte and their later careers, there are still certain skill sets that are being developed and explored in their roles as entrepreneurs.
"When you throw yourself into deep water, as we have done, you start from scratch. At Deloitte, everything is very well-established. You have countless competent colleagues to ask for advice, and you have best practices and structures to lean on. Building something from scratch requires a different skill set, mentality, and an ability to think creatively because you don’t always have the right answer at hand. "
“We constantly shift between having a holistic, strategic focus and being a lot more practical and hands on. We are forced to tolerate a whole new level of risk, as well as embracing everchanging project plans,” says Katja.
Building a digital and direct-to-consumer business, with everything it entails, has been an ambition for Katja and Astrid for a long time.
“We have made an exciting shift by changing our career paths into focusing on doing what we have supported our clients with, during our time as consultants,” Katja says, and Astrid adds:
“Deloitte provided an excellent professional foundation to explore and develop our competencies. Now, we are out of our comfort zones. And that is exactly what makes it an exciting journey.”
longvé has just launched. You can visit their website and sign-up to get early access here.