Left a job in banking – to become a jeweller
Alumnus Victor Halvarsson was always keen to embrace his entrepreneurial spirit – but his entry into the diamond market came by complete chance.
After studying at the School of Business, Economics and Law, Victor Halvarsson joined Sparbanken Sjuhärad, but despite the banking position being his dream job on paper, he felt that something was missing. After two years, he quit in order to begin his journey as an entrepreneur.
“I’ve always had an ambition to set up my own business. It’s an idea that has been with me since I was little.”
Entered the industry by chance
Diamonds and jewellery were never part of that picture, however. Victor Halvarsson had begun to think about proposing to his partner, and when he couldn’t find the ring he was looking for, he hit on the idea of setting himself up as a jeweller.
“I could have gone into anything really, but I’m extremely pleased with my choice, as it’s an incredibly enjoyable business that suits me perfectly!” says Victor, who adds:
“The biggest challenges are building trust and breaking into a very traditional industry. With hindsight, I would have chosen something different, since the market is both closed and rather small. You often need to have well-established contacts before you can even start buying from someone. Unfortunately, there is also not much of a culture of buying diamonds in Sweden for anything other than marriages and engagements at the moment, which makes our maximum size as a company quite limited.”
Employed eight people
When Victor first set up his company, he began by looking for diamond suppliers and someone who could create a website. Six months later, the company was up and running and ready to welcome customers.
“Everything was much more difficult and cost a lot more than I thought, but on 1 April 2014 we finally went ‘live’. The first order took a whole two weeks to come in and was worth SEK 10,000.”
The company has grown since its launch in 2014 – it now has a staff of nine and last year enjoyed sales of around SEK 50 million. The business has also expanded from Sweden into Norway and Denmark, and there are plans to move into Germany.
“I’ve recruited three people from the School of Business, Economics and Law, because I felt they had the right business mentality that I knew would be of value to us,” says Victor.
“My own education has been enormously useful to me. Every time we make decisions, I always want to make sure they’re rooted in solid data, or I think about price elasticity for a particular product that we offer. In addition to practical tools, I’ve also gained a mindset that allows me to process a lot of information and make good decisions on that basis.”
What is your advice for students thinking about setting up their own business?
“You have to be brave and think more about the implementation than the idea. You can succeed in any industry as long as the implementation is right.”