During March we meet Hanne Deverén. After her master's degree, she started her own company focused on e-commerce. Today she enjoys the role of CEO of Brigbys AB and Nallebudet & CO AB. She is happy to welcome students from Linnaeus University for internship and graduate work.
Name: Hanne Deverén
Current work and location: CEO of both Brigbys AB and Nallebudet & Co AB in Småland.
What did you study at Linnaeus University and when did you graduate?
– I studied two separate degrees and finished in 2001. First, I studied business administration (bachelor) on Växjö campus and then I continued with design management (master) in Kalmar. When I was a student in Växjö, I was the
vice-chairman of the student union.
What industry do you work in?
– My husband and I founded Nallebudet & Co AB in 2004 before I started working with Brigbys AB, which was a family-run company to begin with. When I first started, Nallebudet had two employees and was doing rather well. Then my parents asked if we wanted to take over the family business Brigbys AB. Nallebudet specialises in e-commerce; for instance, the sending of teddy bears together with a message or other personalised gift. Brigbys, on the other hand, is a producer and distributor of high-quality children's toys. I began working with Brigbys AB in 2009 and since then the company has grown quite a bit and now has around 20 employees and counting.
What is most fun about your job and what are the biggest challenges?
– The most fun part is probably when I have the time to work with development and strategic questions. But also when I get to talk to customers and others and listen to what they think about our products. Basically, to be out in the field and work hands-on, to travel and attend conventions and trade fairs. Through these experiences, I get new ideas and become more innovative and creative. I love the inspiration. Unfortunately, I don't get these opportunities very often, but when I do I truly enjoy it!
– The biggest challenge is the complicated bureaucracy involved in producing statistics and compiling numerous reports. As the company expands, these sorts of tasks become more and more challenging and complex. On the plus side, when you do it well the company can grow and expand, which makes it possible to bring on board more colleagues who can assist in the handling of different tasks. Some of these include administrative duties, customer service, sales or tech – but everyone work together at the end of the day. I am the chief executive officer but still do a little bit of everything. I also have full responsibility for some of our biggest customer accounts. Fortunately, we have our warehouse right next to the office so when we are in high season, like Christmas, we all pitch in to pack merchandise since there is so much that needs to be done.
How did you establish your career after your studies at Linnaeus University?
– After graduating in 2001, I worked with the Regional Council in Kalmar before taking a year off to go sailing through the Caribbean with my husband. When we returned to Kalmar, we wanted to move to Stockholm or Malmö but then decided to stay on in Kalmar because of the quality of life there. As there were not many interesting enough jobs, we decided to create our own ones.
How was your student life at Linnaeus University?
– It was great – amazing really. I lived in the heart of campus in Växjö. Student life on campus is very good. In Kalmar, however, everything is more integrated in the city. Which meant it was easier to stay in the city and, as a result, you became more used to normal city life and became familiar with the daily routine of the locals. In Växjö we really appreciated hanging out with other students, even though we sometimes missed the feeling of being part of a larger community. As a student, it was very rewarding to be involved in fraternities and the student union and I actually believe this provided me with as many valuable skills as my studies did. I learned so much from the work I did for the student union.
How did you come into contact with the labor market during your study time?
– Through my teachers on the design management programme I was able to get the job at Kalmar Regional Council.
What do you take with you thanks to your studies? Is there anything special you have been able to do thanks to your education?
– During my studies, it was not always easy to know exactly what I had gained but I think I was able to make a lot of sense of how businesses work. It makes it so much easier to work with a business or found one when you know what you need to do. The skills I learned on the design management programme were invaluable and have played a key role in how our company operates today".
What is your relation to Linnaeus University today?
– We have students who have done their degree projects here, and also students who come for internships. Also, some of our part-time employees still study at the university.
Can you give three career tips?
- If you have a business idea, have the courage to go through with it, try it out.
- It's really important to have the financial patience. It doesn't matter if you have a lot of money backing you or not, as long as you have a good plan.
- You must know and believe in your values. If you aren't ready to start your own company, find a company that you admire and observe their corporate culture alongside your studies. We, for example, have had interns work with us for a while and then when they graduate we hire them to stay and work full-time.