- Carly Bigi is a former senior consultant at Deloitte Human Capital.
- In 2017, she founded Laws of Motion, an e-commerce fashion startup that offers 99 sizes of professional clothing for women.
- In an interview with Business Insider, Bigi shared that business school and interning at an e-commerce startup helped encourage her to leave consulting to start her own business.
- A consulting background helped Bigi develop skills that translated well in entrepreneurship, including the ability to make data-driven decisions.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
For some, management consulting is a stepping stone toward entrepreneurship.
That was the case for Carly Bigi, who started her career at Deloitte, a professional services firm with more than 106,000 employees worldwide.
Originally from Houston, Texas, Bigi always had an inkling that she’d build a business some day. After graduating from Vanderbilt University in 2012, she rose through the ranks at Deloitte — from an entry-level position to senior consultant specializing in healthcare — in three years.
Like many of her colleagues, Bigi took a hiatus from the office to attended Columbia Business School, and got tuition sponsored by the firm. But she wouldn’t return to her job at Deloitte. Instead, Bigi’s business school education actually encouraged her to build her own business.
Now, she is the founder and CEO of Laws of Motion, an e-commerce fashion startup that offers 99 sizes of professional women’s clothing. The company has supplied more than 2 million isolation gowns across New York state during a 6-week period of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The wide open opportunity and all the possibilities that came with consulting was really attractive to me,” she told Business Insider. “It’s an environment where I really developed as an individual and as a leader. But after business school and a number of conversations I had with mentors, I realized that I shouldn’t go back.”
Here’s how Bigi weighed in the pros and cons before starting a business, and how she leveraged her consulting background as an entrepreneur.
Don’t be afraid to alter your career path
At Deloitte, Bigi spent most of her time working with healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, and in hospitals tackling problems like medical supply and bed capacity shortages, she said. That’s what she was familiar with.
In between her first and second year of business school, she had a number of internship offers from healthcare companies. But the former consultant declined all those offers and instead pursued an internship with an e-commerce startup in New York City.
“That’s when I really understood the landscape. I really wanted to start my own company, and I thought the best way to do that is to get myself some real experience in that realm,” she said.
Through that internship, Bigi said she learned the ins and outs of product development, marketing, and how to position herself for success in the e-commerce sector. She raised $1 million of pre-seed funding for Laws of Motion and built an operating business model for her idea that same summer.
In two years, Bigi has built partnerships with other supply chains and oversees 750 sowers in the US and 2,000 across the Americas, she said.
“After I graduated, I was asking my mentor whether I should take my Deloitte job in Chicago or transfer to the New York because I’ve always seen myself in New York, and that same mentor told me that I was asking the wrong question,” Bigi shared. “She told me that maybe I shouldn’t go back to Deloitte, and that I was made for this. I ran with that.”
Consulting taught her to make purposeful and data-driven decisions
Bigi’s consulting experience pushed her to develop purpose, a teamwork mentality, and to value data, which are all skills that translate well to entrepreneurship, she said.
While working at Deloitte, Bigi was able to choose different projects, clients, and work on several teams at once. Working in consulting required her to not only be a good team player, but it also pushed her to understand the strengths and motivations of each team member to achieve successful outcomes.
“As a founder, you need that same purpose and that same team-driven mindset,” the entrepreneur said. “You’ve got to believe in your vision, bring that vision to life, and articulate your mission to others. The ability to create structure out of ambiguity and chaos is critical.”
When starting a business, you should get comfortable with making mistakes and messing up a lot, Bigi said. You should also be able to pivot quickly (especially during a global pandemic) and use your intuition to build something from scratch.
Bigi also leveraged data science to create women’s clothing at scale. Laws of Motion gathered a million data points from 10,000 women and analyzed the size and shapes of women’s’ bodies, she said. Being comfortable with numbers not only fueled her decision-making as a CEO, but it enabled her brand to offer 99 sizes of clothing.
“Being disruptive is innately uncomfortable,” she said. “It’s something where you got to be really comfortable with taking risks, but I’m really glad that I’m doing this.”