Why Keeping It in The Family Is The Best Thing These Business Owners Ever Did
They say you shouldn't mix business and pleasure, but with so many successful family-run companies around the globe, we’d have to disagree. There’s no denying that working with members of your family has the potential to ignite trying, sticky, and challenging situations, but with so many positive case studies (Missoni, Versace, and Prada, we’re looking at you) it’s clear that family businesses have the potential to make magic.
To prove it, we spoke to four of the most successful fashion and lifestyle duos in Australia and found out first-hand why working with family has been the secret to their success. Read on to find out why going into business with one of your own could be one of your best business decisions yet.
“Working together as sisters is incredible. It’s like working with a mirror image of yourself—the same but completely opposite at the same time. Isabella and I have always loved creating things together so it feels very natural. A lot of the passion within our label flows from family. Growing up we were always inspired by our dad who was a leather craftsman in the '70s—he had a big moustache and burned incense outside his leather store to attract customers. It was this image that we held onto when starting our own design studio seven years ago. It’s funny how much Spell has become a family affair—my husband is a photographer and film maker and our other sister (Isabella’s twin), Luciana, is a hair and make-up artist so they both jet-set around the globe with us on photo shoots. At the end of the day, we are working towards the same goal, and truly care for the business equally so it is kind of perfect and I can’t imagine it any other way!”
Elizabeth Abegg, Co-Founder of Spell & The Gypsy Collective on working with her sister Isabella Pennefather
"Having such a strong understanding of someone and such a unified vision makes us an incredible partnership. We're very passionate and when you put your heart and soul into everything it can expose certain vulnerabilities, which is a part of what we do."
Nicholas Van Messner, Co-Founder of LIFEwithBIRD on working with his wife Bridget McCall
“You have support and understanding as you both share the same stress and commitments. As we started the business together, we are equally passionate about the brand and working together towards the same end goal. We both have different skill sets—I work on the more creative side of the business and Richard is a great negotiator and works on our retail expansion. It is also great to be able to manage our own work schedules to fit in with our family commitments.”
Kylie Radford, Founder and Creative Director of Morrison on working with her husband Richard Poulson
“The number one advantage would be being able to have open and truly honest conversations without taking offence and that we have similar goals and values. It is nice to see each other everyday, though we have learnt that we have to be careful not to take each other for granted and ensure that we can turn off work conversations and slip easily back into mother and daughter mode.”
Anne Cook, Co-Founder of Sanctuary Studio on working with her daughter Simone Rennard
Shop a selection of our favourite products from these family-ran companies below.