Working Together with Family
By: Kristen Castillo
A Day of Elegance
- Who: Liz Piña and Patty Bonillas, co-owners, A Day of Elegance
- What made you want to work together?: “My sister is my best friend so when I decided to embark on this adventure who better to do it with than my sister?” says Piña.
- The best part of working together: “Our business meetings at Starbucks, for sure!,” says Piña.
- Advice for other families working together: “I say do it, but know what you’re getting into,” says Piña. “Working with family is very tricky but you get to enjoy the rewards together. In my case I get to hang out with my best friend on a daily basis.”
Crown Point Catering
- Who: Vicki Hamilton, Owner, Crown Point Catering and Jon Hamilton, Executive Associate
- What made you want to work together: “It was time,” says Hamilton, noting Jon was “born into the business” and worked as a server and kitchen member since he was in high school. “Once he graduated from college and worked for other organizations, in 2009 he joined our team as a full time key player.”
- The best part of working together: “That I get to see my son everyday!” says Hamilton, explaining the whole business is like a family. “Our key employees have been with us from one month to 30 years, so actually the best part is seeing my entire Crown Point Catering family every day.”
- Advice for other families working together: “Keep your personal identity separate from your business identity,” says Hamilton, who is excited to be a grandmother. Baby Liam, the third generation of the Crown Point Catering family, was born in June.
- Handling conflict: “Currently, we work side by side,” says Hamilton who shares a singular office space with Jon. The two also “share a similar vision of who we are and what Crown Point Catering stands for in the market place.” Still in the first year or two of working together, Jon reported to the company Staff Specialist, Leo, to buffer the mother/son working relationship. “We believe this was paramount in his personal success today and the continued growth of the company, not to mention an even stronger bond with one another,” says Hamilton, asserting they deal with conflict right away. “We don’t let it fester.”
- Who: Paulette R. Khoury and Maria Elsom, co-owners of Archive Bridal
- What made you want to work together: “We helped each other make our own wedding gowns and had such a great experience collaborating together that we wanted to turn our passion for weddings and fashion into a career,” says Khoury.
- The best part of working together: “We get to see each other everyday and enjoy immediate honest feedback from our creative ideas and crazy fashion risks,” she says.
- Advice for other families working together: “Don’t talk about work during family time!”
- Handling conflict: “We scream at each other for about two minutes, call one of our brothers to get another perspective, and then hug it out,” says Khoury.
- Who: Paula Marn, Owner, Flowers Forever and Christine Early, Lead Designer and Store Manager, Dominique Early, Wedding Floral Designer and Pearse Early, deliveries and installations
- Relationship: Paula (Mother), Christine (Daughter), Dominique (Granddaughter) and Pearse (Grandson)
- What made you want to work together? When we started the business in 1988 we were new to San Diego County and didn’t know anyone in our industry, but we knew we could trust each other and felt comfortable working together. We are passionate about floral designing and as a family business we understand the family dynamics of a wedding.
- The best part of working together: “We get to see each other all the time,” says daughter Early. “Our whole lives revolve around the business. I met my husband here. Both my children got their first jobs here.”
- Advice for other families working together: “Identify each family member’s strengths and let them shine,” says Marn. “Be supportive of each other’s ideas. You never know what creative sparks will fly. Take care of your family business and it will take care of you.”
- Handling conflict: “We talk it out and we can be more open with each other because we’re family,” says Dominique.
Brothers Signature Catering
- Who: Brothers Signature Catering & Events:
- Jimmy Kashou, Director of Catering & Events, co-owner, youngest brother and Julie’s husband
- Steve Kashou – Purchasing and co-owner, oldest brother and Merna’s husband
- Eddie Kashou – Accounting Department and co-owner, middle brother and Linda’s husband
- Linda Kashou – President and co-owner, wife of Eddie, mother of three
- Merna Kashou – Secretary and co-owner, wife of Steve, mother of three
- Julie Kashou – CFO and co-owner, Jimmy’s wife and mother of two
- Matthew Kashou – Café Manager and co-owner, Eddie and Linda’s son
- What made you want to work together? “The Kashous believe that as a family they have unique trust and bond that makes them a strong team,” says Jimmy. “It’s all they have known since they were little.”
- The best part of working together: “Each family member has there own personal strength and what they can offer to the company. The Kashous have always been super family oriented and do a lot of outside non-work activities together, this just allows them to spend more time together.”
- Advice for other families working together: “Keep family time and work time separate,” says Jimmy, noting working together can be challenging but rewarding. “Set each family members job title and keep opinions separate unless they are wanted.”
- Handling conflict: “Open door communication and Eddie tends to be the moderator.”
Bob Hoffman Photo & Video
- Who: Bob Hoffman, Co-Owner and Chief Creative Officer, Bob Hoffman Photography and Video and Tara Hoffman, Co-Owner and Chief Customer Satisfaction Specialist, Bob Hoffman Photography and Video
- Relationship: Husband and wife
- What made you want to work together? “Life’s a journey and work is a big part of that journey,” says Bob. “Since work is such a big part of our journey, what could be better than working with your life partner?” Tara says she and Bob “have a really good balance of strengths,” noting they have a good mix of being both “creative and structural.”
- The best part of working together: Tara: There is a lot of familiarity and trust when you work with your family. You know what everyone is capable of. You’re also able to extend the hours and go further for your client when you have people who you know really well. Bob says he and Tara have great creative collaboration. Her personality is a benefit too.“Everybody loves Tara because she’s able to put them at ease and help them relax,” he says. “She’s my secret weapon.’
- Advice for other families working together? Tara: “I think it’s important to spend time with friends and relax together without discussing work,” says Tara. Bob advises spouses to plan couple time. “Making sure that you carve out time to build your own loving relationship gives you the knowledge of how to capture the romance that other couples share,” says Bob.
- Handling conflict: “We talk it over and rely on our instincts to arrive at a consensus,” says Bob.
Two Sisters Farm
- Who: Jenny Leddy, Marketing, Two Sisters Farms and Alisa Roberts, Sales, Two Sisters Farms
- What made you want to work together? “Growing up my sister and I loved doing creative things together, but as time went on, we developed our own lives and families and we had less time for those types of projects,” says Leddy, explaining she and Roberts missed spending time together. “A few years ago, for my wedding, we were able to get back to it, but only for a short while,” she says. “Fast forward to today, and we live on the same property and really enjoy having the time and a business that allows us to work together!”
- The best part of working together: “We totally get each other,” says Leddy, explaining she and her sister often have the same ideas on the same day. “We back each other up when it comes to tough decisions and know instinctively how one another will react to certain things. But overall, I think it’s been the best feeling being able to grow and share this business together and with everyone we meet!”
- Advice for other families working together: “We have weekly meetings where we voice our concerns, but we usually come to an agreement on day to day issues,” says Leddy.
- Handling conflict: “Assign specific roles to each family member so responsibilities are clear,” says Leddy. “Be honest, support one another, and have fun!”