Check it out under Entrepreneur Magazine’s Radicals & Visionaries, 4 Entrepreneur Sibling Dream Teams.
Eventhough we DON’T ever think the same thing nor work perfectly together (journalists sometimes get it wrong), it is a dream!
Below more on our Sibling Interview and tips to work with the crazy people you call family.
Can’t wait for our new EVERYTHING including website and name and donation app coming in a few weeks! www.loveheylady.com
|Hey Lady Design Studio. Photo: Julia Zave
We grew up in the pre-Google, pre-Facebook Silicon Valley backyard, and had parents who were definitely entrepreneurs at heart. Every year was different- one with our garage filled with environmental oil spill clean-up technology, one really chubby year hanging in the donut shop….until finally quitting our full-time jobs and settling on green real estate development.
Despite being entrepreneurs at heart, they still hoped we would follow the traditional and safe path- they were risk-adverse, tip-toe-in-entrepreneurs, and we are the high-risk, dive-right-in kind. Our dad is our biggest inspiration, he grew up having to shower in park bathrooms, helping our grandma peddle rice and meat on the streets of Hong Kong. He saw American education as the way out, and he went from full-time student/school janitor to aerospace engineer to entrepreneur by the time we graduated high school. They hoped for an easier path for us, the traditional routes (eg. doctor and broadcaster), and it was going that way for a while. He told us when we started this “you’re going to fail, but do it anyway.”
Emily, having been pre-med in college, learned that college majors weren’t necessarily your life major conveniently right before the MCATS. She knew she wanted to start something, but she didn’t know what.
Jessica graduated high school knowing she wanted to write and only knowing for certain to never take another math class again. A two week fashion internship turned into years and seeing startups grow into global powerhouses was inspiring. Still never considered starting anything from scratch until that twin ESP moment that couldn’t be ignored.
The realization wasn’t wanting to start a business together, it started from wanting to create something, and that turned into a business. The idea stemmed from an ESP moment (the second in our lifetime) where we had the same thought. After that, it would be kind of rude if we didn’t consider each other first as business partners. Hence, the title co-founders.
One of our twin mottos is Divide and Conquer. It is a common misconception that twins do everything together, but even though you are in the same physical space, we have our different roles. We’ve never really discussed it, the cards just fell where they may. As entrepreneurs, wearing so many hats, we just delegated entire departments but collaborate and get feedback on the major projects. Emily gets final say on business, and Jessica on creative. So.. Emily is the Boss.
With any marriage, you have to find balance, communication, just fairness, and respect. The problems are not easier to avoid, they are magnified. The thing with sisters, is that there is no legal separation from sibling option. So if you have the same vision and goals for your business, you have no choice but to make it work.
We’ve also discovered that we say the same thing, but in different ways. “I just said that.” is a constant with us. Yesterday at a photoshoot, for example, one of us says, “Let’s move it (the couch) over (the rug)” while the other says, “Let’s move it (the rug) under (the couch)”.
Apparently Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen have this problem too.
We’re both big vision people with the same values, and if it makes sense and feels right for our brand, we’ll collaborate. If it doesn’t intuitively work, we wouldn’t force it. Why make life harder?
Close sibling partnerships have an added character perspective, of where they come from, and why they do things. They have a deep history of experiences to be able to understand the other person’s intentions and motives. The best professional partnerships have a similar understanding, they’re probably just nicer to each other.
Only partner if you equally believe and equally give. When we first started, we were 2 out of 3 people who believed in our idea, and belief is the most integral part in any business. But when you have those moments that will inevitably come, like beating yourself up over messing up a game-changing order, the other one is your cheerleader and reminds you about the important things. Things like it’s a marathon and not a sprint, that things happen for a reason and the right time. Sometimes one of us has to pull out the big guns and remind ourselves that we’re grateful to just be happy and healthy, and we’ve achieved a lot despite how we feel sometimes.
You have to believe so much that if one of you isn’t there, like when Jessica was undergoing chemo in a different country, you can carry on. Most importantly, both of you are not allowed to be down and depressed and the SAME time. Different times is fine. Then you’ll get through it. Partnering with your Mom, now that’s another story 😉