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8 powerhouse mother-daughter businesses share the secrets to their success

- May 5, 2023 6 MIN READ

 

Is the thought of working day in, day out with your mum enough to give you the sweats? Well, these eight mother-daughter duos prove that when it comes to running a business, it can be a match made in heaven, writes Annette Densham

While many will declare, “I could never work with my mum”, there are many benefits to keeping business in the family.

With 30 per cent of businesses owned and run by women in Australia, and 62 per cent of businesses owned or managed with family members, it’s not surprising that women are doing what they do best – collaborating and working as a team.

For those who are kicking around the idea of going into business with their mum or daughter, here are some tips from other mum and daughter duos, which might make the journey smoother.


1. Faye Brown and Lauren French, Motto Fashions

Faye Brown and Lauren French - Motto Fashions

Faye Brown and Lauren French, Motto Fashions

 

Thirty-seven years ago, Lauren French was a bump in her mother’s tummy when Motto Fashions was born. She grew up playing among fabric offcuts and listening to business conversations around the dinner table at night.

Now, with her mum, she is leading Motto Fashions into a new era as she pivots and shapes the fashion brand for the next 37 years.

While many may shudder at the thought of working with their mother, Lauren revels in Faye’s experience, knowledge and fashion savviness.

“I have learned so much from working with Mum. She has been in the industry for a long time and has seen many trends come and go, but one thing has remained constant – looking after your customers,” Lauren said. “Being in business has its ups and downs – it is hard to turn it off – but that is also a good thing, because we are always talking about ways to make Motto better.”


2. Maxine and Lin Windram, Brava Lingerie

Maxine and Lin Windram Brava Lingerie

Maxine and Lin Windram, Brava Lingerie

 

Lin and Maxine Windram are co-founders of Brava Lingerie. They started the business because they shared a dream of being able to walk into a store to buy supportive bras that looked good.

Lin said while owning a bra shop was never on her radar, she couldn’t imagine not partnering with her daughter. “Ultimately, we shared a problem that we wanted to solve, and nothing was going to get in our way. Maxine is incredibly driven and doesn’t slow down. It is inspiring, and I am proud of her determination,” she said.

Maxine said when people say, “I could never work with my mum”, she responds, “Well, you could if you had my Mum”.

“I love being in business with Mum, it’s an absolute pleasure. The downside is that we tend to forget to celebrate our wins, we just keep going,” she said.

3. Sarah and Pinky McKay, Boobie Bikkies

Sarah and Pinky McKay Boobie Bikkies

Sarah and Pinky McKay, Boobie Bikkies

 

Pinky McKay and daughter Sarah, founders of Boobie Bikkies say working together is the ultimate in someone having your back. But there are challenges working as mother and daughter.

Sarah said Pinky is like the ideas fairy. “Most of her ideas are brilliant (otherwise we wouldn’t have a business), but others I need to slowly talk her down from. I have to remember to keep calm and not talk to her like she is my mother, but my business partner,” she said.

4. Justine and Jazz Woodall, KIDS MOVES

Justine and Jazz Woodall Kids Moves

Justine and Jazz Woodall, KIDS MOVES

 

Sometimes, a business is born to accommodate the mother’s desire to create a space for her child to thrive, like Justine Woodall from KIDS MOVES.

“As a child, Jazz was always my biggest inspiration to create KIDS MOVES. It was a natural development and process for Jazz to become more and more part of the business she inspired me to create,” she said. “As she grew, she would come up with even more creative ideas on how to develop our themed and educational modules, to be inclusive and abide by our 5KM core values.”

“Being in business with Jazz has meant we have some incredibly close experiences that we would never have had if not for developing KIDS MOVES together. Watching first-hand my daughter grow into a teacher that is unlike any other teacher in our field is a favourite of mine.”

5. Sophie and Michelle House, RICH Living Revolution

Sophie and Michelle House, from RICH Living Revolution, love working together, creating business goals, and working to each other’s strengths.

“Because we’ve already got a personal relationship, I know what Mum’s strengths are outside the business, and she knows mine. This makes it easier to work together, working with each other,” Sophie said.

Mum Michelle said there are challenges, but nothing they cannot work through together. “Upset comes from one of three things: thwarted intention, undelivered communication, or unfulfilled expectation. Sophie knows these too, and we are balanced enough to check in with ourselves and then each other about what’s going on. Not talking about work all the time would have to be our current big challenge. We are setting clear boundaries every day to ensure that we still live mother-and-daughter lives,” Michelle said.

6. Amanda Hunter and Jordana Edwards, Breastfeeding Tea Co

Amanda Hunter and Jordana Edwards, Breastfeeding Tea Co

Amanda Hunter and Jordana Edwards, Breastfeeding Tea Co

 

“We both agree that having roles defined from the start is important, as is the amount of time and commitment you both plan to contribute” said Jordana Edwards from Breastfeeding Tea Co.

“My mum is a successful and busy naturopath with her own business and clients. So we had to be clear from the start how much time she could commit to the brand and what her role would be. Although in saying that, she always answers the phone night and day if I call.”

7. Nicole and Zabrynn Lander, Laser Tag

Nicole and Zabrynn Lander, Laser Tag

Nicole and Zabrynn Lander, Laser Tag

 

“Listen to one another. Value each other’s perspective. It is a special gift to work with your family, so it is important to appreciate it,” said Nicole Lander from Laser Tag.

“There will be ups-and-downs, especially when your visions don’t align. But if you’re anything like us, sometimes you’ll find that you’ll be arguing despite actually agreeing. Take a step back and find the point where your perspectives meet – that’s where the best plans are.”

8. Casey Bryden and Jillian Intini, Sunbella

Casey Bryden and Jillian Intini, Sunbella

Casey Bryden and Jillian Intini, Sunbella

 

“If you’re considering going into business together, embrace and enjoy that bond, but you’ll probably need to shed the mother/daughter roles and establish clear responsibilities to succeed,” said Casey Bryden from Sunbella.

“We treat each other as equals, not parent and child, and have fairly defined roles. I manage the brand, sales and marketing, while Jillian focuses on product design, manufacturing, accounts and logistics. We don’t cross into each other’s territory, and respect each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”


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