Working with our loved ones, especially our partner, is not exactly easy. Maybe that’s why some couples are iffy about entering a business together: There’s just so much involved and at risk.
But here are testaments from four strong women who work with their boyfriend, fiance, or husband. Is it worth it? They sure think so.
Chessie Guerrero and James Torres
"James and I are currently part owners of Potts Point, an organic restaurant we both helped conceptualize and which James made the menu for. It started around two years ago, when he was doing culinary studies, while I was taking up management. My family is very much into the restaurant business, so when my parents wanted to have a new organic restaurant, James and I fit into the project naturally. He now heads Potts Point’s kitchen, while I focus on overseeing how the restaurant runs. It’s fun to work with him. I can be into a lot of the details and ask a lot of hypothetical questions on a business standpoint. And as a calm, objective, and patient guy, he tackles things one at a time and keeps things simple. I still tend to linger on things that aren’t right, though—I have a keen eye for improvement, which can be good and bad.
We usually argue when I cross the line of being objectively critical and whiny.
It always helps to take a step back when we start feeling overwhelmed. I usually need James for that. He knows how to manage my stress levels! His working style also balances mine. Of course there are times when James worries a lot; that’s when I come in. I lay everything out for him and make him see there’s no problem. So when one is stressed or worried, the other shoulders the burden of being the stronger one and making the other feel calm, until we can both think straight together and find a solution. James is very positive—I love that about him. He also loves people—staff or customer—so he’s really motivated to work well.
He’s open to everything, but also very strict when it comes to the quality of the food.
I happen to be picky and critical, too, so when he’s making new items on the menu, I’m honest and straightforward with him. Good thing James listens and communicates very well—he says things in a way that won't offend me. That’s why we’ve never had a fight about business that ended badly. My favorite thing about working with him is having a shared vision and purpose for our lives."
Tiffany Santos and George Canseco III
"I’m a publisher and brand manager for a magazine and a website, while George is an advertising executive for some of the kids and parenting titles of Summit Media. I began working for the company in October 2011, and I did basic presentations with him. George used to guide me frequently, since I was relatively new to the company. It was during an out-of-town event that we really got to work together. We developed feelings for each other during that trip, too.
Working with him can be fun, because I get to see him every day.
It’s pretty helpful that I get to talk to and be close to someone from a different department, because I get a whole new perspective on things. Sometimes it can also be tiring because we have disagreements on decisions, perspectives, and how to do things at work. And this makes us debate with each other, usually in the car on our way home. When I get really exhausted though, he treats me to dinner. The funny thing is that as much as we don’t always see eye to eye on some matters and we have tiring debates, George is still my instant anti-stress person. He cheers me up anytime."
Olivia d’Aboville and Miro Grgic
"Miro founded the annual Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival with my dad. It’s his dream, which he told me some time ago. [It’s been running for four years now, with] Miro putting the whole production together and booking the performers, and me handling the visual arts. It’s amazing how much of it has actually materialized. There is still so much more on his mind, so I’m sure Malasimbo will keep evolving through the years.
The best thing about Miro is that he delivers.
I’ve always listened a lot and tried to guide some of his ideas in an organic process, because as much as I want to focus only on the arts, I also get involved in the logistics. After all, staging a festival is all about logistics. Miro, being so free, has no inhibitions. It’s great to work with someone who isn't scared of taking risks. He’s a creative person, so ideas come in all the time. There’s never a dull moment.
Sometimes though I need to pull Miro back to reality.
Organizing Malasimbo puts a lot of pressure on the group. I’m always stuck between my dad and Miro! The festival is such a personal project. So sometimes things are taken at a personal level as well. It’s not always easy to work with family, but luckily we all love each other."
Deane Miguel and Lester Cruz
"Lester and I develop brand identities for small and big businesses through our design studio Serious Studio. It was something we decided to do straight out of college! We just jumped into it with no prior experience [of working in/for a studio]. Design is our ultimate passion, so it made so much sense to pursue it. Working hand in hand on everything, from designing to handling the accounts, is fairly easy because we have a shared vision.
It’s a great partnership because we know each other so well and trust each other completely.
Trust is a key thing in making a business work, right? There are some disagreements, but we respect each other a lot and have learned not to take the other’s words personally, especially when one of us doesn’t get his way.
It can’t be helped that we get stressed; it’s a big part of the job. When that happens, we make sure to comfort each other. At the end of the day, we know that we’re on the same team so we have to help each other out no matter what.
Working with Lester is honestly the best thing for me. There’s nothing like literally being together as we build our hopes and dreams.
This whole process has made us better people, not just in business, but also as a couple. I love seeing him grow in his craft, and I’m happy to be part of it. It’s very fulfilling and humbling to create something that allows the person you love to do what he loves."