Hey all, it’s Tiff (the #taudboss) and Danielle (director of creative & communications) here! Since we’re all about getting personal, on the heels of best friend day, we’re sharing thoughts on a pretty sensitive topic: working with besties.
We’re all friends (actually, more like sisters!) at The Jewelry Box, but the two of us were friends long before taudrey came to be. It’s been more than 20 years of laughs, tears, trends, proms, hair irons, workouts, braces, break outs, graduations, juice cleanses, birthday parties, bachelorette trips, family events, breakups, moves, jobs, weddings (we actually planned ours side-by-side and the dates were six weeks apart), births, deaths, and everything in between!
Shout out to Ali (Danielle's sister in the red below!), who is fully responsible for the start of our bond back in the late 90s.
Years into our friendship, as young teens, we worked together helping to execute Miami’s annual swimwear trade show. This was long before “swim week” became what it is today. One summer, we came up with the idea to start a company through which we’d plan events and handle “communications.” We had no idea what we were talking about but the company was called Brunette Productions. We like to think a little piece of Brunette Productions lives within taudrey. And hey, excluding some highlights and a few grey hairs, we’re both still brunettes!
When it comes to working with friends, it’s pretty common to hear loud and clear “DON’T DO IT!” warnings coming from all directions. We get it. In most cases, it’s not going to work. We both have friends, and even relatives, we could never work with. And we can agree that most friends shouldn’t work together. But we are also here to say that it is possible. Certain friends do have a dynamic that can translate smoothly into business. And it can be pretty awesome.
We narrowed down what works for us, so read on to see how we're making it work as besties in life and business.
The only thing you should rush into is a taudrey sale! When forming a business relationship with a friend, think about it. A lot. Write out pros and cons and give everything time to marinate. True, mutually giving friendships don’t grow on trees and should be respected and cherished, so there’s too much at stake to move hastily. We met over coffee (and wine!) for about a year before any final decisions regarding working together were made. Friends shouldn’t work together because they want to have fun at work. It should be because both individuals fully believe in the business and in their complimenting abilities to move it, and each other, forward.
Chances are you’ve shared a lot with one another. I mean, you can imagine how much ground we've covered in 20+ years of sleepovers. But just because you hold each other’s secrets in a memory vault, doesn’t mean things shouldn’t be handled professionally. Force those awkward conversations about expectations, schedules, salaries, bonuses, etc. And take things an awkward step further by putting everything in writing. We have contracts. And while they feature text that’s bolded in pink, they are indeed contracts.
We made a pact at the start of our business relationship to ALWAYS be honest. We promised to talk things out immediately and never let emotions fester to a point where resentment starts to grow like mold on toast. And I must say, we do well with this. We’re both pretty self aware and can usually recognize when we’ve bothered or upset the other before it’s even brought up. Regardless, we always talk things out. We talk, we cry a little and then we laugh and share a cookie. We made a promise to put our friendship and the sisterhood we’ve shared for decades, first.
Take Time Away!
Ok, this one needs some work on our part. When it comes to your bestie, just because you spend hours with each other at work each day, doesn’t mean you’re not also going to want to talk on the phone before and after work and while on vacation, hang out on weekends and holidays, and plan literally every life event together. But it gets tricky when work trickles into the non-work time together. Oftentimes for us, work doesn’t necessarily feel like work, so it easily drips into other moments. But even when it doesn’t feel like work, thinking critically and creatively nonstop can (and totally does) lead to burn out. So we instate mental-health breaks (from work, and if needed, from each other) when needed. Doing so is important. Really important. For the business and for the relationship.
Appreciate the awesomeness!
Sometimes you get used to a great thing and take it for granted. It’s important to take moments and appreciate the awesomeness. For us, it means a great deal to be able to share in the highs and lows of business together. To have a person to cry with, right in the office, when needed. And to have that same person to share coffee with at 4 p.m. because full cups at that time in the day result in insomnia. Now this may sound all types of cheesy, but we make it a point to celebrate our business-relationship awesomeness often. Through notes, hugs, and even gifts.
We know, this all sounds like total marriage advice. And it is. It is a professional marriage. There are ups and downs. It takes work, growth and constant communication. But just like marriage, when you find the right bestie to work with, it’s pretty awesome.
Xo, Tiff and D