This is probably one of the first things people ask Monique and I about our company. And the answer for us is an easy one. Here’s why.
Monique and I started our b.box journey together, I think that’s a really big key to our success – both in business, and in friendship. For those who don’t know how we started, here’s a snapshot.
We became good friends in London, when we were both living and working there in our respective careers: Monique in energy risk management and me in strategic communications. Then, the life changing moment of parenthood arrives and you start to reassess your “Why”.
It was on a flight with my then newborn that our first product idea was born. And I say “our” because when I called Monique, and downloaded the angst of the flight as new mums do, we started to brainstorm about what the ideal product would look like. I had a start point and then Monique added her ideas, together we came up with our first b.box baby – the diaper wallet. It would have been a very different product had I gone it alone.
Monique always says “It is much easier to jump off a cliff holding someone else’s hand”. Here’s why I’m glad it’s her hand I get to hold on this journey:
1. We are 50/50 partners at every step – financially and in our decision making
2. We bring very different skills to the mix – Monique handles all our finance, production and operations, and I cover our creative side and sales
3. We respect each other and the roles we play in the business
4. We look at things differently, although we don’t always agree (and trust me we have had some reality TV worthy arguments), our goals and vision are united: we always come to a strategy or direction we both embrace
5. We trust each other – sounds obvious – but vital
6. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and work together to ensure we have each other’s backs – always
7. We are honest. If there’s an issue, we deal with it – both in business and in our friendship
8. We have different social circles, which gives us time apart
9. We have fun together – we love what we do!
10. We have “date night” – it’s important to do things together as friends too
If you’re thinking of starting a business with a friend, my advice would be to pick someone who brings necessary but different skills and perspective to the business. Make sure you have an open discussion early-on about what you both want from the business – personally and commercially.
It is essential to be on the same page from the outset. When we started our business, we sat down together to discuss what the business would look like from a structural and practical perspective. We also had a “pre-nuptial” drawn-up to cover the potential “what if” scenarios. This was important, as it made us discuss some of the big challenges we may have faced and how we would handle them.
Starting a business can be a scary, financially daunting decision. And running a business throws up many challenges and emotions everyday. Could I do this on my own? No. But the better question is, would I want to? And the answer to that is NO.
b.box is successful because of our friendship. And our friendship is certainly stronger now than ever before. Together, we’re stronger!
About our Ausmumpreneur Expert :
b.box for kids is a multi-award winning Australian company started by two Melbourne mums, Dannielle Michaels & Monique Filer. The company now has a team of 12 and its range of baby products are sold in over 750 stores nationally and in over 20 countries. The thing that makes b.box unique is the thought they give to design, functionality and aesthetic. With the benefit of their founders being mums themselves, they design products they want to use and that fill a gap in the market. And the market likes what they do – redefining toddler feeding with cool, innovative and practical products, that kids love to use and that make parenting easier and a bit funkier!
Pop online to see their range at www.bbox.com.au and connect with b.box on Instagram and Facebook @bboxforkids