8 Mother-Daughter Businesses

Despite the occasional bumps, these mother-daughter teams cherish the time they get to spend together running successful businesses.

The relationship between a mother and daughter can only truly be understood by mothers and daughters. They can go from fighting to laughing in a second, but one thing remains constant--their unconditional love for one another. But imagine taking this sometimes tumultuous relationship into the business world.

These eight mother-daughter teams prove that it can work. Whether it's establishing a successful law practice or building a cookie empire, they've figured out how to complement each other's strengths. It makes sense when you consider few people probably know you better than your mom.

The Rockers

The mother-daughter team: Maria, 59, and Barbara, 31, Serbes
Their venture:Rock Your Religion
Founded:
October 2006
Location: Both Maria and Barbara work on their website out of their homes. Maria lives in New Egypt, New Jersey, and Barbara works out of her home in New York.
Projected 2007 sales: $300,000
Employees: 3

What they do: Give people of all faiths the chance to wear traditional religious symbols in a modern, rock-star kind of way. Their products include cuffs and pendants featuring religious symbols such as the Chi Rho and the cross. They are releasing their Star of David collection later this year.

Maria on working with Barbara: "I love everything about working with my daughter. She has great ideas like her mother--my husband refers to us as the 'idea girls'--and she's fun to be with. She's a smart woman. I'm very luck to have had her."

Their advice to other mother-daughter teams: "If you both love each other tremendously, enjoy spending tons of time together and trust each other, then I say go for it," says Barbara. "But if you don't, then starting a business together is the last thing you should do." Maria also encourages mothers and daughters to follow in their footsteps. "It keeps you connected and young," she says.

Barbara's Mother's Day message to Maria: "Mitera mou, you are the most beautiful mother both inside and out, and I feel so lucky and thankful that you're mine. Happy Mother's Day. Se agapo [I love you]."

The Lawyers

The mother-daughter team: Adrian, 58, and Erica, 29, Pruetz
Their venture: Pruetz Law Group LLP
Founded: February 2007
Location: Manhattan Beach, California
Employees: 4

What they do: They are a peer-reviewed, AV-rated firm with a winning track record and years of experience in high-profile litigation. They specialize in intellectual property litigation and business litigation.

Adrianon working with Erica: "Working with my daughter is rewarding on so many levels. Not only do I have a front-row seat to her growth and success as a lawyer, but I have her companionship and am able to share in her life to a degree that would make many mothers envious."

Their advice to other mother-daughter teams: Adrian and Erica both agree that opening up this type of business isn't right for every family. "My mother and I practiced law together at a large firm for three years before we opened our firm, so we already knew we worked well together," says Erica. "It's not for everyone, but it's a good fit for us."

Erica's Mother's Day message to Adrian: "Thanks for taking a leap of faith and going into business with me. If the first few months are any indication, we are going to have a long, happy and prosperous business partnership." 

The Beauty Gurus

The mother-daughter team: Georgette, 61, Stephanie, 28, and Jamie Kaplan, 26
Their venture:Ms. & Mrs.
Founded:
2004
Location: Arlington Heights, Illinois
Employees: 4

What they do: Create practical and comprehensive kits for life's many occasions and emergencies. Each "survival kit" has a distinctive, retro look. Popular kits include The Bridesmaid's Survival Kit, The College Survival Kit, and the original kit that started it all, The Working Girl's Survival Kit.

How Ms. & Mrs. came to be: When Jamie entered the workforce, older sister Stephanie wanted to wish her luck. She asked for her mom's help in putting together a collection of items Jamie could keep at her desk for emergencies. The kit was a hit, and Ms. & Mrs. was born.

Georgette on working with Stephanie and Jamie: "I feel fortunate that my daughters are a part of my daily work routine. Though it's a lot of hard work, we believe in our company, and the response has been overwhelming. Professional gratification is that much better when you can share it with your family."

Their advice to other mother-daughter teams: All three women agree it's difficult to distinguish between their professional and personal relationships sometimes, but they still wouldn't change a thing. "The business has added a whole new dimension to my relationship with my mom and sister," says Stephanie. "It's a challenge we enjoy tackling together. Of course, this means that work time bleeds into personal time more than we would like."

Stephanie and Jamie's Mother's Day message to Georgette: "We couldn't survive without you."

The Bakers

The mother-daughter team: Sondra, 52, and Allyson, 21, Ames
Their venture: Wonderland Bakery
Founded: October 2005
Location: Newport Beach, California
2006 sales: $1.2 million
Employees: 8

What they do: Wonderland is a destination bakery experience with creative and delicious cupcakes, cookies, cakes and gifts for celebrations, occasions and corporate gifts. This October, the duo will celebrate their second anniversary by launching their Allyson Wonderland Storytime Bear by Gund, a cookbook, aprons, bake sets and other products.

Awards and celebrity sightings: Even though it's only been around since 2005, Wonderland Bakery has been declared Newport Beach's "Official Sweet Ambassador" and maker of the city's official cookie, cupcake and cake. Local celebrities also flock to the shop, including basketball star Kobe Bryant.

Sondra on working with Allyson: "Initially, it was an adjustment as I always made decisions independently. My daughter needed to remind me of our partnership a few times when we first began the business. We quickly found a natural flow of our talent, and now Allyson runs the back of the house using her creativity and culinary skills while I run the business and marketing side of Wonderland."

Their advice to other mother-daughter teams: Go for it. "To create an environment to help mentor and nurture your daughter's talent and help her become all she can be in the world is an incredible experience," Sondra says. Allyson adds their newfound professional relationship has helped her learn about business: "I learn so much from my mom. Running a business is much more than I imagined or learned in my college classes."

Allyson's Mother's Day message to Sondra: "You are the best mom, partner and friend. It is a sweet honor living the dream with you in Wonderland."

The Bridal Pros

The mother-daughter team: Brenda Cascio, 50, and Audrey Edwards, 25; Madelyn Cascio, 21, will be joining the team when she graduates from college in May.
Their venture:Gracious Bridal
Founded:
December 2006
Location: Austin, Texas
Projected 2007 sales: $200,000
Employees: 3

What they do: Provide brides and wedding consultants with upscale wedding accessories, favors and monogrammed gifts.

How Gracious Bridal came to be: Neither Brenda nor Audrey had experience in the bridal industry before launching their website. While searching for favors for Audrey's wedding, they were disappointed with the selection, so created their own. After the wedding, the resort they held the reception at asked to purchase their collection of wedding decorations, and event planners began contacting them.

Brenda on working with Audrey: "Audrey has the drive to grow the business and is more than willing to work hard to make that happen. She especially helps me to focus. I tend to think more creatively, while Audrey puts a timeline to the ideas and then implements them."

Their advice to other mother-daughter teams: Both Brenda and Audrey believe in taking time off from bridal talk. "Being able to have fun as a family is very important to us, so when we're boating or sipping margaritas, we usually don't discuss business," says Audrey. "But if one of us thinks of a creative idea, we will naturally discuss it."

Audrey's Mother's Day message to Brenda: "Happy Mother's Day, Mom. Thank you for your constant inspiration and support. I love you so much."

The Restaurateurs

The mother-daughter team: Zov, 62, and Taleene, 33, Karamardian
Their venture: Zov's Bistro
Founded: 1987
Location: Tustin, California
Employees: 145 by the end of 2007

What they do: Provide a fine-dining experience by mixing Zov's Mediterranean roots with contemporary and California influences. The popular bistro emerged from a catering business started by Zov, the restaurant's award-winning chef. Daughter Taleene joined the family business as vice president of operations. Now, the local hotspot is expanding to two other locations within Southern California.

Other family members involved: Zov and Taleene aren't the only ones who get quality family time. Zov's husband and son also work with them at the restaurant. Husband, Gary, is a proprietor, while son, Armen, is vice president of development.

Zov on working with Taleene: "I love working with my daughter; she brings calmness in my life and the restaurant. She has a great sense of humor and always makes me laugh."

Their advice to other mother-daughter teams: "I would only recommend this relationship for other mothers and daughters if they're able to respect each other's boundaries," says Taleene. For Zov, "The most important thing is to be able to recognize each family member's strength and capitalize on those strengths."

Taleene's Mother's Day message to Zov: "Happy Mother's Day. I love you and I am so proud of you."

 

The Fashionistas

The mother-daughter team: Takara, 50, and Tamiya, 30, Beathea
Their venture: TAKARA
Founded: 2002; their new location opened in April
Location: Oak Park, Illinois
Projected 2007 sales: $1 million
Employees: 1

What they do: Takara first entered the world of fashion when she saw a need for clothing that flattered curvier women. The duo originally opened their store Willow in 2002, followed by their TAKARA boutique in 2006. Takara and Tamiya decided to combine the two businesses and reopen under the name TAKARA because of her name recognition, vast customer base and 25-plus years in the fashion industry.

Takara on working with Tamiya: "I find that working with Miya keeps me on the pulse of fashion. She keeps me current with trends for the younger, distinctive shopper."

Their advice to other mother-daughter teams: Takara advises working on your mother-daughter relationship before even contemplating starting a business together. "If you haven't worked on your mother-daughter relationship, as Miya and I have, your working relationship can be bound for failure," says Takara.

Tamiya's Mother's Day message to Takara: "Mum, thank you for teaching me to realize my goals and ambitions through the power of faith in myself and tenacity. Thank you for welcoming me as your daughter. I admire you more than anyone I have ever read about or met, for your unconditional love is my virtue. Thank you for being you." 

The Fashionistas

The mother-daughter team: Takara, 50, and Tamiya, 30, Beathea
Their venture: TAKARA
Founded: 2002; their new location opened in April
Location: Oak Park, Illinois
Projected 2007 sales: $1 million
Employees: 1

What they do: Takara first entered the world of fashion when she saw a need for clothing that flattered curvier women. The duo originally opened their store Willow in 2002, followed by their TAKARA boutique in 2006. Takara and Tamiya decided to combine the two businesses and reopen under the name TAKARA because of her name recognition, vast customer base and 25-plus years in the fashion industry.

Takara on working with Tamiya: "I find that working with Miya keeps me on the pulse of fashion. She keeps me current with trends for the younger, distinctive shopper."

Their advice to other mother-daughter teams: Takara advises working on your mother-daughter relationship before even contemplating starting a business together. "If you haven't worked on your mother-daughter relationship, as Miya and I have, your working relationship can be bound for failure," says Takara.

Tamiya's Mother's Day message to Takara: "Mum, thank you for teaching me to realize my goals and ambitions through the power of faith in myself and tenacity. Thank you for welcoming me as your daughter. I admire you more than anyone I have ever read about or met, for your unconditional love is my virtue. Thank you for being you." 

 

The Animal Lovers

The mother-daughter team: Anita, fiftysomething, Cathy, thirtysomething, and Kelly, twentysomething, Ledtje
Their venture: For Other Living Things
Founded: 2000
Location: Sunnyvale, California
Projected 2007 sales: About $500,000
Employees: 3

What they do: Specialize in creating holistic pet supply products for dogs, cats, small animals and birds. The shop has been Anita's dream since grade school. What sets them apart from other pet supply stores is the thorough research they do on their products.

Kelly on working with Anita: "I like the comfort of working with my mom. I don't have a boss that I'm nervous around or uncomfortable around. The only bad part is that all of your embarrassing childhood stories get brought up and told to customers."

Their advice to other mother-daughter teams: Though it works for them, the team at For Other Living Things says they can see it being a difficult situation for some mothers and daughters. "When we get on each other's nerves, we just work in different parts of the store for a while until we cool down," Anita says. "We talk about it when it matters, get over it and continue. If you can handle that, go for it."

Cathy and Kelly's Mother's Day message to Anita: "If the rest of the world put one-tenth the dedication, energy, love and respect into their relationships and endeavors, there would be peace on earth. I know how much of yourself you give to everything you do, and I appreciate it," says Cathy. Kelly adds, "I love you Mom; you're the best."

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