Could you work with your mum or daughter? – The women who do reveal things can get very spiky! There’s nothing like the bond between a mother and daughter — but it’s no secret that this relationship can also be one of the most emotionally fraught.
So what happens when you see your mum every single day — and have to take orders from her, too?
Many women would shudder at the thought, but these five mothers and daughters insist working together has helped their businesses to thrive — despite a few tense moments along the way. Studies support the idea that relatives working together can be a route to success, with 93 per cent of family-owned businesses expecting to grow, according to research by PwC. Another survey found bosses see employing younger family members as a good way to get a millennial’s point of view — without the risk their younger workers will quit in search of pastures new after a year or two. So, what’s it like to work as a mother-and-daughter team?
As Mother’s Day approaches, JILL FOSTER speaks to ten women about the ups and downs of keeping business in the family . . .
WHEN DAD DIED, WE KEPT GOING TOGETHER Laura King, 58, from Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, employs daughter Holly, 24, as director of sales at King’s Fine Food, which specialises in caviar. She also has a son, Harry, 19, and two stepchildren.
Laura says: When my husband John and I asked Holly if she’d like to work for us four years ago, we wanted to help her out with a first job. It turned out she was the greatest help we could have hoped for.
Soon after, in June 2014, John was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour. It was devastating, but Holly was incredible — doing things a daughter really shouldn’t have to do for her dad, such as feeding him and taking him to the bathroom.
We shared our responsibilities at work and she never complained. Had she not been around, I would have had to quit, which would have been catastrophic for the business.
Since John died in 2015, I feel so lucky to see Holly every day. I’ve joked she can never leave home — I’m not sure how she feels about that.
I’ve worked throughout my life, even when the children were small. Now, I feel I’m making up for lost time with Holly, in a way.
But we do have our differences. She can be stroppy in the mornings, but at least I can tell her to shut up. A normal boss wouldn’t be so frank.
There have even been occasions when she’s stormed off and says she’s leaving the business. But we always make up. She has such a strong work ethic — she puts in more hours because she doesn’t want to be ‘the boss’s daughter’.
I’m so proud of her. John adored her and would be so proud, too.
Holly says: I feel so lucky I was around to help when Dad got ill. That experience brought me and Mum closer. At first, I thought there was no way I could work for her without us killing one another. I said ‘yes’ as I thought I’d only be there for a couple of months, but then, slowly, I realised how much I enjoyed it.
At first, calling her ‘Mum’ in the office felt strange, but calling her ‘Laura’ felt wrong, too. Now, I mostly use ‘Laura’ — but if we’re not in work, people think I’m being rude.
Likewise, there are times in the office when she slips up and calls me ‘Bubs’ — her pet name for me — and I have to say: ‘Don’t do that!’
At 7am, she’ll fling open my door and say ‘Get up, Holly,’ like she did when I was at school. Sometimes, when she offers me a lift, I say ‘No chance’ and drive off myself, hoping she gets stuck in traffic so I can have some time alone.
You can never take a sickie working for your mum. But, all in all, I love it. Being in the family business means I still feel close to my dad, too.
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