We’d like to introduce you to some of the family businesses listed on TheHouseDirectory.com. It’s a tenuous path for family members to work together without conflict and we celebrate companies that have successful inter-generational working relationships. We asked the different generations behind these inspirational businesses to share their experiences of working together and what they have learned from one another.
Lewis & Wood
Image: Stephen and Ben at the Design Centre showroom.
‘Working with Ben has made me aware of a younger person’s outlook and has also made me realise how easy it is to become out of touch. Watching Ben has helped me understand the use and benefit of social media; this must be the first time that the older generation are simply unable to engage with an important element of business, which is so much better understood by the younger generation.’ – Stephen Lewis, Managing Director Lewis & Wood
‘I never thought I would end up working with my Dad but, all things considered, it’s worked out rather well. I am endlessly impressed with what he has achieved, as I remember so clearly when he was starting Lewis & Wood out of the basement of our family home in Hammersmith. It’s a hard thing to work out, the whole boss-father relationship, but very rewarding when we can work as a team.’ – Ben Lewis, Head of London Sales
Image: Emma and Lucy Vaughan, displaying their lampshades.
‘Over the two years of us working together, we’ve learned how important it is to acknowledge and encourage the other person’s creative process. It may look different in terms of approach, but is just as valid and important – and more often than not, results in the same outcome!’ Emma and Lucy Vaughan.
Carolyn Parker Interior Design
Image: Abby and Carolyn at work.
‘I am constantly learning by working with someone younger as it helps me keep abreast of current trends and helps me have an insight into our young clients’ lifestyles and needs. On a personal relationship level, I think it makes me patient and flexible. We have a golden rule; if one of us is against something we don’t do it and never try to persuade the other. I am a great believer in instinct, and I have great confidence in Abby’s instinct.’ Carolyn Parker
A Shade Above
Image: Fiona Ascroft and Martin and Pat Blake.
‘Working together with my parents has helped me to stay focussed on the heart of our business – making sure the quality of our lampshades and our personal service is always the best.’ Fiona Ascroft
‘To build a successful business you have to have a strong core group, stay competitive and build essential links with clients in a fast-changing, design-led market.’ Martin Blake
‘Working with Fiona, I’ve learned how crucial a strong, talented and loyal team is to the ongoing success and creativity of the business.’ Pat Blake
Image: David and Sam Wilkinson.
‘That the ‘old way’ and the ‘new way’ of doing business aren’t so different. Our business principles are the same and we all enjoy the work that we do.’ Sam Wilkinson
Image: Alexandra and Claudia with their father, Richard Davidson.
‘We find it really fulfilling working as a family and learning our knowledge of furniture from our father. Sharing a family passion which is passed down the generations benefits the business hugely as it maintains consistent company values over time.’ Claudia Davidson, Marketing Director
‘To trust the opinions of a younger generation and to create a line of succession that allows the creation of new ideas.’ Richard Davidson
Image: Penny and Ted Morrison
‘Growing up in a house full of colour and spontaneity that naturally epitomises Penny’s ‘look’ has certainly helped to evolve my aesthetic in her mould. Her style is so clearly a reflection of her character, and I absolutely love that. It is so rare to be able to work in harmony with one’s mother, but I hope that gives our business something a bit different, that not many others have.’ Ted Morrison, Director of Penny Morrison and The Fabric Collective.
‘I adore working with Ted and am delighted to see him developing different areas of the business that I set-up nearly 40 years ago, with his ability to modernise areas that I didn’t even consider as important to how I ran the business previously. Whilst I am a bona fide creative, Ted brings his experience of working in finance which helps massively to complement my artistic nature! It means I can focus on the fun parts of decorating whilst not having to worry about the boring bits!’ Penny Morrison, Interior & Fabric Designer and founder of The Fabric Collective.
Image: Katya and Nigel Carew-Jones.
‘Never work with family. Never back down. Never be the one to leave the office first. Always answer back. Never apologise. Always get witnesses. Last one standing wins. Shall I go on?’ Katya, on working together with her father.
At TheHouseDirectory.com, we consider our members and readers our extended family and part of a like-minded community. So, please keep in touch and share your favourite lessons learned (or cautionary tales) from family, both young and old; we’d love to hear your stories!
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