tv Your Business MSNBC May 10, 2015 4:30am-5:01am PDT
how does a small business owner navigate the workplace when their mothers, fathers, brothers or sisters are employees. coming up next on a special mother's day edition of "your business." small businesses are revitalizing the economy and american express open is here to help. that's why we're proud to present "your business" on msnbc.
hi everyone. welcome to your business. the show dedicated to helping your small business grow. since today is mother's day, we thought we would devote our entire program to the issues and lessons that someone learns running a family-owned small business. christina sheldon and her mother have been close. so it was only natural that linda started helping christina out when she started her jewelry company christina v. neither guessed that linda would become the number one employee. it's a tuesday morning in long island. and christina and her mom are in
linda's kitchen making lunch for her friends. >> how many times do you think you have been in this position? mom and daughter prepareing a meal together? >> too many. >> i don't know. >> every day this happens. >> every day? >> yeah. >> but this isn't just another social lunch. this lunch is about business and the business is christina v. christina's 8-year-old jewelry company. >> maybe once a month or something, i'll have a group of women over for lunch. it will be different people. these are women i rely heavily on when i have a new business idea or model. >> it's fitting that the lunch is happening at linda's house. the house is the headquarters for the company whose officers are right down stairs in the basement. because of the number one employee at christina v is linda. >> could you have guessed it would happen? you would get a job and be working for your daughter? >> never in a million years. i think that's why it works
well. it happens naturally. >> christina started selling her jewelry in college. at the end of one trunk show early on it occurred to her, she could make a career of it. >> all the pieces were gone and we had orders for, like 57 pieces. i was a bit overwhelmed but i thought, wow, i made that much money in three hours. in is exciting. this is worth expanding. >> so when she graduated, she set up shop in her parent's basement. >> when christina came home from college, i would naturally say what can i do for you? what can i help with? >> before she had kids linda had been a dancer and dance teacher. when christina and her brothers came along, linda gave up her career. >> i wanted to be a stay at home mom. that's why i left dancing to become a mom. >> how did you turn from mom helping out your daughter because you saw she needed help and chatting to mom as employee?
>> well, i think the evolution of christina v. all of a sudden, she became more busy and she had more pieces to make. i naturally was there. >> i mean, it's in my mom's character. us her three children we're her priority. then as i got busier she educated herself and started taking classes on wire wrapping. >> today linda is in charge of production. making some of the more intry candidate pieces herself. >> what is it like to work together? >> it's great! >> the best. >> we have fun! >> it's -- i mean, it's productive. we're both working hard but it also doesn't seem like work. you know, it's just fun. >> they both say it took a little adjustment in the beginning. christina had to get used to being the boss. >> she said, you know when we're down here when we're in
the officer, you need to give me direction and treat me as anyone else. >> angela walsh who works with christina v said now the roles are clear now. >> do i consider them mother and daughter? we our own duties and special jobs we have to do, it doesn't seem like that. >> the mother daughter relationship is never far from the forefront. francine was one of christina v's first customers. she loves the jewelry line for its design for the customer service, the family, the food. it's a joyous thing because it's like the -- it's like a holiday with another family and you're together with them. >> and advisors appreciate the family atmosphere. >> because people are just talking personally. they're talking from the heart. >> for linda and christina who have been close, working together made them even closer. >> i had never known the career side of mom, you know, and i would hear stories about how she was so diligent and a hard worker but it never really
translated. it's been neat as a daughter, i see all of those qualities, you know, every single day. >> how does it make you feel when your hear your daughter talk about you as a business person? she knew you as a mother growing up now she has so much praise for you as a business person. >> i was standing listening and my heart was just full! to hear those words was the ultimate. >> today christina v is growing quickly. they sell in boutiques, high-end hoeltsd hotels, on the christina v website. as the company continues to expand and change there's one thing that will remain constant. >> could you imagine not working together now? >> no. i would miss you so much! >> i would be so sad. >> i can't imagine it. nine years ago i started my company with my brother as a cofounder. before that my brother started a company with my mother and my
father worked with his father. for us it works. we enjoy working with each other. but, you know, running a family business is hard for a lot of people. tensions can run high as feelings get in the way of business. meet two entrepreneurs who enlisted the help much their parents and had to figure out their own ways to balance what couldn't become the slippery slope. >> owning a clothing business was her dream. >> it's what i want to do with my life. >> in 2011 at the anyone ofge of 21, she opened her boutique in maplewood, new jersey with help from her parents. the help wasn't a hand out. it was a business agreement. >> i wanted to treat them as investors and not just my parents giving me money. i took that as a loan from my parents. we set up a plan to kind of pay back along the way. >> her parents saw her as smart
investment. she had shown a love for fashion, and after realizing college wasn't a right fit, janine proved she had a natural knack in retail as a manager of a nearby clothinger to storee inging store. >> it's brilliant. i'm shelling out less than one semester. >> there are obvious perks to having your biggest supporters as your investors. >> you're able to have the conversations where you're saying oh we're planning on this and that's why i can't pay this amount back right now but i can pay it back then and with a normal investor they would say, well, that's too bad. you need to pay that back. >> i didn't really get an official résumé. i'm waiting for that. >> i'm not very partial. >> when he was ready to build a team for his business infusion
sciences in maryland, he didn't have to look far. >> linda her right hand goes by her first name when doing business. >> working together it's easier if he refers to me as linda. >> really? >> he could call her something else as well. >> i think it's more linda as senior director as opposed to mom. >> linda, who is an entrepreneur in her own right having founded a line of skin care admits it's tough to not always be mom. >> he's my child. he's my son. i see that probably first. we're here to do business and we do business. we focus on business, but he's my son. >> he hired linda because he knew they had complimentary skills. >> he's more the scientist. he's methodical and i'm mouthy and all over the place. i think we just -- >> if i weren't -- >> we probably would kill each other if he weren't laid back.
>> they have proven successful with youth infusion with an all natural powdered vitamin. >> i have a lot of contact from the past and i kind of know the ropes what you need to do with manufacturing. >> youth infusion is sold on the company's website and at retailers like the vitamin shop. they don't hide their family ties, it's not front and center in conversations. but they do blog ability it on their website. they admit that working with family isn't always easy. >> you don't want to just bring in family because they're family, because if they haveit would make an awful family party the next time you go. >> they say it can be entertaining. >> i have my ways of doing things and linda has her ways of doing things. >> i'm always right! >> she's always right even though when she's wrong she's right. >> i'm not wrong! >> didn't i teach you better than that? >> they say around business they try to not take things
personally. >> with business i don't hold back. i'm very honest. >> one of the keys to anything is communication. if you have something on your mind, you probably need to verbalize it. >> a lot of times i'll say what do you think about this and she's like no that's not the look i want. >> i've come to really respect what her vision is. >> and linda agrees. she says her son is the boss and because of that their relationship works. >> it's his company. it's his product. he does know what he's doing. he's very smart or i wouldn't be in business with him. i've taken a backseat. i work for him and i work cheap! running a business can be challenging. being in a marriage can be challenging. think about what it's like to mix the two. joining us now is a married couple sharing their sets how to be successful and happy running a business side by side with
your house. hannah and mark are the cofounders of wallaland. >> hannah, you came up with an idea for a great stylish sippy dhaup helped solve the problems for your kid. had you worked together before? mark you were a serial entrepreneur. had you been involved in any of the companies, hannah? >> no never. i've never been involved in his work before. >> tell me the conversation which is we're starting a business together. we have a new baby we're married, you had school. how did you talk about it? >> i'm proud of our level of communication. before we started the business i just said you have a great idea. i'm dying to take this market. before we go on any further we
need to spend the next month how grueling, how difficult, how mind blowing, how disappointing and up-and-down the ride will be. >> you talk about the tips having a shared vision as you need with any cofounder, right. and having defined roles. again, as you have with any cofounder. it's different when you're married, right? because when you go home if you are annoyed with each other something at work how do you deal with it when you get home. how do you turn it off or do you not? >> i think the biggest thing is just we communicate really well. i think that's just taken practice. again, we've been dating for a long time. we sort of nailed that we're just direct and up front with one another. again, you keep going back to the communication. something else you talk about is commitment. commitment is important. you talked about it for a month before we're both committed to this.
what would happen if one of you said i'm out. i can't do this anymore. i would imagine a bit torn by this might not be good for the business but it's good for you and i care about you so deeply as my spouse. >> the hard thing is being committed in all aspects. we're together at the office we're trying to be professional and then we come home and on the way home we're trying to be husband and wife. as soon as we get home we try to be mom and dad. that sounds really easy but it needs to be all day long. if one starts slipping? that, i mean, it gets rough really fast. >> has there been anything that was hard? can you give our audience insight this was an issue we had and this is how we dealt with it. >> so i think the biggest thing, i think for us we have a shared vision and a common goal. i mean we start eded we were like we want to build sustainable brand. it was hugely important to us.
our goal is to get the product in front of millions of moms and, you know, a lot of times it means identifying opportunities and sort of being in alignment with one another when the opportunities arise. for example, we did an recent event and we struggled. we said is it the right move for us? mark and i agreed we would try it out and we were able to get our product in front of millions of moms and, you know, we even successfully completed our second event. >> that's great. thank you so much. it's really wonderful to see a couple that can work so well together. it's great and oftentimes people struggle with it. you are an inspiration. thank you. >> thank you for having us. for more than 100 years the family has run an amusement company in maryland. it's been a challenging roller coaster ride trying to navigate through changing again rational family dynamics and keeping ab inging
an old school business relevant. i spent a day to find out the trick to surviving through so many begun again generations. >> for brooks and christopher and their aunt stefanie taking over trooper rides on the board walk in ocean city maryland was as much destiny as choice. >> my grandfather called and wanted me to be involved with the family business. >> the company was founded in 1890 by daniel trooper who visited ocean city from baltimore and never left. >> we've had many things from movie theaters to dance halls amusement amusements, minigolf. >> today it includes an amusement park arcade games, restaurants, and other attractions. as the ocean city board walk grew over the last century, so did the company. from here to the end it's
trooper? >> yes. to the water. >> and the chairman is brooks. the fifth generation to take the reigns. the great, great grandson of the founder. from the perspective of any thrill seeker looking to hop on to the freak out or someone looking to win a stuffed animal at the horse race it all looks easy. fun and games, really but to brooks and his family running this business is anything but. the family drama is just the start. >> there's probably approximately 25 stockholders and, you know, those stockholders have children and spouses and things. that's quite a few people that have some sort of ownership. >> ownership and different ideas how things should be run. >> i have a lot of extended family that have at lot of needs and desires, they want to get return on their investment, which is understandable. everyone does. being the nominee runs it i feel my grandfather left us with that responsibility to not only do we need to provide an amuse
amusement park to the people of ocean city but a return for our shareholders. >> this place has history, because of that it's hard to change almost anything. it took brooks and christopher an entire year to get their grandfather to start accepting credit cards. >> there's a lot of people stuck in their ways. it doesn't matter if a new policy comes out, this is how we did it for 88 years. >> in a business that has so many memories attached to it it's not only the idea of the shareholders are beholden to but the customers. >> when we take a ride out because it's past of the time or no longer can get parts or no longer profits. we get complaints. where are the boats? brooks said his company is decidely old school. pretty much by definition. they're committed to keeping it alive. so they're working with the board to make the changes needed to have an old school amusement
business survive in this modern world. a clear example is the arcade. marty's play land. >> the biggest challenge is the prizes the kids want. so, you know, now we have video games with ipads and itouches. >> i can win an ipad or itouch? >> yeah. >> that is different than when i was a kid! >> yes. >> while the prizes may change and the rides may get a little scarier to attract the teens, the troopers are dedicated to keeping this amusement park true to the park they grew up in. if they have it their way, there will be another round running this in the next generation. >> the land your business is on is worth a lot of money. marty's playland the amusement park -- is it tempting to selling? >> i can't say we haven't thought about it. i would never trade out our heritage on the board walk. i would want to be here every
day anyway and i wouldn't want it to be somebody else. >> not even for a big payout? >> not even for a big payout. when we come back, we answer viewer questions about running a family business including getting funlding and how family dynamics can hurt you when it comes to hiring. american express for travel and entertainment worldwide. just show them this - the american express card. don't leave home without it! and someday, i may even use it on the moon. it's a marvelous thing! oh! haha! so you can replace plane tickets, traveler's cheques, a lost card. really? that worked? american express' timeless safety and security are now available on apple pay. the next evolution of membership is here.
both of youguys. >> let's start with the first question, all the questions today are about family businesses. the first is about access to funding. >> as a family-owned businesses how difficult is it to get funding from general resources such as sba, venture capitalist or crowd funding? he said funders were reluctant to fund them because they were a husband wife team. >> it's hard. if you want to borrow money it's hard. venture capital, forget about it. you have a one in a million chance. you better be prepared. you better have a written plan about why you need to borrow the money and how you are going to pay it back.
>> that's hard for anyone. does it make any harder because you're a family run edned because of the deep ties to the community. i don't think it makes it any harder. you need to be prepared. that's the main thing. you have to give the lenders something to sink their teeth into. >> the important thing is you have to have as wayne said, a business plan. and i would agree 100% that the smaller banks, you have a much better chance of getting funding there than the larger banks. venture capitalists, you see that from time to time. usually that's more unique ideas
and things. keep in mind that 63% of all the gdp is from family owned businesses. so there's a strong history here. >> when you go in to get funded a loan or equity they want to know that you have thought about the things that could happen. this is just another thing to bring up. we spot through that. nothing is going take us by surprise. needles to say this brings about an array of concepts as to which direction we should develop our business. can you advise or recommend are sources?
this is exactly what happens in multigenerational businesses. the younger people come. the older people have this institutional knowledge. and unlike a business where it's not family you have all of these other emotions that get caught up in it as well. >> now you have many more sibling partnerships. i have to tell you their decision making generally speaking is horribly broken. you have got the family over here the business over here which is objective and dispassionate. you put the two together and you think we're going have some elements of dispassion. it's all emotion. and the family business decision making is horribly broken in our view. >> what do you do? do you elect an objective board?
>> he's the expert on that. i'm telling you. that's one thing you can do. a simpler thing is you have got decide how you're going decide. what can i do unilaterally? where do we need a super majority. decide how you're going to decide before a big emotional issue comes up. make your plans ahead of time so you have something to fall back on when you get into the decision making trouble. >> i think one of the things that a family in business or a business family however you want to talk about it needs to recognize keep in mind that only 26% of first generation families make it to the second generation which mean that 74% fail.
families are all about keeping the peace so as a result people don't always tell the truth. there in lies the problem. so one thing that people can do is they can bring in an outsider, someone who's objective and doesn't have biological tie to shareholders and an objective view of the stake holders as well. all the drama usually takes place with the shareholders but the stake holders, they have got skin in the game, too. it is beneficial for everybody to make objective decisions and often times parents don't do that. interview all the players and come up with the protocol of how to make decisions. in terms of the board, family members on the board, board meetings are no different than sunday dinners.
and they need to be different. i would encourage family businesses to bring in outsiders. and more outsiders than insiders. >> to your point about deciding how to decide the best time to do this is when things are calm. when there is no conflict going on right now so that everyone is working together to make this decision on how to decide and then it's very clear. thank you both so much. it becomes a complicated issue. >> you're welcome. >> would any of you have a question for our experts? we answer questions every week here on the show. please send us the e-mail. the address is firstname.lastname@example.org. >> thank you so much for joining us. happy mother's day to all of you moms out there. if anyone wants to learn more head on over to our website.
once you get there you will find all of today's segments with a lot more information to help your business grow. we're also on twitter. you can find us on facebook and instagram, too. >> next week we go behind the scenes at a recent conference in miami to talk to entrepreneurs around the world who are changing the way we live through tech start ups. remember, we make your business our business.
>> if we don't write the rules for trade around the world, guess what? china will. >> we writing the rules on trade. good morning. thanks for getting up with us this sunday morning. a triple whamy of severe weather as we come on the air this morning. the first named tropical storm of the season is making landfall as we speak. there is also tornado activity on the southern plains and on