BENGALURU: When Zonu Reddy and Nischay Jayeshankar got married, they made a conscious decision to continue working in their separate family real estate businesses, worried that working together would lead to conflict in their relationship. “We also knew that it would be hard not to bring back work discussions home,” says Reddy. But all of that changed when they started toying with the idea of bringing Magnolia Bakery to India, with both of them, in fact, having bonded over food in the first place. Ever since they took the plunge, Reddy says they have been lucky to not disagree a lot. “We have split up our roles and responsibilities, so we do not interfere in each other’s department,” says Reddy.
Their biggest cause of disagreements has been their pace – while Reddy tends to take decisions quite quickly, Reddy is more aggressive with how much they can take on. “My partner is much more patient, organised, and likes to weigh out the pros and cons before jumping on the opportunities presented to us. We have come to agreement that I will wait at least a day before taking on new opportunities. I have now realised that certain opportunities are not as lucrative as they may have appeared. My spouse has, in turn, learnt to always be ready to execute at short notice,” says Reddy.
But their point of struggle is taking work discussions home, especially since it is a new business. Long hours and much stress marked the months leading up to the launch of the bakery which is when the couple felt they had lost the quality time they previously had. “We are now trying to carve out time where we’re not allowed to talk about work. Our current roles are divided in such a way that we were not together the whole day – we spend about an hour a day together at the office or bakery,” says Reddy. The biggest takeaway has been that both of them find themselves making better business decisions because of how “honest” they can be about their thoughts and fears. “There is a higher level of accountability when your spouse in your business partner. And as a couple, we have grown closer too,” Reddy says.
-Zonu Reddy (27) and Nischay Jayeshankar (34) Partners, Spago Foods LLP
After a sabbatical in 2016, Nirupesh Joshi and Mercy Amlaraj moved back to India from Hong Kong and start Bangalore Watch Company (a fine watch brand), a decision of working together taken without hesitation. “We know what drives each other, and what our turn-offs are,” says Joshi. Disagreements are part of the business, but like Joshi says the worse thing to happen is to have a partner who agrees to everything-- you’re losing out on different opinions. “So first, we don’t see disagreements as a bad thing. Amongst the two, Mercy is the high-EQ person; when you run a business you don’t operate in a silo. You learn over time that EQ often trumps logic in decision making.
Consensus is arrived by putting our personal ideologies aside and looking at what will move the business forward. It’s a lot simpler compared to dealing with personal likes/dislikes and arguments in a relationship; the goal here is the business,” Joshi says practically. But he does admits that running a business as a couple is a double-edged sword – you can play to each other’s strengths but there is a chance for complacency to set in.” “It’s important to set clear business goals and hold each other accountable,” says Joshi, adding that they find it incredibly hard to make personal time for each other.
However, the gratification is immense, especially since the partner is on a shared entrepreneurial journey. “In our earlier careers, although you tell your partner about your achievements at work or what puts you off, it is hard for your partner to step into your shoes at all times to see things the way you see it. Now, we share a together the highs, lows, insecurities, small victories, knowing that both have played an equal part in the process,” he says. -Nirupesh Joshi (38)and Mercy Amlaraj (38), co-founders, Bangalore Watch Company
Having their own company was something that both Rahul and Vaijayanti Bhalchandra wanted to do since the beginning of their marriage, but waited until the right opportunity came by. When it did in the beauty and skincare industry, which fascinated both, and Rahul had experience to add, they decided to go ahead. “Twenty five years of marriage and another 10 years of professional partnership is ample time to know your partner to the core. Disagreements between us are but an alternative viewpoint and that is it. The couple that got married back in ’94 to the couple that is here in front of you today has been with each other throughout that process of transformation and has helped each other grow,” says Vaijayanti. According to Vaijayanti, when you become partners in business or life, you look forward to taking up new projects. “Be it taking care of a new family, raising kids or establishing a new business and providing for your extended family.
Having utter faith in each other’s capabilities and complimenting your counterpart’s strengths are essential to achieve that. A problem that most couples face is choosing between work and family. Guess we got lucky to have a spouse who understands work and a professional partner who best understands the needs of our personal lives,” says Vaijayanti. Having established a business, providing employment to many and raising two independent daughters, Vaijayanti says the couple can say in unison that it’s always the basics that count – trust, honesty, respect, understanding and a rock-strong will to never give up on your spouse.
-Rahul Bhalchandra (51) and Vaijayanti Bhalchandra (47), co-founders, YLG Salons & YLG Institut