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6 Tricks for Successfully Working with Your BFF

BY jane gauger 06/20/2017

 

“People often ask us if we’re sisters, sometimes twins, which seems so crazy because we don’t look at all alike! They must just sense how close we are,” says Jill Martinelli of her relationship with Sabine Le Guyader, her art-school buddy who became her biz partner over the course of a decade. The duo spends their working hours together in their Greenpoint, Brooklyn, studio making intricate jewelry for their line Lady Grey and their downtime honing their friendship. Read on for Jill’s advice on how to make working with your bestie the absolute best.

 

1. LISTS KEEP THE LOVE ALIVE

“Good, old, handwritten to-do lists are our most important tool. We usually come in in the morning, have coffee, catch up, and make our list for the day. Efficiency is really important—and switching gears can be hard—so it’s really important to clearly map out our time. Gotta spend a little time to make time.”

 

2. TIGHT QUARTERS MAKE GOOD SUPPORTERS

“We share one giant ‘jewelers bench’—a 10-foot door that we found outside our old loft and laid across two heavy-duty workshop cabinets. Sharing it really helps keep the creative communication open and makes designing together a super fluid process. We learned everything the hard way—we didn’t even know how to make linesheets when we designed our first collection. It took some time, but at this point we are a pretty well-oiled machine.”

 

 

3. CHECK DISTRACTIONS AT THE DOOR

“We’re juggling so many things that any personal distractions can really interfere with our creative process or lead to possible mistakes. Staying focused and double-checking our work is always worth it. We also have a pretty strict no texting while at work policy! That can be such a time suck.”

 

4. LIGHTEN UP

“We try not to talk too much about work outside the studio, but we do totally gossip and make it fun when we’re there. We like to listen to music and podcasts all day to make sure work never feels like WORK.”

 

5. AGREE TO DISAGREE (AND THEN GET OVER IT)

“When it comes to disagreements, we default to whoever has the strongest opinion on the matter. For example, if we don’t agree on something but Sabine feels much more passionately about her opinion than I do mine, we would probably go her route. It's rare that we really can't resolve a disagreement quickly, but if we are really butting heads, we will shelve the issue and circle back to it when there’s more to consider and when we can look it at with fresh eyes. We really trust and respect each other's opinions, so it's never an ego thing.”

 

6. PUT ON THE BREAKS

“When we’re in the studio all day, we notice our eyes start hurt from concentrating so close up. It helps to take a break and look in the distance. Right now we’re really obsessed with iced matcha lattes, so we will walk over to one of the local bakeries—either Ovenly or Maman—grab a sip of caffeine, walk to Transmitter Park, and sit by the water for a bit. It's really revitalizing.”

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