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Hone Your Craft

How to Work with Your Sibling, from a Sister Duo That Gets It

Hone Your Craft 02/20/2018

 

If you know anything about Of a Kind, you know we’re all about a work wife. So when we heard that Lisa Jones of Pigeon Toe brought her sister Sam on a couple years ago to help her run her booming biz, we had loads of questions for the both of them. Starting with the obvious: How do they do it without creating Thanksgiving-ruining tension? The two gave us the ultimate sister-sister lowdown on settling arguments, splitting up their work, and, of course, running a super cool ceramics company together.

 

GET COMFY WITH YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE

Lisa: “One of the things that Sam and I were talking about the other day was being in a business relationship is very similar to being in any other kind of relationship. In some ways, my sister and I are more married and intermingled—financially and otherwise—than we are with our own partners and spouses. So it’s basically about taking a page from couples therapy and applying it to your relationship with your sibling.”

 

Sam: “We had to learn the hard way what our ‘love language’ is—to understand how someone responds to praise and shows care and to make sure we’re meeting each other's needs. The way to avoid having your work relationship crumble is by having a firm understanding of what each other’s relationship skills are.”

 

IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING

Lisa: “You have to have an in-depth understanding of the other person's personality. I tend to not argue as much. I’m very direct. I think one of Sam’s adjustments was understanding that that is not particular to her and is just a factor of my personality.”

 

Sam: “We have a see it, say it policy. If you see it...just say it. Rip the bandaid off.”

 

Lisa: “This is essentially the origin of the podcast that we’re working on because sometimes you have to step into the truth booth and sometimes that can be hard, but it benefits everyone in the end. We just try to be proactive and honest.”

 

DO THE DELEGATION

Sam: “If you were to spend just an hour with Lisa and I, you could tell that we have two very different skill sets that are very complementary. Delegation between us is simple because I would never sit down at the computer and do a graphic for a sale, and Lisa would never like sit down at the computer and crunch a bunch of numbers.”

 

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SET YOUR BOUNDARIES

Lisa: “I would suggest not living together for one. We did that for two years. Sam left Chicago and moved to Portland. At the time, it was too expensive to live alone, but there just wasn’t enough of a boundary. Sam is able to put her work away, and I’m not really capable of that.”

 

KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING INTO

Lisa: “We know a lot of people that work together with their family members, and people going into it should really think critically about working with family—because we’ve seen it go both ways. You can work really well together, but it can also ruin a relationship. There needs to be a good understanding about work ethic because working with money can be really stressful for anyone.”

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