Conventional wisdom advises against doing business with family. But, we took the risk and built our streetwear lingerie brand, Beverly Hills Lingerie, as sister co-founders. We are five years apart in age and best friends by choice. We couldn’t be happier that we followed our intuition, not the rules. Defying societal norms has not only brought us closer as sisters, but to our deepest dreams. Faster alone, further together.
We work with a right hand, a graphic designer and an in-house photographer, but other than that and our few team members, we create and build nearly every aspect of the business ourselves. It makes building a brand all the more fulfilling and all the wins more rewarding, but at the beginning it can be intimidating. We’re consistently working 24/7 - throughout the week, days and nights. Yet, making that journey together as sisters alleviates any sense of fear and makes the process both easier and more enjoyable.
We may be closer with each other than with anyone else in the world but we’re still two different people, with two different mindsets, styles, ideas, and tastes. Those differences are complementary however and have worked in our favor: with Celine being an idealist and Joline a realist, logic is balanced by wild ideas and dreams to create a dynamic brand. We don’t necessarily divide the workload but we do divide thoughts and ideas, then come together with our unique qualities that fit and align perfectly as business partners. We find ourselves daily at the intersection of complementing each other and challenging each other.
We’re not the first to do all this, of course - some of the most successful, and biggest companies are family-owned. Family brands carry a sense of stability, commitment, and trust - and that’s attractive not only to customers but also to investors.
However, there is something, we believe, extra special about sister co-founders and a sisters’ bond - there’s nothing quite like it. A lot of little girls look up to their big sister as their first style icon and as they get older, they may mutually learn and take fashion inspiration from each other, in addition to hand-me-downs (as we do). As a result, sister-founded fashion brands carry a real sense of authenticity, vulnerability, and history. If you’re lucky enough to be close with your sister, perhaps the co-founder you’re looking for for your next fashion brand idea is closer than you think!
Here are our three top tips for sisters thinking of co-founding a fashion brand:
1. Make sure that the foundation of your sisterhood is shatterproof before diving into a professional relationship. You’re both going to encounter difficulties on the journey to creating a business. Make sure you can get through those difficulties together without turning on each other.
2. Be understanding and patient and don’t drag drama from the outside into your professional relationship for the sake of the business. Never let external trivial matters interfere with the basis of your workmanship.
3. On the flip side, it’s just as important to make sure that you don’t let professional drama get in the way of your sisterhood. Protect that relationship for all it’s worth. A deeply rooted familial connection goes unparalleled and should be of the highest priority always.
Above all, listen, and stay loyal to each other. Working with a sister can be tricky, but if done right, it’s the most rewarding, fulfilling, satisfying, and special thing in the entire world. We would do this all over again and again in a heartbeat.