Powerhouse couple, MELySMAX, are hosting a #LoversRock Couples Panel on April 20, 2017 at Grandchamps in Brooklyn (a husband & wife owned establishment) to celebrate husband and wife teams in business. In honor of their upcoming 10th Wedding Anniversary this year, MELySMAX is bringing together an inspiring panel that includes super-talented singing duo RAII & Whitney (His & Her Entertainment) and Chimere & Bert of Clean Plate Co. - a NYC based catering company.
There is something special to be said of couples who not only manage a working marriage, but also delve into enterprise as business partners. This panel of husband and wife teams will share jewels of knowledge in relationship building while running a business. The saying goes behind every great man is a woman, but these ladies work beside the man in their life to build their business and brand everyday. The following ladies are the wives of this event collective, including:
Below they answer some questions as a warm up to the upcoming panel event:
Whose idea was it to start a business? Yours, his, or a joint decision?
Sabrina (S): Joint. Shawn has a passion for cooking and dreams of opening his own restaurant after working for over a decade in the industry. I've always wanted to start a business with ties to Haiti.
MelimeL (M): I think it was joint. I vaguely remember the days we were dating and Smax coming up with the name MELySMAX as a way to combine our names like Brangelina and it stuck with us. We're both creative artists and so many of our interests overlap, also the idea of owning (a home, a business, etc.) was always important to both of us.
Whitney (W): It was a joint decision. Initially, we didn't think of ourselves as a business but it became clear that there was an opportunity for us to capitalize on the fact that we enjoy working with each other and that we work well together. I think we both had the inclination to be self-sufficient and we realized that in order for us to have the financial freedom and flexibility that we desired, we needed to make a decision to build our own entity.
Chimere (C): It was a joint decision, however, I definitely needed coaxing. I never saw myself as an entrepreneur. He just knew I had "it" in me to do something bigger than I could ever imagine.
In three words, describe your husband.
S: Caring, sensitive, talented
M: Peacekeeper, kind, patient
W: Wise, intelligent, compassionate
C: Handsome, brilliant, hilarious
What is the biggest challenge you face as a wife and entrepreneur?
S: Keeping up with it all! While Shawn is a really helpful partner, as a mom and wife, I've sort of naturally become the manager of our lives in addition to the business. At times, I find myself digging deep for the emotional, mental and physical strength to get it all done and be positive.
M: The constant balancing act. Throw in the parent card as well. Everyday is different and presents new challenges, and most times you may not get to accomplish everything you set out to do and being okay with that reality. Reminding myself I am human and have limits.
W: The biggest challenge I face as a wife and entrepreneur is finding the balance to manage everything. Our marriage is our priority after our relationship with God and both of those requires time, attention, and work. Maintaining a business in any field is more than a full time job and so being able to balance the two along with the other responsibilities that we have can become very challenging. With all of that, choosing to get proper rest is very important because that is how I am able to operate fully in the various capacities.
C: Time management. I'm completely responsible for our kids being dropped off and picked up from school. Sometimes I'm restricted from actual jobs if I don't have relief from my parents, but now it's not really much of a challenge now that I've learned to handle it with ease.
On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not at all and 10 being extremely well, how well would you say you and your husband work together?
S: 7. I'm probably overly critical of things since he's not only my business partner but also my husband and the father of my child. If we weren't married, it would probably be higher!
M: A solid 8. We work well but there's always room for improvement.
W: I would have to say a 10. There are challenges because we both are leaders and we are teachers. We are very passionate and compassionate for each other's well needs and well being and that is what makes us work well together because we care so much and try really hard. Plus we use flirting to ease the tension (laughs).
C: 10, we both know when to take the lead and when to pull back. If there's a disagreement, we compromise and deal with the results together.
What do you enjoy the most about working with your husband? The least?
S: It feels great to be living, sharing and playing out a dream together. My least favorite thing is that its hard to take a break.
M: What I enjoy the most is being able to share the successes and failures with my best friend. We are each other's support system and sounding board for ideas and he helps ground me when I'm overwhelmed. The pros are so much that it outweighs the cons, but I would say Smax's weakness is in scheduling and organizing calendars.
W: What I enjoy the most about working with my husband is that he challenges me to be thorough, thoughtful, patient, compassionate, considerate, and empowers me to be unafraid. The least? What I enjoy the least about working with my husband is that since both of us are leaders and have strong personalities the journey to finding resolutions is sometimes longer than desired (laughs).
C: We learn from each other, plus we have the same taste in food. The least? He's not as neat as me. I'm all about aesthetics, he's into technique rather than presentation.
What advice would you give another couple interested in starting a business?
S: Create a strong vision and plan for your business, lay out your values, and be prepared for financial turbulence. The better prepared mentally and emotionally the both of you are, the easier it will be to navigate hard decisions and challenging times.
M: Ensure that the relationship has a solid foundation and strong means of problem solving before entering into a business together. It's one thing to deal with relationship issues but to have them pour into business dynamics may lead to disaster... just look at Lucious and Cookie on Empire! (laughs) If you tend to not get along or agree on many things, chances are you will butt heads too much in business.
W: Advice I would give another couple interested in starting a business together is to be clear on if it's a joint venture or not so that expectations of roles and responsibilities are realistic and clear. It's very disheartening when one person is so excited about a project/idea and they think that just because the other person is supporting them, they assume they are going to help lead. Clear communication is key!
C: Make sure both parties are comfortable with each role. Bert never wanted to be partners in business, he preferred me to do it all on my own, legal and executive. Therefore, believing in one another and securing responsibilities is the most important thing, in business and in love.
Shout out to the husbands they can't live without! Shawn Brockman, Smax Music, RAII, and Bert Ward!
JOIN US Thursday, April 20, 2017
197 Patchen Avenue/Brooklyn
RSVP @ loversrock1.eventbrite.com
Catch MELySMAX on FB Live every Thursday evening for their weekly #LoversRock Chats and support all these amazing couples in business! Grandchamps - RAII & Whitney - Clean Plate Co