Names: Brandi and Brandon Carson
Ages: 31 and 32
Titles: Cofounders of Posh & Private Event Design
Location: Houston, Texas
Soon after their wedding in 2008, college sweethearts Brandi and Brandon Carson decided to take the next step and become partners in both love and business. After holding down traditional jobs respectively following graduation, the duo was looking for a more fulfilling work experience. Their answer was to go into business for themselves. In 2010, wedding event planning company Posh & Private Event Design was born. Here’s how this power couple make it work.
Brandi: We were married for a while, and during that time I realized I was unhappy with what I was doing. Brandon and I had a long conversation about transitioning from our full-time jobs to business owners.
Brandon: Brandi had been talking about starting this business since our honeymoon. We were lying on the deck of a ship, and we were talking about starting an event planning business together. I suggested we enjoy being married for a couple of years first because it’s hard running a business while you’re trying to lay down the foundation for your marriage. It was a huge shift from leaving our full-time jobs for something that we didn’t know. It was very stressful. When we first started we were doing it part-time. Once we were making enough money we transitioned to full-time in the beginning of 2012.
Money & Power: It's About the Budget
Brandi: I knew Brandon was a person I could trust and who had my best interests at heart. To me, that was easier than trying to find a partner I would have to vet. His work ethic also helped me see that he would be a good person to partner with.
Brandon: Working with your spouse gives you the opportunity to be more involved in his or her life. I like the idea of being involved with something that is important to Brandi.
Brandi: Establish boundaries between work and personal time. This way, everyone is walking in with the same expectations.
Brandon: Understand your roles and responsibilities and make sure you set those very clearly. A lot of times in marriage, you may be around your staff a lot, and you’re doing things together, but when you work together everything can’t be a group activity. You have your own responsibilities as well as joint responsibilities. So you want to make sure you know what the other person’s job is and you trust him or her to do it.
Also work on your communication skills. When you’re in a business relationship with your spouse, it puts you in a position where you have to be able to communicate clearly. If you haven’t taken the time to work on those skills beforehand, you may have to work a lot harder.
What Are the Key Traits One Needs to Be an Entrepreneur?
Brandi: Don’t take things personally and don’t make things personal. For example, I was very nervous about how I was going to treat Brandon when it came to business matters. I was tougher at work and I didn’t want him to see that work side of me. I didn’t want something to happen and he would think, ‘Okay, does my wife hate me now?’ And that’s not the case at all, that’s just how I work. As long as he understood that and knew I didn’t have a personal problem with him, that made things easier. It was important for me to say, ‘Okay, this is how I am in business mode, and this is how I am in wife mode.’
Don’t expect your life to work like it did before you were in business together. Your life is going to dramatically change, especially if you are working at the business full-time. The key is to communicate your expectations and talk your way through the changes so you’re on the same page all the time.
Brandon: Do make sure you understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses so you can maximize your efficiency as a unit. Brandi is stronger in some areas than I am, and we talked about it, so that’s how we were able to define our roles and responsibilities.
Do make sure you have a good time. Not everyone gets the opportunity to work with their spouse and really see that side. Like Brandi mentioned, I didn’t have an understanding of “work Brandi.” I knew friend Brandi and wife Brandi, but I didn’t know work Brandi. Now I’ve had the chance to know her in that regard and see her holistically. I have a better appreciation for my wife as a person.
Brandi: If you argue about petty things, like who did or didn’t take out the trash, you may not work well together. When it comes to entrepreneurship, if you can’t let little stuff go, you might want to do business by yourself. You want your relationship to withstand the test of being in business. Clients will come and go, and businesses will come and go, but I still want my relationship with Brandon to be strong.
Brandon: You should be able to peacefully and respectfully disagree, because you’re going to disagree in business. Just because you disagree doesn’t mean it should become a harsh, tension-filled situation. Communication is the biggest thing, and if you don’t have that you probably shouldn’t go into business together.
WANT MORE FROM ESSENCE? Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.