Innovation and enterprise blog

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15 May 2024

Two worlds collide: when your family member becomes your business partner

What's it really like to have a family member that's also your business partner? In honour of International Day of Families, we caught up with just some of the family-run businesses that we have supported on their journeys to success.


Abigail and Chloe Baldwin_Buttercrumble_Portrait_Original

Abigail founded creative design consultancy 'Buttercrumble' with her twin sister Chloe, and we are proud to have supported them through our scale-up programme Get Ready For Business Growth (applications are now open, email [email protected]).

What made you decide to set up a business together? 

"Ever since we can remember, we’ve loved collaborating. As children, we’d always be drawing joint pictures together. We had a creative calling, and knew we wanted this to be our career. It would be rare to find a workplace that would employ both of us simultaneously, so we made our own opportunities. We’re following our passion and we love it!"

What is it like having a business partner as a family member?

"Comforting. You have to trust your business partner completely because business is tough! When we work together, we know we’ll receive honest feedback and authentic support. It’s in our best interests to help each other out. We feel fortunate knowing someone always has our back."

What’s your favourite thing about working with a family member?

"We see each other nearly every day! Yes, sometimes it can be intense, but we’re grateful for all the time we can spend together doing something we enjoy. We get to share in the successes, and that benefits the rest of our family too. It brings everyone together."

Is it hard to separate family time and work time?

"Whenever we go out for a casual coffee date, we always end up talking about business. It’s tricky, but we enjoy our work, so sometimes we can’t help ourselves. That said, it’s important to take breaks. It can help to bring along friends and other family members to curb our work chat. It helps to have hobbies too!"

What advice do you have to anyone who is looking to go into business with a family member?

"Separate business from personal matters. It’s easier said than done. We continue to learn, but we must retain professionalism when we’re working with our clients. Sort out squabbles outside of the office! Don’t let them harm your business efforts."

You can hear Chloe speak about collaborating with her sister at our Start-Up Stars: Creative Collaboration event next week - an evening of inspiration and networking as successful creative businesses tell their collaboration stories. Book your free ticket here.

London Fine Art Studios

Design studio

Ann founded 'London Fine Art Studios', a school dedicated to teaching the classical techniques of drawing and painting, with her twin sister Clare and husband Scott. They also received support from our Get Ready For Business Growth programme.

What made you decide to set up a business together?

"As family members you know you can trust their work ethic and that they have your best interests at heart."

What is it like having a business partner as a family member?

"I work with both my husband and my twin sister. I think it can be very amazing as you can short cut so many questions and you know you don't need to worry about how you phrase things or if you upset each other as it is more important to be time efficient."

What’s your favourite thing about working with a family member?

"It's nice to be able to see them every day and at meal times: it allows you to get to know them so well."

Is it hard to separate family time and work time?

"This is the only downside, as often my husband will want to talk about work at home. We all need switch off time, and it can sometimes be unfair on the children if work is always being brought up."

What advice do you have to anyone who is looking to go into business with a family member?

"Establish your boundaries before you start. See that person in a working environment, both in terms of their work ethic and how they treat other people. I worked with my husband for five years in a separate business before we set up our own business. It is obviously great if the work is going well, but also can be nice if one of the couple has a steady income."

Ann will also be speaking at the Start-Up Stars: Creative Collaboration event, find out more.

Sweet Paper Creations


Patty founded handmade piñata brand 'Sweet Paper Creations' with her eldest child Ali. They received business support from their local BIPC and are now business ambassadors for our BIPC Local in Waltham Forest.

"When Ali was struggling with their mental health, I didn't know how to help or motivate them, so I started making piñatas as a relief strategy to cope with the waiting time to see a professional. We found that making piñatas together allowed us to relax and simply exist around each other, and this led to us setting up our business, as well as being able to open up to each other. 

Working together has been quite a journey, but it always brings a great feeling of achievement. From the very beginning, we decided to differentiate between the roles of mother and child and allocate responsibilities to each other. This has helped us to stay organised and on track. We have established effective communication and mutual respect for each other's abilities and roles."

Thinking of starting up with a family member? Sign up for our free Kickstart Your Business programme that offers tailored, accessible workshops and webinars to help you on your business journey. Topics covered include financing your business, researching your market and protecting your business's intellectual property. Find out more here and sign up today!