This February, we wanted to highlight these power pairs who are making waves in the American manufacturing industry. They prove that when it comes to establishing and growing a business, two is stronger than one.
Irene + Dan
Buying to Build
Cross Country Box is a family-owned, high-quality, custom box manufacturer which makes rigid /set up and folding (carton) boxes. Irene said it was “my husband’s idea to buy a small business and build it up. We went together to meet the seller, made all the decision together. At first, he worked more and I was part-time, but as the children grew up, and the business got bigger and more customized, I started working full-time. Eventually, we moved into a larger manufacturing plant, bought more equipment, and found our clientele had changed so much, that both our jobs had expanded.
The Perfect Balance
Dan is involved with the production side because he has “the best head for numbers,” while Irene handles design, presentations, marketing, and customers. Dan believes it makes for a smooth back and forth because Irene is “a great sounding board to talk over ideas or discuss problems. She usually gets to the heart of things. She has the patience he lacks, and she enjoys connecting with people.” Irene also complimented Dan’s business style, “Dan is honest and not afraid to admit a mistake. Instead, he chooses to learn from them. He gives credit where credit is due. He is a hard worker and always gives 100 percent.”
The Good and The Bad
When asked about the benefits of working together, Irene answered “having each other to lean on when one of us is pressured, tired, or just needs to solve a problem. The worst part, knowing that there isn’t any other income, that everything is tied up in this one company, so you sink or swim together. When you work together, every success is a reason to celebrate together, and when one has a bad day, the other truly understands why it was a bad day and can commiserate while cheering you up; you’re never really alone.”
Annie + Alan
Established in 1999, Dynotex is a unique contractor that provides various services, including cut & sew, pattern-making, and grading. Annie shared with us “It was Alan’s idea to start the business, though we both saw how difficult it was to find a contractor to handle small orders.”
Both Annie and Alan agree that their personalities is what makes them great business partners. Alan shares “Despite almost daily conflicts, we do not carry that back home.” When asked if one could run the business without the other? the answer was a unanimous “Definitely no.” Alan handles the sales and Annie runs the factory. However, being a small company, there are many areas that they have to cover and they will sometimes overlap in those areas.
Alan shared “the best thing about working with your partner is we do not have to make a date. We see each other 24/7. Worst thing is also we see each other 24/7 and when we fight, we cannot walk away.” Despite being constantly together, the couple admits that their relationship has changed for the better. Alan said “On one hand we have became more close. On the other hand, we have to face the daily conflict as I handle sales and Annie handles production.”
Marianne + Charles
Finding Love + Quickturn
Quick Turn Clothing is a full-service apparel pattern and sample making and production management company, specializing in NYC Domestic production with no minimum requirements. The company was born from the combined experience of the co-founders Charles Webber and Marianne Webber. Marianne shares “We met in the industry when I was a designer and he was a pattern maker, so between the two of us, we have worked doing every aspect of getting clothes to market.”
Experts in Their Own Right
Marianne specializes in fabric resourcing, pricing of garments, and sourcing of factories. Charles makes all the patterns, manages the technical aspect, technical design, and quality. Together they can offer clients everything they need. Marianne says “between the two of us, we give our customers a world of knowledge of understanding all their challenges and dealing with buyers and pricing garments and everything that has to come together very, very quickly in this industry”
Alex + Dan
Getting It Right the Second Time
When asked how The D.N.A. Group was started Alex told us it was a learning experience. He explains “ I had started my own line a little bit prior to meeting Dan. I met him in school at the time, and he was incredibly supportive and always kept track of trends and such. We kinda just grew together and started trying to work together. It didn’t really work well the first time around.” Alex and Dan decided to work separately. However, Alex describes how things changed a few years ago, “we had just moved to San Francisco from NYC and I was consulting for a manufacturing company. I ended up acquiring the company. Dan stepped in to assist with operations as we were trying to merge both companies together. It was never supposed to be permanent. Years later, here we are, he is my Director of Operations, the absolute best at it and loves working with all of our amazing clients.”
Amazing Adventure Together
Alex believes that their relationship has changed for the better. He admits, “There is such a sense of security knowing that you are working with your loved one, knowing that they support you and your business. It brought us much closer together. We have our moments, but it’s such an exciting adventure together. If your relationship is really able to handle 24/7, there is something to be said for that.” Alex and Dan have found the balance of managing both a relationship and a business. Alex realizes “There is a much larger picture than just the success of your business….I realized working with him that I wanted to spend my life with him.”
Nicole + Tim
Nicole Melendez Design and Consulting Group is a full-service product development design collective with a mission to make apparel design & development approachable. Nicole and her husband Tim have “managed to go from a ‘one man band’ into a designers’ collective” in the last two years. Nicole credits Tim as “the one who pushed me to understand that only by relying on my team I will be able to create something bigger than myself, and to be honest, I don’t think neither of us knew this was going to be what is is growing to be.”
Business and Love
Dividing up was natural. Nicole works in the front office with her team on all the design, running around, project handling, while Tim works with the back office managing the numbers as well as managing staff relations. Since working together the couple has become more self-aware, We have really strong personalities and even though we don’t agree most of the time we find that we do listen to each others feedback, needs and worries and one way or another we make room for small daily goals that help us put into action each other’s feedback. I think our relationship has definitely changed for the good and matured in ways that even surprise us. We can say that we are legitimately best friends who can work together but have a life as well.”
Know any other couples in manufacturing? Share in the comments below!