4 Husband-Wife Duos (and Successful SMB Founders) Share Their Tips for Balancing Love and Business

Husband and wife small business owners on the computer in their retail store.

Valentine’s Day is all about appreciating our loved ones and the special moments we’ve shared with them. So what better small business success stories to highlight than those of our customers whose business partners are also their significant others?

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we’re sharing the stories of four small online businesses run by doting couples, including their tips and tricks for keeping their love burning and business churning.

Twig & Fig

Twig and Fig’s love story began when Suzie McKig (aka Twig) launched her own graphic design firm in L.A. and Serge Vigeant (aka Fig) was heading up a product design company in Montreal. When Suzie ordered a product from Serge, the love and business partnership was born.

“It’s important to define who will be the boss of each ‘department’ of your business. Otherwise you end up with too many chefs in the kitchen. Assess one another’s strengths and weaknesses, and decide on a fair distribution of the business,” says Suzie. “The other most crucial aspect is separating the two relationships with your partner. We typically hold hands the entire way to work and drop hands about 20 feet from the front door. We leave our personal relationship at home in the morning, get down to business during the day, then reignite being a couple when we walk out the shop door!”

Small Business Owners of Twig and Fig and Doting Couple.

Xero Shoes

Steven Sashen and Lena Phoenix, husband-wife pair and lifelong entrepreneurs, founded Xero Shoes in 2009. The couple even appeared on the hit ABC series “Shark Tank” together in 2013.

“It’s crucial to share the same passion for the business and its mission, but also to have our own areas that we focus on,” says Steven. “I tend to stick to more of the creative process and design, while Lena really serves as the glue of the company. She takes care of everything logistical and operational.”

Lena adds, “Steven and I certainly weren’t prepared for being semi-famous following our appearance on ‘Shark Tank.’ It’s great to enjoy all of the success we’ve experienced together both as business and life partners.”

Small Business Owners of Xero Shoes and Happy Couple.

Goat Milk Stuff

It can be tricky enough balancing a professional and personal relationship with your significant other, but even tougher when there’s an entire family involved! PJ Jonas, her husband, Jim, and their eight children all work together to run the family business, Goat Milk Stuff.

PJ dishes on what people can learn from working alongside family.

“We teach our children that work is always going to be a part of life, and if you can find work that you enjoy, that helps people, and that allows you to do it with people you care about surrounding you, then it’s the best kind of work. Being able to work through our irritations and conflicts with one another provides better communication for the business side of things, and the memories we make working together contribute to our strong family unit.”

Small Business Owners of Goat Milk Stuff and Loving Family.



Lisa Niven Kelly and husband Paul Kelly created online business Beaducation when they realized that they already had the perfect partnership in place. Lisa always had a passion for jewelry making, and brought the creativity, vision and student following to their small online business plan. On the other end of the spectrum, Paul provided the Web expertise for making their online presence a reality.

“I used to teach jewelry making all over the country, but later on decided I wanted to be able to stay at home with my family and publish videos online instead of constantly traveling,” explains Lisa. “It was a blessing that my husband Paul was a coder and a Web whiz, because we were able to combine our interests and create something really wonderful. We both have our separate areas of the business that we are passionate about and fully manage.”

Small Business Owners of Beaducation and Professional Couple

For more inspiring small business success stories, check out our Online Business Success Stories page.

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