Mother-daughter Businesses Share Their Secrets to Success

Mother-daughter Businesses Share Their Secrets to Success

The relationship between a mother and daughter is often complicated. But some women choose to add a further dynamic to the mix, by starting a business together.

Jillian Intini and her daughter Casey Bryden began working together four years ago designing and manufacturing modern sun parasols for their business Sunbella.

“For us, it was a natural progression,” Says Jillian.

“As a nurse I was seeing skin cancers on a lot of women and I had the idea to design a sun parasol. At the same time Casey left her marketing job to have a baby, so we started brainstorming together and bouncing ideas around.”

“Our little family business is now bigger than we could have imagined a few years ago. We sell online, through retailers, we wholesale, hire and offer corporate branding options.”

“We’ve landed some large corporate deals with Peroni and the One & Only resort and there are some exciting opportunities coming up for us this year. I would not be doing this without my buddy by my side, plain and simple.”

The recently launched Willa In Spades brand are another mother daughter duo, with Amanda Wearn designing and her mum Beth King sewing each piece in the collection.

“I had a manufacturer lined up, but as an emerging label the costs were exorbitant,” Says Amanda.

“Mum is a talented seamstress and she has the time available, for us it was a no-brainer.

It’s not for everyone but it works for us and we enjoy working together.”

Tips for a successful mother-daughter business.

Here are four tips that Sunbella and Willa In Spades owners say are important to successfully run a mother-daughter business.

1) Use the mother-daughter bond to your advantage.

“For us, we had a strong relationship to start with, which I think has helped us work together,” Says Casey. “We know each other like we know ourselves, have a high level of mutual respect and we trust each other implicitly. It’s difficult to find a colleague like that in the usual workplace.”

2) Establish clear responsibilities.

Jillian believes that having clear boundaries helps. “Casey manages the brand, from advertising to social media, collaborations, promotional materials, and the website. I focus on design, manufacturing, accounts and logistics. Sales is really the only role that we split, we find we have different sales styles that suit different clients so we play to those strengths. But overall, we don’t cross over into each others territory and we respect each others strengths and weaknesses.”

3) Shed mother/daughter roles when talking business.

“Mum respects my talents as a designer, but as a seamstress she often has valuable advice when it comes to putting a piece together.” Says Amanda. “She knows not to take the “mum knows best” tone and I know to listen to her advice as a professional.”

4) Schedule business-free time together.

Beth says that it’s important that work doesn’t dominate the relationship. “We speak several times a day about work and even when we are just chatting casually it can be a challenge not to digress back to business.” Says Beth. “But we enjoy each others company and it’s important for us to make time to just be a mother and daughter.


By Casey Bryden.  Sunbella is an Australian business run by a mum and daughter team. They have transformed the traditional sun parasol in to uniquely stylish sun umbrellas that block over 98% of harmful UV rays. Sleek lines, fresh colours, practical features and the highest possible UPF rating, make Sunbella sun parasols truly unique world-wide. Casey and Jillian recently won the Business Excellence category of the national Ausmumpreneur Awards.