Tips for Working with Family
Dividing up the workload can be challenging when you’re working with family, but Maria says working with family is really a good thing overall because you can always trust your family.
“It is difficult because it is your mother and your sister and in one way you think, “It’s my mother and my sister and I have to have that respect for them.” But in other ways, you’re like, “Wait a minute; they’re my business partners so we have to respect each other like that as well.”
“Sometimes lines can get crossed and it gets crazy but on the other hand, on tough days, it is your family and you’re there for each other. I wouldn’t want to be in business with anyone other than these two women because they are fantastic.”
Each member of the family has distinct responsibilities, which helps minimize conflicts. Maria recalls when Chantilly first opened, her job was to be the cake artist, which wasn’t something she really knew how to do. But she was given the materials and expected to figure out how to decorate cakes.
“So I had to do it. There was no, ‘I can’t.’ Can’t is just something we don’t say. It’s not part of our vocabulary.”
Mariana is the chef. Maria is now the baker and the cake artist. She also handles the marketing. Mirta manages the retail shop.
She was also the designer and decorator for the shop. The space was the location of a TV repair shop, so everything had to be redone before the bakery could open.
That’s when Luis got involved helping his daughters and wife with some of the construction-related tasks. “The only thing we kept from the shop that was here was the ceiling,” Maria explains.
All three partners have a say in decision making. That includes everything from the color of the paint on the walls to the recipes. “We all put in our two cents,” she adds.
Finding a good work-life balance is difficult as an entrepreneur, admits 33-year-old Maria, who wakes up at 4 a.m. to go to work. While she loves baking, it’s hard to have a social life. In the future, she hopes it will become more balanced, giving her time to take a trip or spend more time with friends.
Right now, the three Latinas are doing everything. In the future, Maria hopes their jobs will be more defined. That would help them find more balance. Doing so would also enable Maria to find the time to take a business class, which is something she really wants to do.
These two Hispanic businesswomen also hope to open a second shop and possibly offer classes.
Wholesale and catering are also in the future for Chantilly. “We take so much pride in what we do. We make everything from scratch, every single day. We want people to notice the products that we make. When people come in, it’s like they”re 40 and they come into my shop and they’re suddenly 7 years old,” she says.
“The adults go up and down looking and saying, ‘I want this one, but I want this one. But I want that one as well.’ Its pretty comical. We don’t make it easy for people to decide what they want to take home.”