People think it’s kind of odd that we’re a husband and wife design team, but our dynamic works perfectly for us. We started working together back in college. Our complimentary set of skills overlap at the right touch points, especially when it comes to our overall mutual user-focused design principles. Unlike in corporate settings where people have qualms in speaking out for fear of untoward judgment, we are both capable of having an open, honest debate when it comes to our job as product designers. Most importantly, we have a high level of trust and respect for each other. It is not without its challenges though– there are lots of other husband and wife teams running a business together and we’re not much different, we just happen to be designers doing it. It’s because we work together 24/7 that we are good at what we do– we never stop designing and we’re okay with that. It’s energizing, and we feed off that.
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We are going to talk today about something that is important, and then we’re going to segue into a video that we did a while ago. We did this Brainstorm to Box series, but it’s relevant and that’s why we’re bringing it back and reusing it. It’s because so many of the Amazon sellers that we’re working with are husband and wife team, “I can’t even begin to imagine working with my spouse, especially in a home office, so tell me what’s your secret?” We originally started working together in college, so we’ve been doing this longer than 21 years. Our personalities are almost counter to working well together because we’re both such strong personalities but it works for us because for your position, relationship, the way that we work, but also because our skill set is not overlapping completely. If we were tripping on each other, it would be problematic.
Most people who had very strong personalities might clash and not work well together. That’s exactly it because I have maybe a little more technical and execution expertise. You have a little more marketing and research and you’re more sensitive to color than I am. We cross over in terms of all those design issues of form and development of the right use, process, functions, whatever. There’s complementary and enough overlap. We respect each other and so there isn’t this train wreck coming down the track just because we’re married and working together. It is a huge advantage.
A lot of people think it’s odd that we’re husband and wife design team like, “How can you possibly work together 24/7?” It’s because we work together 24/7 that we’re really good at what we do. It’s what makes us great because we never stop designing and we’re okay with that. If you are one half of husband and wife relationship and only one of you is a designer and one of you is working, then the other one has to put up with you never stopping to work, never stopping to sketch, never stopping thinking about the design as you’re shopping, it can be frustrating. For us it’s energizing so it works. We don’t have to shut it off.
We feed on it. Our kids might not like it so much, but they have to deal. That works for us, but it’s also the hard part because if our business isn’t successful or if our royalties are low because sales aren’t happening or it’s Chinese New Year and not enough free shipping, it’s stressful because you don’t have the other one to pick that up. It’s no different than if we were running a restaurant together. There are lots of husband and wife teams out there running businesses. We just happen to be designers doing it and that’s not as usual. The challenges we face are no different than any other mom-and-pop type of business but fortunately it makes for much better design and much better results.
From a female perspective, from a businesswoman’s perspective, it’s a whole lot easier for me to be away on a business trip going to China and doing these things, knowing that he’s there, you’re there, to pick up the girls from school and keep my business running. I have such a high level of trust with that that I’m not worried about losing my job, someone taking over, or missing my kids and someone not handling it so well. We have that complete trust level and it just works. The reality is that you get married to your partner anyway. You had a different partner before me.[Tweet “You do end up married to your partner whether or not it’s in physical vows or not.”]
At one point I was working with another college mate, a good friend, and we worked together. That was a whole lot more difficult. It’s like the three of us were married, whether or not we wanted it to be that way because he was always there. Not that I don’t love him but he was always there, and that’s one of those things. You do end up married to your partner whether or not it’s in physical vows or not. For us it just makes more sense and works better for us to actually be married in life and in business. It’s been our competitive advantage, so why not use it?
About The Authors
An inventor with 37 patents and an unprecedented 86% success rate for consumer product designs, Tom Hazzard has been rethinking brand innovation to design in success for over 25 years. Tom’s patented innovations provide entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes a system to spread their brand, grow valuable consumers, and diversify into higher converting revenue streams without a lot of time, cost or effort. Tom is co-host of the Forbes-featured fast growth WTFFF?! 3D Printing podcast as well as host of two new podcasts, Feed Your Brand & Product Launch Hazzards borne out of his core business, Hazz Design, where he has designed and developed over 250 products that generate $2 Billion in revenue for retail and e-commerce clients.