A Valentine's Day Interview With Our Directors Paul And Julia
Happy Valentine's Day from Face the Future! To celebrate, we interviewed our directors, Paul And Julia, to ask them everything there is to know about running a business together as a married couple.
From how they navigate a work/life balance to their advice for fellow married couples thinking of going into business, and how they spent their very first Valentine's Day as a couple. Keep scrolling to read our exclusive Valentine's Day interview with Paul and Julia, along with their favourite skincare products they simply just can't be without.
Hi Paul And Julia! Firstly, Can You Remember Your First Valentine’s Day As A Couple?
Paul: I’m ashamed to say that I don’t. I do remember the gifts we exchanged though, including a bunch of red and white roses that we still have to this day. We dried them out and kept them and they now sit on the fire place in the office.
Julia: Our first Valentine’s Day together was a Sunday. I remember waking up to the sound of someone coming down the drive and wondering who would be visiting that early on a Sunday. It turned out to be a delivery of roses…from Paul. Set himself up well for our first Valentine's.
So, What Made You Decide To Go Into Business Together?
Paul: I had been involved in my own business for 3 or 4 years and had worked alongside business owners from an advisory capacity for over 10 years. My ambition was always to work for myself and build my own business, and who better to do that with than my wife? She has a completely different set of interests and skillset to me in business and that makes us a pretty good team. Plus, there is no one I trust more than her, so it felt like the best decision I could make.
Julia: It was never something I had planned to do, we both had our own careers and Paul already had his own business but, over a period of time, I was more attracted to the idea of working for myself. Paul worked in Corporate Finance helping business’ sell or buy so I asked him to find me a business that I would be motivated to run. He shared a couple of suggestions with me but it was the previous owners of Face the Future that suggested to Paul that we buy the Company. The purchase didn’t happen overnight but by the time it did go through, we were about to enter the first lockdown. I had worked in the business for a while with Paul helping out as much as he could, because we were so busy on the online side and colleagues were working from home. After that period of us working together, it made complete sense for Paul to come on board full time and for us run it together.
Was There Anything That Surprised You About Running A Business Together?
Paul: Normally when you have a disagreement or a difference of opinion with a colleague, that stays at work. Obviously in this scenario, those work issues filter into our home life too! As I said in the previous response, we have different interests inside the business and hence, we disagree more than I had expected as we look at problems and potential solutions through a different lens. That can cause friction and probably uncomfortable moments for our colleagues if we happen to disagree in an open forum. We’re only two years into this journey together, but like any other journey we’ve been on, we learn each day and both improve as we progress (I hope!).
Julia: We both have different skill sets so we do complement each other well from a business perspective. There’s been some good and not so good surprises. I love that because I know Paul so well, some decisions are really easy to make and don’t need much discussion. With others, I know how to ensure he is on board because I understand what information he needs to be able to make a decision. I also know his tells so can change tact if needed. It’s great to know that somebody really has your back and that you both have the same vision. The biggest negative surprise about myself is that because there is that personal involvement, I find it difficult to leave things at work or at home. Sometimes I’ll make reference to something Paul has (or hasn’t done) which you’d never do if you weren’t in a personal relationship. I’m learning to separate them both but still have a way to go.
How Do You Navigate A Work/Life Balance While Running A Busy Online Skincare Retailer?
Paul: This one is really tricky! In the very early days, we aimed to be first in and last out of the office. Living 45 minutes away from the office meant being away from home for long periods of time and we do have two children and a dog to think about. So over time we have committed to some home working and flexible office hours to ensure we balance our responsibilities. As most business owners will no doubt attest, whether in or out of the office, in or outside of (core) working hours, there is no ‘off’ switch. So in essence we are almost always working – even if that is the two of us sat in front of the TV chatting about new initiatives, ideas or just our experiences from that day. I think if I was being brutally honest, the balance isn’t quite there at the minute but it is certainly more balanced than the first 6 months of us running the business.
Julia: It is tricky because we both want to discuss things which inevitably means that we will be driving home, walking the dog or out somewhere and we’ll start talking about work. I do try really hard not to let it take over our life so I will sometimes say that I don’t want to talk shop and Paul will do the same, but because it is such a big part of our lives and because you would naturally talk about your work with your partner, we don’t always get it right.
What Are Three Things That You Have Learned About Running A Business Together?
- Whilst we are husband and wife, in the office, we are colleagues and we should therefore speak, treat and act as though we are colleagues.
- That because of our functional responsibilities, we will both be busy at different times and therefore, some evenings we will be flying solo whilst the other is working!
- That it’s a win win as you get to spend even more time with the one you love.
- Keep your home and work life separate, it isn’t easy but we all need that cut off. There’s the time to be work partners and the time to be a couple, both need to be treated differently.
- Two heads are better than one, it’s great to have another perspective on an issue so that you can try to get it right first time.
- Be honest and don’t be afraid to ask for help either from each other or from others, it's a strength to admit you need and accept support.
What Is The Biggest Piece Of Advice That You Would Give To Married Couples Thinking Of Going Into Business Together?
Paul: Don’t do it! I’m joking of course. It has been one of the biggest and best decisions I have ever made, but if you hadn’t already picked up in my earlier answers, there is really little separation between home and work. Therefore if you consider going into business as a married couple, you have to be cognisant of the fact that you are going ’all in’. You will therefore enjoy the highs together, but also have to experience and drag each other through the lows.
Julia: On the whole, it’s been a really positive experience for me so I’d encourage couples to follow their dreams. My biggest bit of advice would be to play to each other’s strengths. There’s so much to be done, it’s great if you can split the responsibilities and have confidence in each other’s ability to do a great job.
What Are Your Top 3 Favourite Skincare Products?
Paul: Well I have definitely tried a number of products I would have never tried before entering the skincare market, and probably would’ve never heard of any way! But gone are the days of browsing the men’s aisle in Boots! I have a fairly simple routine that I follow and only involves 3 products. I won’t include a cleanser, as I have a few and can interchange without any issues. But I use Mesoestetic HA Densimatrix, Jan Marini Antioxidant Daily Face Protectant SPF 30 and SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture.
Julia: This is the worst question, there are so many products that I Iove so this is really difficult! The 3 products I absolutely couldn’t live without would be SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic, Mesoestetic HA Densimatix and Advanced Nutrition Skincare Ultimate.
Lastly, How Will You Be Spending This Valentine’s Day?
Paul: Well as it’s a Monday, we will be working! But we will celebrate on the weekend with a pub meal, followed by a log fire, and a few glasses of wine or beer. I might even treat Julia to a few skincare products.
Julia: It’s a school night and we have children so we’ll probably be spending it with them. Not very romantic but we’ll all have a nice meal and then maybe watch a film. Our date nights are normally kept to a weekend.
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