Recessionistas: Enid and Ann Stettner
Obviously, Recessionistas are saucy ladies — so it’s only fitting that we like ourselves some good, home-grown sauce. These ladies aren’t afraid of double-dipping and plunging into success together. You’ve seen their stuff at Wild Oats, Crate & Barrel and Williams and Sonoma. They are kosher, gluten-free and full of family T.L.C. What’s their story? If you make a mean cranberry sauce yourself, read on to see how Enid and Ann did it…
So Enid — you started this chutney-making baby Wild Thymes yourself. What’s it like to work with your real baby?
Enid: It is wonderful from my perspective. We are a very close family and it gives me almost daily contact with a grown daughter who has her own family now. If she worked somewhere else, I would never have the opportunity to speak and see her so often! I also love when we go to trade shows together and get to spend long days together, share a hotel room and have great mother/daughter time. I respect her areas of strength and she respects mine.
How cute! But, Ann, let’s be real — what’s it really like to work with mom?
Ann: I was hesitant at first when my Mom suggested I join her in business. I had worked independently for many years and was worried whether working with my Mom might be hard on our personal relationships (we are both strong women)! But we were smart in the sense that we divided up the areas of responsibility so that although we consult one another a lot, we both have different strengths and areas of expertise and above all, we respect each other’s knowledge. We also keep any personal issues going on in the family out of our work discussions, which really helps!
Yeesh! That must be weird and and yet cool to escape into “Ann the employee” mode when “Ann the daughter” is super fed-up with “Enid the mom” — but I’m sure that “Enid the boss” gets into fights with “Ann the employee,” too?
Ann: To be honest, we really haven’t had a big fight. Nothing that lasted more than a few hours. I remember once I brought a huge potential deal to the table, and at that time she told me that we could not do it because our manufacturing capacity wasn’t big enough. I was so frustrated and took it out on her. Luckily we now have the manufacturing capability to take on almost anything now!
Whew — but what’s some real advice you would give another mother-daughter duo looking to get into business? I mean, what would you tell that girl that got mad at the lack of capacity? Afterall, everyone starts there!
Ann: I think the most important thing is that you have a good personal relationship first and foremost. Then divide up the responsibility based on your different skill sets so that you are both responsible and accountable for different things. That way you can respect what the other person is doing and there is nothing competitive, which can cause issues.
Is there competition? We hate to admit it but most mothers and daughters have that deep down?
Enid: No, we never have to look over our shoulders and worry about backstabbing or any other corporate nightmares. We want what is best for each other, and I know she ALWAYS has my back! We also have no hidden agendas. We want to have a successful company and enjoy doing it!