Recessionistas: Sheryl Daboosh and Cigall Goldman
It all started when Sheryl was planning her own wedding in 2009. She wanted to honor her Jewish culture but was frustrated by the lack of helpful online resources needed to plan her big day. So, after the wedding, she founded mazelmoments, an online resource for finding specialized vendors and planning those big days – from weddings, bat/bar-mitzvahs, bris, baby namings, personal celebrations, or corporate events.
I’m really excited to talk to you about this little problem I have with overusing (and misusing) the word “mazel”…actually, let’s save that for another time. But can I first say “mazel!” for working together as mother and daughter? (Shoot…I did it again). Sheryl, what’s it like working with Cigall?
Mother: Well, technically I’m working for my daughter — she is the CEO after all. But since I’m still “the mom” I try to use the Jewish guilt and maintain a bit of pull. Cigall has a lot of me in her so it makes our working relationship run pretty smoothly. We’ve even tested our working relationship by adding my mother to the mix! Can you imagine having all three generations going out for lunch or dinner on a weekly basis? In all honesty though — it’s actually solidified our family bonds and has been a real treat for my mom.
Thankfully, Cigall is much more organized than me. So I let her keep all our business correspondence and other business related documents in order and easy to find. I’m so relieved that I’m not responsible for that! In all my years, I’ve never had so much fun working — even though others keep telling us that we are working way too many hours. It’s really gratifying to see Cigall’s vision come to life and be so well-received by all.
Okay, I’m going to try and refrain from saying “mazel” after every answer…but just know I’m thinking it. Cigall, mama made it sound warm and fuzzy — is it really that way?
Daughter: I love working with my mom. She has almost 30 years of experience in sales which has been critical to the success of mazelmoments. We complement each other really well. She’s great with customers and makes the more difficult sales calls, and I have the technical skills and MBA background to handle other important parts of the business. What went from speaking two or three times a day has turned into two or three times an hour! But we really do love each other and support each other so I feel really appreciative of what we have. I also can’t imagine running a business on my own!
Yes, but not being on your own means lots and lots of Sheryl-Cigall time, right?
Mother: We end up having great meals together. What’s really nice is that we both connect with our customers well so we feel that our customers are getting the best of both worlds. Our customers really seem to relate to our story and our relationship. I think my 10-month-old niece could be a great ice-breaker too — would getting her involved in the business constitute a breach of child labor laws?
Um, yes. Plus, I’d think two jewish ladies is enough…if you guys are anything like my family growing up, there are probably a lot of “loud discussions,” aka fights? What’s the biggest fight you’ve gotten into?
Daughter: When I came up with the idea of an online Jewish resource center, what I thought was the perfect company name drew groans from my mother as well as my brother. I really thought the name “ChallahDays” was perfect! I quickly learned the value of being flexible, and to separate business decisions from personal opinions. Once I got past that hurdle, the name mazelmoments was conceived with great response from the public.
Challah! Oy vey…that’s going to be my new “mazel” thankyouverymuch! Okay, aside from being flexible, what kinda real advice would you give another mother-daughter duo looking to get into business?
Mother: Realize that you’ll be spending a lot of time together. If you annoy each other easily, maybe it’s not such a good idea. Make sure responsibilities are clearly defined from the outset, and each person takes ownership of their responsibilities. Ensure that all family members are supportive, and keep the communication lines with the entire family open at all times, and continually be aware that no one feels neglected.
Always remember that family is most important. Take every opportunity to use the business to enhance your relationship — plan fun business-related trips, go to conferences together, visit customers as a team. Each person has to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and defer to the other person when necessary. When you hit a stone wall, turn to other family members for advice. Try to set aside time with each other and the family when you DON’T talk about business. Don’t neglect each other’s personal lives and interests. Spend fun time together and with the rest of the family. Balance is critical!