Business/Partners: Cameron Hughes and Jessica Kogan-Hughes
Back in the day, Cameron Hughes and Jessica Kogan-Hughes sold wine from the back of their Volvo and called home “Grand Central Station” since it doubled as their office. Today, they own and operate their namesake Cameron Hughes Wine, which just celebrated its 10-year anniversary and was voted as Wine Business Monthly’s #1 Hot Small Brand for 2010. But their road to success hasn’t always been smooth, Volvo or no Volvo…
So, I’m looking at all these vineyard pics and it looks glam-o-rous! But, seriously, what’s it like working with your sig-o?
Wife: Hard! Over time it becomes easier but you deal with many sacred subjects. No sweet surprises or surprise love trips. It is raw, challenging, overwhelming, frustrating and more. And you have to work at it because your relationship and business are constantly evolving. When we started, we were a two-man company. Today, we have a multi-million dollar business with dozens of employees that we’re personally responsible for. With dramatic business success comes a lot of personal drama. Yet despite all of these negatives, for me, the positives are greater. For me, working together is exciting, engaging, honest and liberating. I never wanted to have a traditional relationship, and I got it!
So, you sleep together and work together?
Husband: Yes, from the outside that is how it would appear…
Which is harder to do these days?
Wife: Hmmm…that is an interesting question implying that sleeping together would be hard? Ha. In this case, for me it is harder sleeping together than working together. For Cam, the exact opposite. Let’s just say I have a hard time letting things go whereas Cam just goes.
Which is better?
Wife: So, when we are in a good groove — work is good, kids are good, house is good — there is nothing higher, cooler, more amazing than being with Cam. I love him. But, getting the trifecta to happen is rare. Working together keeps me satiated and gives me the input I need to feel connected. What can I say: it’s complicated!
What’s the worst fight you got into? How did you resolve it?
Husband: The worst fight we had is the one that most business and personal relationships end on: who owns what and who adds more value. This fight was incredibly profound and defining. In many ways it brought us closer together, and in many ways it pulled us forever apart. We crossed the sacred boundary of discussing who is more important in our relationship and who is more important in the business. We exposed our real selves — disintegrating any notion of the romantic ideal and became simply two individuals with absolute and defined perspectives of our own selves formed long before we were married.
What advice would you give other duos looking to get into business together?
Wife: Regardless of working together, loving together, and friending together, follow The Golden Rule: Treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. Follow this rule, and you will work it out or at least figure out if the two of you should do anything above and beyond together.
What would you tell your former selves before you got into business together?
Husband: Get ready because this ride is going to mess you up for all the right reasons.