Recessionistas: Sandy and Stevie D’Andrea
Jewels for Hope
Sandy D’Andrea started making jewelry while taking care of her mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease. She was self-taught, but learned quickly and ultimately helped herself and her mother through her craft. The women in the hospital grew fond her of jewels, too. So much so that she started donating to more hospitals, helping older women who didn’t get attention, much less baubles, otherwise. When Sandy’s mom passed away, she focused more on building the business she called “Jewels for Hope,” where a portion of her proceeds go back to women like her mother. And now, the generational circle of hope continues, with Stevie, Sandy’s daughter, working with her in business.
So, Sandy, what’s it like working with your daughter?
Mother: Believe it or not, it is great working with my daughter. I’m the loud-mouthed Italian, straight to the point, blunt person who will tell anyone and everyone exactly how it is… And Stevie is the calm, collected, reserved person who, when it comes to the business part of the company, I make her do the talking (but of course I have to butt in and interrupt her!).
So do opposites attract in business, Stevie?
Daughter: When I say I never thought I would ever be working with my mother — that would be the understatement of the century! We are two opposites when it comes to running a business, which most of the time is a good thing. We are both very strong-willed (some may say stubborn) women who live in the same house and see each other all the time (yes, I still live with my parents for the time being). It’s great that we have no hesitation to tell the other one when we don’t think something is the right choice. In the long run I think that is what will hold us together: never having the tension of holding something in.
Wait — so if you don’t hold something in, does that mean you fight? Doubt that for a second, ladies! Come on…I know “There was this one time…”
Daughter: Sandy made a decision without discussing or asking for my opinion at all. I was completely hurt by this and couldn’t believe she didn’t consult with me about this at all. Like I didn’t have a say in the matter at all. Yes, it turns out (*gritting teeth*) that my mother was right. (That left a bad taste in my mouth saying that, haha). We fought over it for two days until my mother apologized to me. Ever since, we have made decisions like a team. She uses her gut feeling, and I use my logic and we put it together to see if we can decide on something we both feel good about.
Cute… and what would you tell other would-be mama-daughter teams?
Mother: Remember your daughter is an adult — even though she’s still your little girl. Include her in the decision-making even though most of the time you’re right (haha, just kidding!). And even if she makes the wrong decision, let her do it. In the end it will teach her so she won’t make the same mistake again.
Daughter: Make sure your mother always looks presentable when you are on a business outing (especially if she’s begging to wear a men’s flannel shirt and cargo shorts in the middle of winter. Fashion police please? She can make jewelry with the best of them — just doesn’t like to “dress the part”!
And on a more serious note, when working with your mother, always remember she has been around
much (much!) longer then you and occasionally will be wiser. Take her advice into account before you start butting heads with her.