Sisters in business

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Anna Brech
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Ever thought about going into business with your sibling? We speak to 20 sister teams who've taken the plunge, from travel specialists to brand consultants and wedding planners. Some of these sisters launched their companies on a whim and others spent years fulfilling a childhood dream - but all agree that working together has been the best thing they've ever done, despite boardroom bickering and spending nearly 24/7 in one another's company.

See what they have to say about the importance of trust, complimentary skills and being able to read each other's minds in our sisters in business gallery, below. Are you inspired to start a business with your sister? Let us know in the comments section or on Twitter.

  • Sisters in business: the wellbeing gurus

    Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley cook and consult for private clients as part of their food and wellness business Hemsley & Hemsley, which emphasises the importance of nutritious, energising and delicious cuisine. They also publish recipes and are the London editors for American lifestyle site

    They say: "We are very different people who both have a passion for food and wellbeing - a dream shared on holiday suddenly and quite naturally evolved into a family business!"

  • Sisters in business: the creative jewellers

    Twins Tida and Lisa Finch started their contemporary jewellery line Finchittida Finch straight after they graduated from the University of the Arts London. Their designs fuse their traditional Lao heritage with British eccentricity, via ornate necklaces, earrings, chokers and bracelets. The collection has already caught the eye of fashion critics and will be stocked in Asos from next month.

    They say: "Together we are fearless! We work better together then we do separately, that's why we call ourselves 'Monozygotic Designers' - it means we were derived from one egg!"

  • Sisters in business: the travel specialists

    Emma Barnett began luxury family travel company Tots Too in 2007 and soon persuaded her lawyer sister Deborah to ditch the corporate world and join her, as the business rapidly expanded from bedroom to boardroom. The sisters are close and very different; Emma wears the creative and marketing hat and Deborah looks after sales and operations.

    They say: "We can still finish each other’s sentences off and second guess what the other one is thinking which comes in very handy in business. There is the trust and loyalty that only shared genes can buy!"

  • Sisters in business: the Chinese food experts

    Twins Helen and Lisa Tse founded the award-winning Sweet Mandarin Chinese restaurant and cookery school in Manchester, crowned by Gordon Ramsay's F Word as Best Local Chinese Restaurant (beating 10,000 competitors to the spot). They've also launched a series of gluten-free Chinese cooking sauces and Lisa has recently been shortlisted for the Asian Women of Achievement Awards.

    They say: "The best thing is that we are always having a laugh and enjoying food together. I wouldn't wish it any other way."

  • Sisters in business: the brand consultants

    Valentina and Silvia Cangiano set up boutique management consulting agency The Style Lab a year ago and work with luxury designers and brands across the globe, including exclusive hotel pop-ups and celebrity collaborations. The Naples-born sisters see themselves as partners in crime; Valentina is the creative and the story-teller and Silvia is the sales mind and the one who closes deals.

    They say: "We complement each other very well. We will always rely on each other and trust the other's advice!"

  • Sisters in business: the ethical clothing duo

    Tamsin and Seraphina Davis set up ethical womenswear label Nancy Dee in 2008, after their dad suggested they go into business together. Seraphina designs the clothes and works closely with Tamsin to create the collections and fabric prints, along with photo shoots and website design.

    They say: "It hasn’t always been a bed of roses but knowing each other so well means we don’t have to pussy foot around and can be honest. Even better than that, we know we’re in it together."

  • Sisters in business: the NY stylists

    Dawn and Denise Del Russo are a make-up and fashion styling team located in New York. Dawn started as a styling and accessories boutique eight years ago and her sister Denise joined the venture as the main make-up artist. They work on photo shoots, TV segments and with private clients and are planning to launch their own line of organic products soon.

    They say: "It is wonderful to work with a sister, we always have each other while travelling for work and develop new ideas with time spent together."

  • Sisters in business: the wedding planners

    Katharine Thorley started online wedding and styling shop Borrowed Blue Boutique in 2011 and her younger sister Jen came on-board as the business expanded and Katharine became pregnant with her second child. Katharine has 10 years' experience in the wedding and event industry, while Jen uses her day job experience as a digital comms manager to lead the company's social media strategy and head up the website redesign.

    They say: "It can see family get-togethers quickly turn into business brainstorming sessions, but it's great to work with someone who knows you so well and can offer the right support or a good kick in the right direction without offending you!"

  • Sisters in business: the market sellers

    Twins Lisette and Victoria Cooper set up online fashion marketplace with their younger sister Georgie, creating one of the noisiest offices in London. They source bespoke hand-made fashion goods from London markets including Portobello, Camden, Spitalfields and Brick Lane to sell online under one roof.

    They say: "Things are far more efficient and get done a lot quicker as sisters - there is no tip-toeing around each other and if we don't agree with something, we don’t hesitate to say. We're loving every minute!"

  • Sisters in business: the greedy team

    Charlie Webb and her sister Millie Regan set up gift-giving website partly as "an ingenious excuse for the two of us to spend more time together." The idea was inspired by their sister-in-law, who kept a book where all family members listed everything they'd ever wanted from the sublime to the wacky, making special occasions a breeze. Now you can create your own greedy list on their website and share it with friends, as well as accessing other people's wish lists.

    They say: "Cups of tea, knowing each other back to front, and long walks in the park with the greedy dog Badger make this little family business work like clockwork (well most of the time!)"

  • Sisters in business: the coffee lovers

    Nicola and Vanessa Karan poured their passion for coffee into Balham-based boutique Lavish Habit and have been running it together for two years. They spend their time selling select objets d'art and serving up high-quality coffee, cake and savoury dishes in the café, which is already a firm favourite in the local community.

    They say: "We both had completely different work experience but always knew we wanted to do something together."

  • Sisters in business: the Brownie folks

    Rachael and Sarah Cawkwell spend their days making rich chocolate brownies and white chocolate blondies in a variety of flavours for their Newcastle-based business The Brownie Bar. Sarah combines her years of experience as a pastry chef with Rachael's business know-how to run the company, which stocks brownies in delis across the North East, as well as exhibiting in nationwide events and delivering orders online.

    They say: "We love working together as sisters, we know each other well enough to use our own strengths to our advantage. We brought our passion for baking together."

  • Sisters in business: the dress makers

    London-based sisters India and Sinclair Sellars set up their bespoke bridesmaid dress service Maids To Measure last year. They were both single at the time but had heard one too many of their bride friends complain about finding nice bridesmaid dresses. India is the creative one and older sister Sinclair provides the business brains for the dress-making company.

    They say: "I think the most important thing to remember when working with your sister is not to take each other for granted, I sometimes forget to praise or acknowlege hardwork which might come naturally if she was a friend."

  • Sisters in business: the bling designers

    Kim and Nicole Carosella courted overnight success with the 2011 launch of their New York-based jewellery line Sorellina. Their eye-catching statement pieces blend creativity with timeless design - a winning formula for the fashion pack, who continue to covet each new collection.

    They say: "I love the openness and honesty between us. No matter what, on my worst day, I'm still playing with diamonds with my best friend."

  • Sisters in business: the cupcake aficionados

    Sisters Anna Wong and Lillie Chan from Leicester have always wanted to set up their own business and finally took the plunge after finding a website layout they could manage. Their business, My Cupcake Case, supplies all manner of cupcake accessories from wrappers to boxes and customised toppers. They created their site via and celebrated their first order with - what else? - a cupcake party.

    They say: "While we have always been close My Cupcake Case has bought us even closer and we can spend hours talking about how beautiful our products are."

  • Sisters in business: the wedding creatives

    Identical twins Kelly and Caroline Briggs offer a double whammy wedding service based in Newcastle called Twins Weddings. In a true show of teamwork, Caroline, a former BBC journalist turned photographer, takes wedding photographs and Kelly, a graphic designer, creates bespoke wedding stationery. They quite often end up confusing drunken wedding guests (for no added charge).

    They say: "As twins, our photographic style, creative ideas and work ethic are seamless, so the whole set-up works very well (just don't ask us who the bossiest one is!). We're also good at sharing tea duties! Milk, no sugar."

  • Sisters in business: the media magnates

    Hayley and Lisa Harrison started IN! Magazine together five years ago. They moved back in with their parents in order to do so, and started laying out plans from the family kitchen table. Today, it's the best-selling magazine in Northern Ireland and covers everything from celebrity and entertainment to fashion, health and beauty.

    They say: "Lisa and I are like chalk and cheese, we don't always agree on everything but ultimately we trust each other. We always have each other to fall back on."

  • Sisters in business: the accessory experts

    It was a childhood dream come true for sisters Shilpa Sharma and Nupur Tuteja when they launched fashion service notjustashopper in March this year. With a core design and creation office based out of Delhi and a sales base in the UK, Nupur takes creative lead in the venture while Shilpa is responsible for global sales and marketing. They create handmade fashion and home accessories to suit women from all walks of life.

    They say: "It's the joy of working together with an unshakable belief that my partner would never let me down, never let me fail and never let me give up. That in itself feels like a huge advantage."

  • Sisters in business: the PJ pair

    Sisters Anna Grew and Lucy Gibson put their creative genes to good use by setting up, a personalised pyjamas-making business. They design and make an array of colourful pyjamas to order and create matching strappy tops and t-shirts.

    They say: "Working with your sister can be a challenge, sometimes you're ready to kill each other, and sometimes you read each other's minds! But it's a good match."

  • Sisters in business: the Bakewell twosome

    The aptly-named Cheri and Gemma Bakewell set up cake business Love Cupcake & Cheri Bakewells in Essex and count Jonathan Ross among their fans. They offer a wide selection of sumptuous wedding cakes, as well as themed cake pops, cookies and baking masterclasses.

    They say: "Sharing a business is perfect for us, a business partner who you can trust 100%, who shares the same high standards and aspirations. We are best friends who we love spending our days together at work creating beautiful cakes and wedding cakes."


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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.