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Family Affair: Making a fam-biz work

By Maia Marquez Published Mar 25, 2022 5:00 am

As family businesses thrive, they’re able to cultivate their relationships with each other, too. 

And so, Young STAR puts the spotlight on these passion projects-turned-family businesses and how they have strengthened relationships within.

Solana

Avid online shoppers Bea (27), Andie (25), and Marti (22) Limpo struggled to find clothes that were within budget, fit perfectly, and were functional enough. 

It’s been almost four years and counting since these sisters put up their own clothing line. While they factor sustainability into each piece they make, it doesn’t just end with style and material. For them, it’s about sustaining relationships with each other, their seamstresses, and customers, too.

Bea, Marti, and Andie Limpo

YOUNG STAR: How has your family business affected your relationship?

ANDIE LIMPO: Working together has made us closer than before. I discover different sides of my sisters, and my love and respect for them continuously grow as I see how driven, creative and amicable they are. 

BEA LIMPO: From experimenting with and growing the brand, we’ve also grown both as individuals and as sisters. We’re sisters no matter what.

How do you make your setup work? 

MARTI LIMPO: We’ve always been very open and honest with each other, and agreements and arguments have taught us to find compromises and work together as a team. 

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A post shared by Solana (@hola.solana)

How do you keep your work and family lives separate?

MARTI: We’ve learned to really make time each day to focus on Solana, and time not allotted for that goes into our personal or family matters.

ANDIE: We have different things going on, but coming together even to work, no matter how serious our discussions can be, is considered bonding time for me. 

245 Bakery

Baking started as a bonding activity over the quarantine for four sisters Camille (26), Kat (21), Yanna (20) and Trixie (12) Villonco, and their mom, Hazel. They experimented with making treats they usually order like cookies, cheesecake, and pandesal. What started as an activity to stay sane over the lockdown evolved into a serious side hustle. 

How has your family business affected your relationship?

Yanna, Trixie, Kat, Camille with mom Hazel Villonco

MOM HAZEL: We’ve always been a close, active and open family, but baking together has further strengthened our relationships. 

KAT VILLONCO: Admittedly, there are some mini fights between as some enjoy baking more than others, but we’ve accepted that this is all part of the process, and we’re always able to quickly resolve these arguments.

How do you make your setup work?

CAMILLE VILLONCO: Everyone is involved in the baking process. We delegate assignments based on each one’s capabilities and interests, so everyone’s accountable for something.

YANNA VILLONCO: Since I’m based in San Francisco for school, there are some days I bake and sell our goods at our “SF branch.” 

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A post shared by 245 Bakery (@245bakery)

How do you keep your work and family lives separate? 

CAMILLE: It really became integrated into our family life—but we don’t really mind, as it makes us even closer.

MOM HAZEL: Through our home bakery, we’re also able to support causes that align with our family values of helping those in need. 

Grandma Approves

Bianca Mascenon (28) expresses herself through fashion. While her choice of clothing leans towards slightly hubadera, Grandma Belen (77) says, “As long as you can carry yourself well, and look classy and smart, Grandma approves!” 

As Grandma has always loved dressing her family in her custom-made clothing, the grandmother-granddaughter tandem brought back her ready-to-wear line, now incorporating timelessness and trends.

Bianca Mascenon with Grandma Belen

How has your family business affected your relationship?

BIANCA MASCENON: We’ve always bonded over making clothes even before it became our business, so this has only made our bond stronger.

How do you make your setup work?

BIANCA: My grandma has always allowed me to express myself through fashion, and I trust her opinion. Always.

We’re a lot more comfortable with each other, so it’s easier to cross boundaries, but God knows Grandma loves me too much to ever be angry at me for longer than a day.

How do you keep your work and family lives separate?

When I work late at night, Grandma tells me to relax. To her, this business is all fun and play, so I remind her that it’s a business, too! We balance each other out that way.

GRANDMA BELEN: I just enjoy it all, because my apo is my favorite.

Ola Bakes

Starting Ola Bakes wasn’t difficult for Noelle Uson (24) and her Grandma Irma (76), who thought of bringing her 50-year-old lime chiffon cakes to a younger generation.

The lola-apo tandem lives together and has designated specialties—Grandma Irma takes charge of baking, Noelle handles designing and marketing the cakes, and her grandpa sometimes makes deliveries (with Noelle manning Waze as Grandpa likes old-school maps). Noelle even has a mentor in mom and well-renowned cake designer, Judy Uson.

Noelle Uson and Grandma Irma

How has your family business affected your relationship?

NOELLE USON: I’m really happy I get to share something I love doing with my grandma. We bond over new recipes and research (Grandma is currently addicted to YouTube!). It’s nice seeing her so happy when we get orders!

How do you make your setup work?

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A post shared by OLA BAKES (@ola.bakes)

I’ve always trusted my grandmother with the baking, and she trusts me with marketing. It’s a lot of trust, patience, and compromise.

GRANDMA IRMA: Whenever we have arguments, I always remember that our relationship is more important than anything else. At the end of the day, we know we love each other.

How do you keep your work and family lives separate?

NOELLE: I always remind myself to take time to rest. So, after work, we watch MasterChef or Chef’s Table and we find ourselves saying, “Ooh, let’s try this next time!” We really can’t step away from the food world!

Nin and Yang

Growing up as lovers of arts and crafts, sisters Thea (26) and Nina (23) Morales have always dreamed of starting their own business that allowed them total creative freedom and didn’t cause harm to the environment.

The inspiration for their multifunctional, durable, and upcycled clothing line made from retaso fabric was heavily influenced by having relatives in the clothing and manufacturing industry. 

Nina and Thea Morales

How has your family business affected your relationship?

NINA MORALES: We now have a deeper respect for each other. We’ve known each other our whole lives, but it’s only now that I get to see how my sister works. The trust between us has gotten stronger; we’re a tag team!

How do you make your setup work?

We made sure our goals were aligned from the get-go, and we play off each other’s strengths when we delegate tasks. Even though the business is very personal, we try to remain objective. But we try to make sure that working together enriches our relationships with each other, because at the end of the day, we’re all we’ve got.

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A post shared by Nin and Yang (@ninandyang)

How do you keep your work and family lives separate?

THEA MORALES: It’s difficult to separate work and family life, but sometimes the inevitable merge works. Photoshoots with our model and cousin Audrey (28) turn into sleepovers, and our Tita Reggie manages the shop where we have our products made. And our parents, who raised us to celebrate creativity, are our biggest supporters.

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They say “Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” But for families like these, it can be all the more rewarding, as their businesses allow them to live out the passions they share, with the people they love most.