The summer after my freshman year at Spelman, I was my brother's social media marketing intern. Working with my brother as my boss was OK, but having my mother as the receptionist, my sister as a bookkeeper and my sister-in-law as the VP was just #teamtoomuch. There were so many personalities in the workplace that I was all too familiar with and whatever drama happened in the house was brought to the workplace. Needless to say, I was all the f*ck set after that.
While I may not have had the run-of-the-mill-working-with-family experience, I had the opportunity to speak to some dope siblings who work together creatively and have healthy relationships. We chatted about the importance of communication, the fine line between friends and siblings, being in business together and do's and don'ts of being siblings when working together.
Known for their charisma, confidence and all around cool vibes, Ceraadi is the perfect example of the sister-best friend combo package we all envy. Sisters Saiyr and Emaza collaboratively create dope concepts for YouTube videos, dance challenges and music - how can they do it all and not be bored, tired, or ready to swing on each other? For these two, it's all about positive vibes and open-mindedness. "We're both head strong and opinionated. We believe in our ideas and that can cause minor bumps," Saiyr admits, "but we always find a middle ground - fusing our great ideas together."
"I believe we have become more open-minded to each other's ideas," Emaza adds. "Let's say we don't agree, our mom will come through to help us figure it out." The dynamic duo has taken to the 'gram to show off their unbreakable bond, from exuding collective confidence in their Savage x Fenty to car covers of Ari Lennox's "BMO". Their in-sync musical abilities are just one way that they show their love and admiration for one another, and they're not shy about bouncing creative ideas off of one another to create an even stronger sisterhood - even if it means being painfully honest. "Always be honest if something doesn't sound good regardless if the other will feel a way. Be open to other ideas," says Saiyr about their creative process and rules of the studio.
As these two embark on a journey to "secure the bag", pun totally intended, they recognize each other's strengths and abilities to pick up where the other may need support. "Saiyr observes and analyzes everything in-depth. Saiyr's thoughts and style come from a genuine place, so you never know what crazy and fun element she'll bring to any project we're working on," Emaza observes about Saiyr, while Saiyr boasts about Emaza's ability to conceptualize ideas and put the pieces together.
"I feel as the oldest sibling, you can't vocally say your favorite, but I knew once Emaza was born that would be my best friend," Saiyr gushes about her younger Capricorn counterpart. When asked about what it's like to have her Taurus-born sister as a built-in bestie, Emaza responded, "Life is easier having a built-in best friend. You don't have to put them through trials and tests to prove loyalty. I know I can depend on Saiyr. Plus we live together so I don't have to wait to see her and chat it up."
"Life is easier having a built-in best friend. You don't have to put them through trials and tests to prove loyalty. I know I can depend on Saiyr."
For more of Ceraadi, follow them on Instagram @ceraadi.
Simone and Jade Kendle
As influencers, mothers and entrepreneurs, Jade and Simone Kendle have their hands full - so having a sister by your side is just what you need to handle the twists and turns of life. As CEO and advisor of Life is Content, a source of e-courses for content creation, Jade and Simone manage their business, friendship and sisterhood with grace, style and absolute boss-chick mode. "We treat business chats like any other professional obligation; shoot one another a meeting invite and correspond through our business emails. We are both super mindful of work-life balance, especially as sisters. You have to be hyper-aware of one another, especially when we are brainstorming or trying to troubleshoot a problem," Jade Kendle tells us.
"The biggest thing I appreciate about working with Simone is the amount of grace we give one another. I can literally sense when she's had a tough day and the business call we're having is being impacted by that," Jade explains about their creative process and conducting business. "It's the level of comfort and commitment that is so special and unique to how we do business together." However, when it comes to flipping the 'sister-switch', Simone admits that working beside one another can become complicated and pose some challenges. "It's super hard swapping from family mode to business mode, without some overlap," Simone Kendle, CMO of Cannection, chimes in.
Simone continues, "We struggled a bit initially because we were so close, we assumed things the other person would do or feel, without always communicating those assumptions. It became super apparent that we had to be very conscious of treating each other as business partners during business hours, and sisters outside of that - as much as we possibly could!" Though problems may have initially been present, Simone and Jade don't draw a line in the sand when it comes to dividing between their relationships as sisters and friends. "I think a sister is a friend you didn't have to search the world to find. If anything, I think it helps maintain a foundation even through our disagreements, you know I'll be here no matter what. That's the best kind of friend," Simone adds cheerfully.
"I think a sister is a friend you didn't have to search the world to find. If anything, I think it helps maintain a foundation even through our disagreements, you know I'll be here no matter what. That's the best kind of friend."
For more of Jade and Simone Kendle, follow them on Instagram @lipstickncurls and @simonekendle.
Monica and Juan Veloz
Los Angeles-based brother and sister creative duo Monica and Juan Veloz are a pair worth not only following on Instagram if you need a dope aesthetic to your feed, but a pair of siblings worth admiring for their open and honest relationship as business associates and best friends. "We share three different relationships. We are siblings, coworkers and roommates and we think it's important to know when to wear our hats accordingly," the Afro-Latina YouTuber shares with xoNecole. "So we never bring work into a heart-to-heart conversation or use it against each other."
When it comes to practicing effective communication between one another, Monica and Juan both agree that they never let their emotions get in the way. By taking accountability for their actions, they find that by doing so, their creative process becomes seamless and effortless. "My sister is a bit of a perfectionist, but I've learned to be patient and try to calm her down if she ever tends to panic. I've gotten pretty good at that," Monica's talented photographer brother jokes. "We resolve these obstacles by taking into consideration each other's suggestions and somehow, someway meeting in the middle."
Though they face great challenges together and may not always see eye-to-eye when it comes to sharing a vision, Monica and Juan bump heads about their passion for the high quality content they produce. "We are each other's hype man. We don't allow each other to speak negatively about one another," says Monica, "but we are extreme because the last thing we need is for either one of us to put out subpar work."
When asked about turning off the "brother/sister" switch, Monica acknowledges that the two find the beauty in their difference of opinions when operating as business partners. "We turn it off when we sit back and remember that we did move across the country to pursue these careers and we have no time to waste," she adds before boasting about the creative eye and talent of Juan. "I think it's important to incorporate my brother in everything I do because I value his honesty and his critical eye."
"We share three different relationships. We are siblings, coworkers and roommates and we think it's important to know when to wear our hats accordingly... We are each other's hype man. We don't allow each other to speak negatively about one another."
For more of Monica and Juan, follow them on Instagram @monicastylemuse and @jveloz.
Coco & Breezy
What's better than having one dope, super talented melanated queen with a keen sense for style and swag? Two! Corianna and Brianna Dotson, known to the world as style icons Coco & Breezy, are the epitome of fashion forward female power duo. Founded in 2009, Coco & Breezy have taken over the world of fashion and entertainment world for their work with the late singer Prince and libation brand Ciroc while taking over the music world as DJs. "Being a sibling and a twin is a whole other connection," explains Coco as she hands the mic over to Breezy, who adds that she knew that Coco has been her best friend since her moment of realization and cognizance at two years old.
"I had a sister, a twin and a best friend who can be weird with me, who could learn with me and be creative with me. I learned that from jump," gushes Breezy about their young budding friendship which would later develop into worldwide domination in the entertainment and fashion world.
"Ever since we were little kids, our parents saw how close we were and they kind of taught us about always having each other's backs," Coco says. "I think what really got us to be so close is growing up. In growing up in Minnesota where we didn't really fit in with the other kids, [it] forced us to be even more of best friends than just sisters because with us going to school and not really having a group of friends to hang out with or a group of friends to have lunch with, we would be forced to do that with each other."
On conducting business together, Breezy shares that their creative processes are indeed different and that it took a while to reach a point of understanding one another's methods. "When we first started the company, we were stuck at the hip. I didn't know what I was great at, Coco didn't know what she was great at," Breezy starts. She explains their personality differences, from her sister's motherly, "super on it" demeanor, a personality that perfectly aligns with her strategic marketing and business development efforts. Breezy, as head of design and product development, self-describes as free-spirited and creative.
"We have our own responsibilities where we can hold each other accountable, which makes us a team and we're very aware of that," she continues. "I know her strengths are my weaknesses, and visa versa. There's no ego that is involved and we both allow each other to hold down what we're responsible for as opposed to arguing about something that I know Coco is great at."
"I know her strengths are my weaknesses, and visa versa. There's no ego that is involved and we both allow each other to hold down what we're responsible for as opposed to arguing about something that I know Coco is great at."
For more of Coco & Breezy, follow them on Instagram @cocoandbreezy.
Symphani and Nydiah Soto
If you haven't seen them on your Instagram explore page, which I'm sure you have, you've likely seen these sisters on YouTube with a bomb makeup tutorial or SoundCloud dropping melodic bars. Though the Soto sisters are miles away from living with one another, they still manage to keep the Instagram followers wanting more and their relationship healthy. "Symphani lives in LA and I live in Florida, so we definitely spend enough time apart, but I try my hardest to go out there for holidays and breaks between school just to keep her company. Living by yourself can get lonely, super lonely," Nydiah Soto shares about the distance between her and Symphani.
Not only are they states and timezones away from one another, they are also separated by seven years, but their sisterhood allows them to bond on a level not hindered by age differences. "When Nydiah was around 15 or 16 [years old], that is when we really looked at each as more than sisters, but as best friends. We are seven years apart - my being 27 and her 19 - but it doesn't feel like it most days!" the I Am artist shares about her younger half. "She feels like the older sister sometimes. It's amazing to have a tight bond with someone and it's forever; she will never not be my sister."
When it comes to creating dope, shareable Instagram content for one another's channels, Nydiah and Symphani have the natural instinct to get sh*t done and put on their boss babe hats. "I feel like we both bring different perspectives to things; whether it's where to pose, how to pose, or what ideas we can do for YouTube," shares Next Management Model Nydiah. "It happens organically. I push her to not be discouraged and she pushes me to get up and create content on the daily."
Symphani concurs that when it comes down to it, as content creators, she and Nydiah have a fun, loving business relationship in which they can rightfully hold each other accountable and push one another to do their best. "Nydiah goes hard! I've seen her outstand me at some points and it's super encouraging," Symphani gloats about Nydiah. "I am not afraid to try things and Nydiah doesn't give up easily. She's super determined and I really admire that about her. She makes me feel like I can and should do anything, and I make sure I give the same in return. We are a team."
"I am not afraid to try things and Nydiah doesn't give up easily. She's super determined and I really admire that about her. She makes me feel like I can and should do anything, and I make sure I give the same in return. We are a team."
For more of Symphani and Nydiah Soto, follow them on Instagram @symphanisoto and @nydiahsoto.
Featured image via Life Is Content/Instagram
Chief Mom Officer: 23 Quotes From Working Moms Finding Their Balance
The truth is, Black moms create magic every single day. Whether we're juggling motherhood with a busy 9-5, a thriving business, or staying at home to run a household, no day is short of amazing when you're managing life as a mommy. This Mother's Day, xoNecole is giving flowers to CMOs (Chief Mom Officers) in business who exemplify the strength it takes to balance work with motherhood.
We've commissioned these ladies, who are pillars in their respective industries, for tidbits of advice to get you through the best and worst days of mothering. Here, they share their "secret sauce" and advice for other moms trying to find their rhythm.
Emmelie De La Cruz, Chief Strategist at One Day CMO
"My mom friends and I all laugh and agree: Motherhood is the ghettoest thing you will ever do. It's beautiful and hard all at the same time, but one day you will wake up and feel like 'I got this' and you will get the hang of it. After 4 months, I finally felt like I found my footing to keep my kid and myself alive, but it took vulnerability to take off the cape and be honest about the areas that I didn't have it all together. The healing (physically and emotionally) truly does happen in community - whatever and whoever that looks like for you."
Alizè V. Garcia, Director Of Social & Community Impact at Nike
"I would tell a new mom or a prospective mother that they must give themselves grace, understand and remember there is no right way to do this thing and have fun! When I had my daughter three and a half years ago, I was petrified! I truly had no clue about what to do and how I was going to do it. But with time, my confidence grew and I realized quickly that I have all the tools I need to be the mother I want to be."
Nikki Osei-Barrett, Publicist + Co-Founder of The Momference
"There's no balance. I'm dropping sh*t everywhere! However, my secret sauce is pursuing interests and hobbies outside of what's required of me and finding time to workout. Stronger body equals = stronger mind."
Lauren Grove, Chief Experience Architect, The Grant Access, LLC
"I try to give myself grace. That’s my mantra for this phase of motherhood…grace. I won’t be able to get everything done. To have a spotless house. To not lose my cool after an exhausting day. Those things can’t happen all of the time. But I can take a deep breath and know tomorrow is another day and my blessings are more plentiful than my pitfalls."
Rachel Nicks, Founder & CEO of Birth Queen
"You have the answers within you. Don’t compare yourself to others. Curate your life to work for you. Ask for help."
Tanisha Colon-Bibb, Founder + CEO Rebelle Agency + Rebelle Management
"I know love doesn't pay bills but when I am overwhelmed with work or client demands I take a moment to play with my baby and be reminded of the love, energy, science, and Godliness that went into his birth. I am brightened by his smile and laugh. I remember I am someone's parent and not just a work horse. That at the end of the day everything will work out for the good of my sanity and the love within my life."
Christina Brown, Founder of LoveBrownSugar & BabyBrownSugar
"Learning your rhythm as a mom takes time and can be uncomfortable when you’re in a season of overwhelm. Constantly check in with yourself and assess what’s working and what’s not. Get the help you need without feeling guilty or ashamed of needing it."
Mecca Tartt, Executive Director of Startup Runway Foundation
"I want to be the best for myself, my husband, children and company. However, the reality is you can have it all but not at the same time. My secret sauce is outsourcing and realizing that it’s okay to have help in order for me to perform at the highest level."
Jen Hayes Lee, Head Of Marketing at The Bump (The Knot Worldwide)
"My secret sauce is being direct and honest with everyone around me about what I need to be successful in all of my various "jobs". Setting boundaries is one thing, but if you're the only one who knows they exist, your partners at home and on the job can't help you maintain them. I also talk to my kids like adults and let them know why mommy needs to go to this conference or get this massage...they need to build an appreciation for my needs too!"
Whitney Gayle-Benta, Chief Music Officer JKBX
"What helps me push through each day is the motivation to continue by thinking about my son. All my efforts, though exhausting, are to create a wonderful life for him."
Ezinne Okoro, Global Chief Inclusion, Equity, & Diversity Officer at Wunderman Thompson,
"The advice I received that I’ll pass on is, you will continue to figure it out and find your rhythm as your child grows into new stages. Trust your nurturing intuition, parent on your terms, and listen to your child."
Jovian Zayne, CEO of The OnPurpose Movement
"I live by the personal mantra: 'You can’t be your best self by yourself.' My life feels more balanced when I offer the help I can give and ask for the help I need. This might mean outsourcing housecleaning for my home, or hiring additional project management support for my business."
Simona Noce Wright, Co-Founder of District Motherhued and The Momference
"Each season of motherhood (depending on age, grade, workload) requires a different rhythm. With that said, be open to learning, to change, and understand that what worked for one season may not work the other...and that's okay."
Janaye Ingram, Director of Community Partner Programs and Engagement at Airbnb
"My daughter's smile and sweet spirit help me to feel gratitude when I'm overwhelmed. I want her to see a woman who doesn't quit when things get hard."
Codie Elaine Oliver, CEO & Founder of Black Love
"I try to listen to my body and simply take a break. With 3 kids and a business with 10+ team members, I often feel overwhelmed. I remind myself that I deserve grace for everything I'm juggling, I take a walk or have a snack or even head home to see my kids, and then I get back to whatever I need to get done."
Jewel Burks Solomon, Managing Partner at Collab Capital
"Get comfortable with the word ‘no’. Be very clear about your non-negotiables and communicate them to those around you."
Bridget Bogee, Marketing Lead At Meta
"Ask for help and always prioritize making time for you."
Julee Wilson, Executive Director at BeautyUnited and Beauty Editor-at-Large at Cosmopolitan
"Understand you can’t do it alone — and that’s ok. Relinquish the need to control everything. Create a village and lean on them."
Salwa Benyaich, Director Of Pricing and Planning at Premion
"Most days I really try to shut my computer off by 6 pm; there are always exceptions of course when it comes to big deals or larger projects but having this as a baseline allows me to be much more present with my kids. I love the fact that I can either help with homework or be the designated driver to at least one afterschool activity. Work can be draining but there is nothing more emotionally draining than when you feel as though you are missing out on moments with your kids."
Brooke Ellis, Head of Global Marketing & Product Launches at Amazon Music
My calendar, prayer, pilates class at Forma, a good playlist, and oatmilk lattes all help get me through any day.
Courtney Beauzile, Global Director of Client and Business Development at Shearman & Sterling
My husband is a partner who steps in when I just can’t. My mom and my MIL come through whenever and however I need. My kids have many uncles and aunts and they will lend an ear, go over homework, teach life lessons, be a presence or a prayer warrior depending on the day.
Robin Snipes, Chief of Staff at Meta
"Enjoy the time you have to yourself because once kids come those times will be few and far between."
Monique Bivens, CEO & Founder at Brazilian Babes LLC.
"For new moms, it is very important that you get back into a habit or routine of something you use to do before you were pregnant. Consider the actives and things that give you the most joy and make the time to do them."
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Featured image by Westend61/Getty Images
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Tracee Ellis Ross On Why She Declined The Idea Of Someone Else Running Her Hair Company
Actress and entrepreneur Tracee Ellis Ross recently revealed the driving force behind her desire to become the owner of her haircare brand, Pattern.
According to its site, Pattern is a haircare company that provides a wide range of products, from shampoos, conditioners, oils, creams, and many more to individuals with curls, coils, and tight hair textures. Although Pattern would launch in 2019, the idea for the company first came to Ross a decade before --in 2008, when her hit show Girlfriends wrapped-- following a brief encounter at a beauty supply store and many wanting to recreate her past looks.
At the time, those individuals couldn't achieve the exact results because limited natural hair products were offered to the public. That instance became a pivotal moment in the star's life because she spent eleven years experimenting with professionals to create products that best suit those within the natural hair community.
In a May conference with Fortune's MPW Next Gen, Ross opened up about the struggles she faced early on as an entrepreneur trying to get Pattern off the ground and why she declined the offer to have the company be run by someone else.
Tracee On Past Struggles And Why She Chose To Run Her Company
During the discussion, the 50-year-old revealed that she is Pattern's "majority owner" because the company's overall mission to cater to those in the natural hair community was built from her "experiential knowledge."
"I'm a majority owner of my company. [Other celebrities with brands] aren't the founders of the company. Often, they join a company that exists," she said. "The mission [at Pattern] is born out of my experience. It's born out of my own experiential knowledge."
Further in the interview, Ross would add that she avoided partnering with an expert for Pattern because she felt she had gained enough knowledge experimenting with products in her bathroom.
"I didn't want to partner with an expert or a 'professional' because I felt—like so many—I had become my own best expert in my bathroom because the beauty industry was not catering to us," she stated.
Despite refusing to have a partner within her company, Ross found creative ways to build it. It includes paying a chemist with her own money to bring her visions of various products to life, and sending those samples to retail stores, ultimately leading to partnerships.
The final piece that helped Ross during her journey was receiving advice from business partners on ways to improve the brand, one of which came from Ulta Beauty CEO and Footlocker CEO Mary Dillon.
The black-ish star claimed that Dillon helped her realize how she could use her celebrity status and journey to promote Pattern, which she did. Because of that, Patten has now become a favorable haircare brand among many.
Tracee On How She Plans To Use Her Company To Create Opportunities For Others
Toward the end of the discussion, Ross disclosed how she plans to use the power of being Pattern's CEO to help others.
The High Note star explained that being an owner of a company has given her access to be around other CEOs interested in what appears to be becoming more profitable, and with that, she wants to expand that access to other people.
"I know that I have access to sit at a table with a CEO in a way that perhaps another founder doesn't. And when I do that, I make sure that those conversations are not only centered around Pattern," she said. "They're centered around creating and expanding the access for all of us."
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