‘i had To learn To back off’

Woman (UK) - - Real Life -

Julie Phillip­son, 60, is a co-founder of the web­site Hel­lograds with daugh­ter So­phie, 26. She has two other chil­dren, Elena, 28, and Tom, 20, and lives with hus­band Pe­ter, 64, in Berk­shire.

Start­ing a busi­ness when I should have been look­ing to re­tire was not re­ally in my plans. But when So­phie grad­u­ated, she and her friends were pan­ick­ing about find­ing jobs. There was noth­ing to help them nav­i­gate the next step – so we started some­thing.

I had taken a long ca­reer break to have chil­dren, but had mar­ket­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. With all three chil­dren gone, it was a wel­come dis­trac­tion from the empty nest.

I was very cau­tious about work­ing with So­phie. I was wor­ried I’d be too dom­i­nant. I made a con­scious ef­fort to back off, to en­cour­age So­phie to be­lieve in her­self.

Thank­fully, we agree on most is­sues. When there’s a de­ci­sion to make, if it’s any­thing to do with com­mu­ni­cat­ing to our tar­get mar­ket, it’s So­phie’s choice, as she’s that age. If it’s to do with spend­ing our money, it’s my say.

SO­PHIE SAYS: Ev­ery­one says I’m a ‘mini-julie’, not just in my looks, but in my man­ner­isms. But that’s great – I look up to her.

At first, I wor­ried about whether any­one would take a moth­er­daugh­ter team se­ri­ously. I’m proud to work with Mum, but I hear in­ter­est­ing re­ac­tions from oth­ers. Lots say, ‘I could never work with my mother.’ I feel lucky that we work well as a team. We can be re­ally hon­est with each other.

While nei­ther of us is par­tic­u­larly volatile, there have been mo­ments when we’ve snapped. When one of us is feel­ing ratty, there’s no bar­rier like there would be with an­other col­league.

‘we agree on most is­sues’

Julie with daugh­ter So­phie

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