‘i had To learn To back off’
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