11 Sibling Entrepreneurs: What Happens When You Run A Business With Your Sibling

11 Sibling Entrepreneurs: What Happens When You Run A Business With Your Sibling
(L) Artisan Meats ; Suta (R)

If you have a sibling, you would know that there are few others in life who love you and hate you equally and simultaneously. Growing up, we learn to share, care and be a little less selfish as we eventually grow into our own person. But over the years, even as we carve out our own paths, we do retain some traits and habits that you picked up from each other. Sometimes, we look back fondly upon the memories we shared, and the paths we walked together, and some other times, we take all that together, build something of the superlative, and rule the world together.

Homegrown was started by sibling duo Varun and Varsha Patra back in 2014 as a dream to offer the microphone to the youth of India. In a similar vein to Homegrown, many siblings all over India have taken the leap of faith to start their own ventures, and continue to stand by each other in their journeys together.

This Raksha Bandhan, we, at Homegrown bring to you a group of such powerhouse siblings who having built their own businesses from scratch, continue to thrive amidst all adversity.

Here’s 11 sets of siblings telling us the secret behind the magic they continue to create everyday.

I. Risheeta & Rishabh Agrawal

Risheeta and Rishabh run a creative agency, EO2 EXP, that creates brand identities, advertising, films, events, visual content, music videos and digital experiences. Another agency they run together is CREWSADE that manages technical and creative film talent from across the world.

Why does the partnership work? How challenging is it working with your sibling?

“We started working together at a very young age because of which we had a lot of time to develop and understand what both of us were individually good at. Our traits complement each other a lot. Initially, we worked together on every project, but, with time, we started handling different verticals of the company with our own separate teams. So, on a day-to-day basis, we don’t interfere in each others’ work because we trust each other. However, we are still each others’ safety nets whenever need be.”

One trait you would each like to trade with the other

Says Risheeta, “He’s a macro manager & I’m a micro manager. I think there are times we both wish we could trade that trait with each other!”

You can check out their creative agency, EO2 EXP here.

Check out CREWSADE here.

II. Sujata and Taniya Biswas

SUTA is a fresh design house that creates a range of attire with a blend of tradition and contemporaneity. Suta has been the journey of Sujata and Taniya (Su and Ta) putting their heart and soul into spreading love through sarees and apparel. It all started when the sisters had a conversation with weavers in West Bengal and witnessed the magical process of how a saree is made. They saw that it was not just a way to make a product but the brilliant hands of the weavers were actually pouring life into the saree that became a living, breathing entity reverberating with the warmth of love. It was this warmth that Su and Ta thought should reach the entire world.

They then decided to quit their well-paying jobs and worked at bringing out the best of sarees, dresses, and blouses that were ‘dipped in love’. The unique journey of entrepreneurship that Su and Ta are on is one that is so strongly rooted in their love – love for great textiles, love for weavers and love for all of humanity.

Why does the partnership work? How challenging is it working with your sibling?

Taniya: It is always fun for us. Su understands exactly the shot I am looking for, drapes a saree in less than 2 minutes (she can give Maggie noodles a tough competition!) and the entire photoshoot is wrapped within an hour. The fashionista that Su is, it is easier to make her understand what is working and what is not.

Sujata: Ta captures my mood and emotion perfectly. Ever since childhood, she has been my personal photographer. This helped us a lot during our shoots. Whenever there is a conflict of opinion, we both sit and analyse and apply logical reasoning. There are tiffs between us too, but we sort it out quickly as we have bigger and better things to solve.

One trait you would each like to trade with the other

Sujata: Taniya is a foodie at heart and she’s an amazing cook! I wish I could cook like her.

Taniya: Sujata sings really well. That’s one quality I would like to trade with her.

You can check out their Instagram page here.

III. Ashish Chopra & Vishesh Chopra

Vishesh knew Ashish was gay since forever and was always very supportive. When Ashish proposed the idea of starting a business focused on the LGBT community, Vishesh was the first one to come on board. That’s how BeUnic started.

It is an online platform for LGBT entrepreneurs to showcase their stuff online. They help queer entrepreneurs reach out to a wider audience. Apart from selling products, the organisation also helps LGBT people get jobs with queer-friendly organisations through 5 of their partner organisations. The organisation also conducted a research project wherein they published a list of 170 queer books. They also have a weekly active blog talking about various issues faced by the LGBT community.

Why does the partnership work. How challenging is it working with your sibling?

“The partnership works because we both have a common vision in mind, which is to do some good work for the LGBT community. But it comes with a lot of challenges. We have recently started and are struggling financially. As of now, neither of us is drawing a salary, which has demotivated Vishesh a bit. Even though we fight sometimes, we try our best to keep our personal and professional lives separate.”

One trait you would each like to trade with the other

Says Ashish, “I would like to be more relaxed and not take so much stress in situations like Vishesh does. And Vishesh would like to be more organised and hardworking like me (I think) !!”

You can check out their Instagram page here.

Check out their website here.

IV. Prachi Gupta, Tanvi Gupta & Vanshika Gupta

The Mad Dresser is an online personal styling service catering to women across India. They are trying to make shopping more convenient by choosing clothing items for their customers and delivering them to their doorstep. They study their profile in depth and understand their style and needs extensively. After closely understanding their profile, they curate a unique TMD Box personally for them.

Why does the partnership work ? How challenging is it working with your sibling?

The trio says, “There is a sense of comfort that we wouldn’t have with anyone else in the world. We can trust each other blindly, something that isn’t possible with an outsider. We can be brutally honest with each other and still be there to support each other when needed. There are no hidden agendas. Partnering with a sibling means that we share similar values and ethics, but, at the same time, bring different perceptions and opinions across. We also feel that we are there to support each other on the days either one of us is feeling extremely low, with regards to the business. There is always a true motivator and supporter.

Sometimes, we take each other for granted and lack the sense of appreciation that we would have had for someone who was an outsider. Our arguments may get a bit too heated, but in the end, we always make up and mutually agree on the decision at hand. This is something that is inevitable in any form of business. Working with a sibling also means that we make up for the differences in the end.

One trait you would each like to trade with the other

Prachi: Her vision and the drive to do everything no matter how difficult the task.

Tanvi: Logical data-driven decision making.

Vanshika: Creativity and an eye for unique branding.

You can check out their Instagram page here.

Check out their website here.

V. Karishma & Krish Kewalramani

FAE, which stands for Free and Equal, conceptualises and creates beauty products for everyone. Diversity and inclusion are at the core of their ethos and drive all key decision-making at the company. At FAE, they believe that beauty is a feeling, not a formula, and their team works hard to ensure they continue to build an inclusive community where individuals of all shapes/sizes/colours/orientations and more feel listened to, and catered to, always. They currently sell a capsule collection of matte lipsticks that merge with the users’ skin tone, ensuring that each of them gets a colour that works for them.

Why does the partnership work? How challenging is it working with your sibling?

“It works because we bring complementary skills sets to the table. One of us is more creative, and the other is strong with numbers. One likes to stick by the rules, while the other is always figuring out how to bend them and get things done differently. One of us is more trusting and optimistic, while the other is a tough negotiator who always keeps it practical. The complementary skill sets really work. The primary challenge of working with your sibling is not being able to draw boundaries. Work and home easily blend together, and it’s easy to overstep and eat into each other’s personal lives.”

One trait you would each like to trade with the other

Karishma: I wish I could learn how to separate my personal thoughts and feelings from work. Krish does a great job of keeping the two separate, and it helps him make unbiased, clear decisions.

Krish: I wish I was as detail-oriented as Karishma as it helps bring a level of finesse and polish to everything we do.

You can check out their website here.

VI. Divyansh Arora & Garvit Arora

DAGA LABEL offers a fusion of Indian and contemporary luxury fashion.

Why does the partnership work? How challenging is it working with your sibling?

“Our partnership works because of our different approaches to fashion and our business strategies. We are very clear on our responsibilities and the upside of working with your sibling is to be able to talk about the challenges openly. The main challenge that we face is the fact that we are always talking about our business even when we are at home or attending some event.”

One trait you would each like to trade with the other

Divyansh: I would love to trade with Garvit his vision, and his graphical and communication skills.

Garvit: I would love to trade with Divyansh, his skill of handling problems so well.

You can check out their website here.

VII. Mehma & Meherwan Bawa

Their company, Artisan Meats, processes meat in a traditional, non-mechanised manner, without the use of any fillers, binders or additives. Pork is their speciality. They work closely with the farmhands and vouch for the quality of pork. They intend to dispel the negative notions of Indian pork and assure people that it’s safe to consume.

Meherwan is the chef-partner and Mehma is the operations partner. They stand by the motto ‘Eat Clean Meat and don’t sell anything we wouldn’t consume ourselves’. Artisan meats started with the love for good, traditionally-cured and processed meat.

“When we started this, the only meat that was available was factory meat, made with a lot of additives, soya etc. But, we’ve been able to change the mindset of people over the past 4 years about why this is a much healthier option,” says the sibling duo.

Why does the partnership work? How challenging is it working with your sibling?

Meherwan: We work by the principle of non-interference, yet complete transparency. This helps us stay out of each other’s way and keep the work flowing. We believe in our skills, and trust that they will be utilised towards fulfilling common goals. Out vision is pretty aligned. The only challenge I see is that since we live in the same house, it’s hard not to take work back home.

Mehma : The partnership works because we are an absolute team. Our skills are very different and yet complimentary. I’m a complete dodo in the kitchen, while Meherwan isn’t the best with numbers. Also, whenever we do fight, it’s resolved easily because we’re also best friends at the end of the day. The boundaries between work and home are blurred. Sometimes when we’re out partying, conversations around work crop up. That’s the only side we are trying to balance.

One trait you would each like to trade with the other

Mehma: I would like to be more creative.

Meherwan: I would like to be more patient.

You can check out their Instagram page here.

You can check out their website here.

VIII. Pallavi & Malvika Lalwani

They are a sister duo from Delhi, running a sustainable handmade design startup called Ziddi with an aim to revive the dying Patwa thread craft. Ziddi was born out of their love for all things rustic and draws heavily from our Rajasthani roots. Having grown up in a village-world of colours, traditional arts, and antiques, they united their creative powers to develop handmade, sustainable and one-of-a-kind pieces by using various crafts of our countryside.

Pallavi utilises her awareness of space, form and materials as a successful architect and Malvika, a NIFT alumnus, uses her design acumen to turn it into a wearable piece of art. Every piece at Ziddi is made from up-cycled materials. For Pallavi and Malvika Lalwani, Ziddi is more than just a fashion label. It is a sincere urge to bring a change in the lives of the craftsmen who are dependent on a fading craft for their living and also to the environment by making Ziddi a brand that is constantly contributing towards sustainability. Their motto is to create a better world by promoting sustainable fashion.

Why does the partnership work? How challenging is it working with your sibling?

Says the duo, “The intense camaraderie that’s typical to siblings at a young age on one hand and a sea of separate experiences when coming-of-age on the other meant that we had to re-orient and adjust ourselves to the others’ philosophies when we decided to work together a couple of years back. Fast forward to now, we feel we benefit from each other’s work and vision. There are always those moments when one’s shortcomings are fulfilled by the other just when it is required. There’s comfort in knowing that someone who gets you completely has also got your back at work. Can there be a bigger blessing than to have your blood sister as your most trusted lieutenant? And that too at work! Before you paint us as a perfect sibling duo, let’s circle down to real life challenges. As a startup, we have to do a plethora of tasks from handling artisans, logistics, administration, employees, B2B tie-ups and related business management to creating new designs, shoots, digital marketing and so on which keep us on our toes and require us to double up individually as opposed to pairing up as one. We try to communicate clearly with each other, since having someone you can open up to is greatly comforting.

One trait you would each like to trade with the other

Pallavi: Malvika’s punctuality is balanced with Pallavi’s psychotic attention to detail.

You can check out their Instagram here.

IX. Rumani & Ritvik Takkar

After having worked as a theatre artist since she was in the II year of her college, Rumani observed that there was one common problem that every artist faced. This was a lack of space. There was no place where they could just go and put up a play without sponsors or producers and not be in debt. Every auditorium, gallery, or amphitheatre was either expensive or was not welcoming for budding artists. So, she came up with the idea to create a space for every artist and art lover, where they could afford to take risks, experiment, create, rehearse, showcase, and perform. This is how the People Places Arts Studio was born.

Why does the partnership work? How challenging is it working with your sibling?

Rumani: It works because he knows things that I don’t. So, I listen when I need to and make him listen when he needs to. It’s definitely challenging because the thing is that this idea actually took birth from personal experiences of my starting days as a theatre artist and he sometimes forgets the emotional connection I have with this idea. I would say we are like Yin and Yang, seemingly opposite, but complementary to each other. It is challenging! Working with a sibling makes me remain in my comfort zone and also makes me a little laid-back.

One trait you would each like to trade with the other

Rumani: Tranquility! Sometimes, I am stunned to see how calm and composed he is in some situations, whereas on the other hand, I am all stormy and high-headed.

Ritvik: Confidence. I have always seen her on stage and me being an introvert,it’s obviously not easy for me.

You can check out their Instagram here.

X. Sahil & Karan Bajaj

Gaah is an entertainment solutions company established in 2013. The company started promoting a culture that was non-existent in this part of the country. Their main focus was to create a cultural bridge, music being its primary focus. The company started with promoting independent artists and creating events ranging from live to electronica and over years added experiential nights and music festivals to a region which had never seen one.

Not too long ago, they also hosted Chandigarh’s first-ever Independent music festival. Over the years, they have branched out into Talent Management, Event Management, Music Festivals and Consultancy. They have also regularly hosted events in Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Shimla, and Manali. Besides Gaah, they also run a rooftop bar and restaurant called ‘Upstairs Club’.

Why does the partnership work? How challenging is it working with your sibling?

Says the sibling duo, “The core ethos of this partnership is our mutual love for music and our belief in the prowess of music. We’re lucky to share the same zest and approach to life and values. We rely on departmentalisation, i.e., aligning the core strengths to our respective departments, which makes it a more comfortable space to work in. If nurtured well, the level of understanding that siblings can reach is indomitable. There are challenges, of course, because in the end, we cannot leave work things at work; instead, we carry them home. Non-interference and departmentalisation has been our thumb rule, because we feel there is a line between involvement and interference, which should be drawn and maintained.”

One trait you would each like to trade with the other.

Karan: Sense of communication and building a sense of camaraderie with strangers.

Sahil: His artistic and aesthetic vision for all things digital and physical.

You can check out their Instagram page here.

XI. Varun & Varsha Patra

Homegrown’s co-founding duo came together in 2014 to establish India’s leading catalyst of youth culture and lifestyle. Powered by a publication, an award-winning agency, content studio and an experiential arm, Homegrown continues to empower the youth of India everyday.

Why does the partnership work? How challenging is it working with your sibling?

Varun: I believe there is a perfect balance of having a vision and being realistic. I have had grand plans for what we want to do with HG since 2014 — all of which have come to life, if not immediately, definitely over time. That’s exactly how my partner’s/sister’s mind works — on putting the right structures to achieve any lofty goal I might have for the company. The challenging part is the invisible border between work and life. However, once both of us started actively respecting each other’s space and what both bring to the company, keeping aside personal differences in the professional realm, the challenges started looking like excitements. Challenges are part of our everyday personal and professional life, but that’s why we do what we do — make those things happen with our team that seem impossible for most.

On a side note, I think it’s more challenging for her because I don’t know how to shut off and keep chasing her with new ideas!

Varsha: Varun is a visionary. He has one of the most incredible, creative minds that I know of. Also, he is honest — even through his mistakes.

It has been challenging to compartmentalise being an elder sister and a partner. It’s an ongoing process of rediscovery, but an important one for our relationship. We know that we are stronger together despite our trials and tribulations. There’s a shared passion and belief to evolve and be better for each other, for our team, and the needle we hope to shift positively with Homegrown. It’s possible because of the deep trust we have with one another.

One trait you would each like to trade with the other.

Varun: Looking a decade younger no matter what time period of her life! On a more serious note, showing that everything is possible with time and structure.

Varsha: Varun, much like his true passion, Formula One, is a kinetic machine of ideas. I would definitely trade his ability to be constantly in motion and keep creating innovatively.

Check out our Instagram page here.

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