Humairah Shams and Sarah Shams, founders of Made With Love, a charming online art boutique; and Arshia Atiq and Fabiha Atiq, who started The Curious Crate, Bangladesh's first book-based subscription box, share with Star Youth about what makes working with siblings worthwhile.
Being honest with your words plays a central role in sibling partnerships. “Whether it's something we think the other can do better, or minor decisions, we have a safe space to express ideas,” says Sarah, who manages the day-to-day operations at Made With Love. Her younger sister Humairah, a marketing and e-commerce student at BRAC University, is the artist and designer. They introduced their brand in August, 2016, at an exhibition named “Carousel of Chaos.” They have different products ranging from writing materials, mugs, and stickers to art prints, cards, and bags. Sarah and Humairah claim that open communication, be it casual chats or scheduled meetings, are key to staying in tune with each other.
The Atiq sisters at The Curious Crate have different characteristics that are reflected in their areas of focus. Created in November, 2016, their initiative provides monthly packages of original books with tailored exciting items for readers. Fabiha, a Biochemistry student at IUB, concentrates on management and customer relationships, while Arshia, an architect by qualification and artist by passion, looks after the creative elements. Both sisters know what agitates and motivates the other. “Having defined responsibilities keeps things structured and gives us the freedom to foster our strengths,” Arshia shares.
Setting your ego aside for the vision of the business and the strength of your partnership is central to working with your sibling. Both Arshia and Fabiha love reading and wanted to create something exciting for bibliophiles. “Going into it, we had the support from our parents and we were confident that we are the right people to do it,” says Arshia. When asked how does working together affect their relationship, Humairah says, “There are long hours but it's fun because you have your sister to rely on and share the highs and lows with.”
When you start a business with your sibling, it is important to find the middle ground between being too comfortable and too considerate. However, making the most out of the advantages that come with being family can be considered the key role that makes sibling partnerships successful.