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Three Inspiring Mother-Daughter Entrepreneur Duos

Lindsay Tigar  |  February 15, 2022

Teamwork makes the dream work — and in some cases, it’s truly a family affair. Get inspired by these mother-daughter duos killing it in business.

For many women, their greatest fan and loudest cheerleader is their mom. The mother-daughter bond is one that’s full of unconditional love and no stranger to overcoming challenges, so it makes sense that some mother-daughter duos would decide to go into business together. ( I mean, who wouldn’t want to foster an empire with one of their favorite people in the world right beside them??) 

We knew that in addition to making great products, successful mother-daughter partnerships would have a lot to tell us about how to run a company. We hope their stories motivate you to create something beautiful with the people you love. 

“Laugh whenever you can.” 

Katie Fagan taught her daughter, Christina Fagan Pardy, to knit when she was 10 years old. She not only quickly picked up the craft, she fell in love with it. She started sharing her creations on her Instagram account, Sh*t That I Knit. As it began to take off, she decided to open a storefront and left her 9-to-5 in 2015 to pursue her entrepreneurial dream full-time. As her biggest fan, her mom came along for the ride. Christina says there is no better co-worker than her mom, who is right there with her setting up tents at 5 a.m. for a trade show, or running around ski towns to sell hats in stores, visiting their team in Peru, or packing orders in the living room for two weeks straight. 

No matter what the business throws their way, Christina knows her mom is fully supportive — and will laugh right along with her. “I think one of the best parts is laughing or reveling in all of the wild places the business has taken us as a duo,” she shares. “It’s been so much fun, and I couldn’t imagine a better partner in crime! I also know that it’s coming from such an honest place whenever I ask her for her opinion or advice. I know she wants the best for me and always has my back.” 

“Family always comes first.”

Elizabeth Grant Skin Care started in 1948, following World War II, and over the decades, it’s become quite a family affair. Elizabeth Grant began blending together ingredients (anti-aging compounds, vitamins and botanicals) looking for something that could heal her damaged skin from a bomb blast. After witnessing the impact of the cream she developed, she knew she had to share it with the world. Fast-forward to 1997, and her daughter-in-law, Marion Witz, decided to join and help grow the company, and in 2003, her granddaughter, Margot Witz-Grant, decided to become part of the team, too. 

Marion never thought she’d be working with her mother-in-law, and knew from the beginning the relationship might thave its challenges. So, when the two joined forces, they made a pact: If we’re going down this path, we’ll put family first, no matter what. “In all our time working together, we truly have become the best of friends, and it’s an experience that I treasure with every fiber of my being,” she says.

For granddaughter Margot, working with her mom provided both vast benefits as well as its unique hurdles. “The benefits were I could spend time with her, learn from her, and really know that no matter what, she would have my back,” she says. “The hurdles were that it took a long time to earn her respect, and I had to move her perception of me from just being her daughter to someone who could bring something to the table.”

Marion has been impressed with her daughter’s contribution and says she has breathed new life and ideas into the brand. “Having Margot by my side is just amazing, not only because she is my daughter, but we are both so proud of each other and really genuinely support each other,” she says.

For other mother-daughter duos who want to make their big idea the next big thing, Margot says to ensure the family business isn’t everything, since it can be easy to let it consume your life and affect your personal bonds. “It’s important to not allow the disagreements or hurdles from day to day blend into after hours. I love my mom to pieces, but sometimes we have a tough day, but I still want, need, and love my mom,” she says. “I don’t ever want to jeopardize that relationship over a work challenge, and you have to remember that over everything.”

“Listen to each other.”

In many ways, Shawnda Dorantes RN, followed in her mom’s footsteps by becoming a nurse. But when she decided to merge her background in the beauty industry with her nursing know-how to open up her own med spa, she knew she needed her mom, Marie Dorantes, RN, on board. Since Marie was a long-time businesswoman, she was a big part of the driving force that encouraged Shawnda to pursue her dreams.

Now, working beside her at their company, Beauty Lounge Medical Spa in San Marcos, California, is what Shawnda calls a gift. “We share the same passion for beauty and skincare and now get to work in tandem to change the lives of our patients together,” she says. “A huge asset to my business, my mom brings a wealth of knowledge and medical experience to the table. Working with my mom is a daily reminder of the dreams and aspirations I had as a young girl to grow up and be a successful nurse making an impact in the world like her. There is no one I would trust more than my mom to help me build my brand.”

For Marie, there’s nothing that brings her as much pride and joy as working with her daughter. “As a mother, we raise our children to be good people who can stand on their own two feet, and I feel eternally blessed to be able to witness her drive and talent every single day I come to work,” she shares. “It actually feels very full-circle to be working beside her in the industry I’ve dedicated my life to.”

To maintain their relationship while also growing their business, Shawnda says they practice their listening skills. “Place value in the other’s opinions and ideas, even if you may disagree. Two perspectives are always better than one. This goes back to having mutual respect for each other in business as professionals, not necessarily as mother and daughter,” she adds.

Marie echoes Shawnda’s advice — remember the individual strengths you have so you can fill up each other’s weaknesses. “Identify what each of your strengths is and work together to build an empire,” she says. “Strong women support strong women, and there’s no better feeling than when the strong woman next to you happens to be your mother or daughter.”


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