Would you go into business with your mother?

Jade and Elaine Hopewell of Sami D
Jade and Elaine Hopewell of Sami D
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We love our mothers, but would you go into business with yours? Catherine Scott meets three people who have done just that.

Leeds Corn Exchange is an historic building which attracts quirky, independent retailers

Stephen and Anne Roper

Stephen and Anne Roper

It also seems to attract shops where people have gone into business with their mums - three to be exact.

With Mother’s Day fast approaching this weekend the people behind Simcha Gallery, Primo’s Gourmet Hotdogs and Sami D Jewellery explan why they decided to go into business with thie mums.

Stephen and Anne Roper, Simcha Gallery

Stephen Roper’s mum Anne has always been his creative inspiration.

Nick and Fiona Julian

Nick and Fiona Julian

The gold and silver jewellery designer says it always seemed the natural thing to go into business with his mum.

“Mum is very creative she makes textiles and greetings cards and her creativitly has inspired me,” says Stephen,

“We have worked together most of my working life. Our styles very much complement each other. We get on really well.

Originally from London, Anne had a stall on Spitalfields Market where Stephen’s great gradnfather was a green grocer.

She was one of the original stallholders at Camden Lock in the 1970s, and her handmade textile creations which include hats, brooches and scarves have also been stocked by leading retailers Liberty London and Selfridges.

Stephen has been making contemporary silver and gold jewellery for 14 years, and his work has been exhibited at several leading UK galleries. His glass jewellery features at the National Glass centre.

“When we moved to Leeds a few years ago we were looking for somewhere to start ourbusiness and the Corn Exchange was the perfect place. It was very like Covent Garden and Spitalfields inits feel. It is a beautiful building with a trading history,” explains Stephen who along with his mum opened the doors of Simcha Galley in July 2015.

“We have always worked well together. We work together as friends, as mother and son and as business partners. We are lucky we enjoy our work together.”

Nick and Fiona Julian, Primo’s Gourmet Hotdogs

Established in 2010 by Nick Julian, Primo’s Gourmet Hotdogs has become one of the hottest spots in Leeds for a relaxed meal.

Whilst Nick is busy with the day-to-day running of Primo’s, working equally as hard behind the scenes is his business partner, who also happens to be his Mum, Fiona Julian.

Together Nick and Fiona have built the business into a small Yorkshire empire, and Primo’s now has outlets in the White Rose Centre and Xscape Castleford. They also run Vanilla One café, located on the concourse of Leeds Corn Exchange.

“I’d been in the restaurant industry for a number of years and I wanted to go out on my own, says Nick.

“Fiona was looking for an income and we decieded to go into business together. There wasn’t anywhere doing gourmet hot dogs and sausages and so we thought that would be a good place to start,” explains Nick who calls his mum Fiona while at work, but not at home when he calls her mum.

“I did forget once and called her Fiona at a family meal, my sister who lives down south picked me up on it. But I just couldn’t call her mum at work , it wouldn’t sound very professional.”

While the up side of working with your mum is that she is totally trustworthy and knows you inside out, says Nick, there are some downsides.

“You do find yourself talking business a lot of the time,” says the 37-year-old.

“Sometimes you just want your mum to be your mum, and not get side tracked into talking about the business and members of staff or landlords.

“But in the main the pluses outweigh the minuses. One would hope your mum would have your best interest at heart and also will be totally trustworthy. It does work well for us.”

The pair do have different responsibilities within the Primo’s business empire.

Nick says while he gets to do all the fun bits of the business like front of house and meeting customers, while his mum does get some of the rubbish jobs.

“She ends up doing the admin and accounting and dealing with the landlords, while I get to do the fun in the restaurants. But she doesn’t complain.”

Nick thinks that more people will end up going into business with their parents as it continues to be very difficult to borrow money to set up a business.

“It is a bit like owning a property,” he says.

“People just can’t afford to get on the property ladder without the help of mum and dad and business is no different.”

And it seems to be working as Nick and Anne have been in business together for the last six years.

“Running your own business can be a lonely thing sometimes. If you can share this with a family member, especailly your mum it is really helpful”

So it seems when it comes to business mum is definiltey the word. And it isn’t just daughters going into partnership with their mums.

Jade and Elaine Hopewell, Sami D

When Jade Hopewell was unsure what to do with her ilfe her mum Elaine came up with the idea of running a business together.

They set up Sami D, an independent jeweller that specialises in handmade silver jewellery and also sells a f range of scarves, ponchos and handbags in the Corn Exchange in 2012.

Jade, who now hand crafts much of Sami D’s fashion jewellery.

“I was a bit apprensive at first,” says Jade, 22, who also lives at home in South Mitford.

“Mum had worked in the jewellery business and it works really well.”
The key to their success could be that the pair are rarely in the shop together as they work opposite shifts. But for Jade it is important to have something in common with her mum,

“We order the stock together which is really lovely as we get to spend time together which we woulnd’t have done if we weren’t in business togther. Sometimes it is difficult to separate work and family life, but on the whole it really works well.”

For more inforamtion about any of theses business visit leedscornexchange.co.uk