Grain partners, Chelsea and James Minola, often get asked what it is like to run a business as a couple. In honor of the month of love, Vanessa interviews Chelsea on just that subject.
V: There are a lot of amazing designers in Seattle that work in pairs. Is there something about Seattle and design that makes working with your significant other so effective?
C: Maybe it has something to do with people coming to the Northwest for a certain lifestyle. For us, working together as a couple embraces that pioneer spirit.
V: Describe a typical day working together?
C: Everyday is different and dependent on what deadline we're working towards. We always have breakfast together. Usually eggs from our chickens. I make green juice and James makes coffee. I try to do my more creative work in the morning before getting too distracted by emails. James' day is usually half in the shop and half in the studio with me. We always have lunch together as a studio and try to end the day with a run or yoga if we can. Most evenings we have for ourselves unless a deadline is fast approaching and we need to put in what we call our "second shift" after dinner. Second shifts usually require wine.
V: How do you like to spend your free time together? Is it hard to avoid shop talk?
C: We try our best to not make all our conversations about work. That said, our best ideas hardly ever come when we are seated together for a scheduled meeting. It is usually the in between times - driving somewhere or on a walk together - that we figure something out. Because of this, we make an effort to take time off and for ourselves.
V: If one of you is having a bad day at the office, what do you do to cheer the other up?
C: In work and in our life in general, we each try to be more understanding and helpful when the other person is having a bad day. James usually asks me: "What can I do to help?" Sometimes he can't, but it's nice to feel supported and part of a team when things aren't working out as planned.
V: What are your future dreams for Grain? Also, when are you getting a dog?
C: We'd love to continue to grow our furniture and lighting as well as to start to work more environmentally. A dream project would be designing a little ski or surf cabin together - something that we could use ourselves with friends and then rent out. It could be an incubator to test out some of the other ideas we have planned.
James is in charge of the dog project. His answer: 7 years.
Silenia Rhoads Date 3/15/2014
You can have Luna. Great article :)
Chelsea Date 3/17/2014
Thanks Silenia! If we are still searching in seven years, we'll let you know!