The perfect chemistry

The perfect chemistry. What is it and can it make a difference? In a podcast I listened to recently, the founder of Away (the luggage company), Jen Rubio was interviewed. She spoke of the factors needed to make her company the success it has been in such a short space of time. One of those factors was how she blended with her co-founder Steph Corey who had very different skill sets to her own. That meant that they knew everything was covered and they weren’t doubling up on the same workload. Thee podcast is a good listen…

Of course, I have a tendency to bring everything back to sport and as in business, partnerships and teamwork are vital. Infamously, Teddy Sheringham and Andy Cole weren’t even talking to one another when they combined so successfully for Manchester United. They may not have been speaking on the pitch but their style complimented one another brilliantly, helping the team to many trophies. Now, I am not suggesting blanking your partner is a viable method for getting results usually and it certainly wouldn’t aid a healthy marriage but if two people are too similar in their strengths, their combined power is reduced. Ying and Yang are much more of a force.

My wife Suzanne and I have similar goals but there is no doubt she is very different to me. If I had started Silx on my own, I have very little doubt that it would be just an idea right now, sitting in the back of my mind, rotting away until it disintegrated into nothing. Before, I turned my full focus and attention to my role within the new company, Suzanne with minimal assistance from yours truly had transitioned us from product ideas to speaking to factories and turning a picture in her mind to something close to real. Suzanne is more methodical, business minded, a good strategist. We are both determined people with plenty of ideas of how to get the business off the ground but I am more creative, better with words. She knew the products we should be launching with. She has been working on the pricing and many of the other intricate details required. I am a decent soundboard but I know who’s boss! So the picture in her mind has turned into the one below so far…. a 3D render. Now, the product range is on its way to being made.

The 3D render of the Silx sleep mask

And while this dynamic duo are hard at work, there are three schoolchildren to look after. You do wonder whether you should be using this time just to chill, unwind and give your total time to the little one’s needs. But to be honest, they don’t want you ruining their TikTok or interrupting their Minecraft sessions. You question what is the best way to make the most of this very unusual time. For me, Covid-19’s consequence has led to me being at home without going off on my travels somewhere for work. I would say 6 weeks is normally the longest period that I am in North London without a flight beckoning somewhere. March 9th was the last time I stepped foot in an airport. Meanwhile, your friends are watching various box sets, something I would normally binge on during a long haul flight. We seriously don’t have the time. What is the right balance? For Suzanne and I, like everyone else, our family staying healthy and indoors is a priority. But Silx has become next on the list.

It’s fair to say that this whole scenario is a great test of any relationship and I don’t say that nonchalantly. A marriage that is used to a great amount of individuality and a lot of space is now never more than a flight of stairs apart. And then throw in the new dimension of starting a business together. But so far, it’s working. Of course, there are times of tension. It seems I can be a sensitive soul! We would both like to be working ten hours a day each on what needs to be done, to get every box ticked as quickly as possible but that would mean absolving our responsibility from our most important job, of being parents. But the good news is that by being a twosome, the chances are one of us is working on something to do with Silx at some part of our day.

I started this blog talking about Away, the suitcase company and the combination of Rubio and Corey. Of course, their business sector is one that is suffering badly in the current pandemic. According to a report from Stackline, the number one top declining e-commerce category in March 2020 compared to March 2019 are luggage and suitcases. With disposable gloves the number one fastest growing. Who would have predicted that six months ago? It just shows it doesn’t matter how strong your partnership is, other factors can also play their part. One last sport reference to end with though and a quote from basketball legend, Michael Jordan, “Talent wins games but teamwork and intelligence wins championships”.

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