What are the most rewarding aspects of working with your other half?
Fiona: The coolest thing is that we get to build our business around our lifestyle. And as our lifestyle and priorities have changed we’ve been able to adapt the business to work more in harmony with our life. Hours are flexible, challenges are shared and work is interwoven into all aspects of our life.
Anoop: The most rewarding aspect of working with Fiona is that we get to fight at work and at home – haha just joking. Seriously, we get to have the hours we want for our lifestyle. We go on work trips together, which gets our creative juices flowing and also grow together in areas of self-development and business.
With such busy roles at The Uniform Edit, how much do you both see each other at work?
Fiona: We both have very different roles and some days our paths don’t cross at all. Other days we are both in the office and see a lot of each other – thank goodness those days don’t come by all the time – working together is fun but having space is important too. We definitely don’t sit in the same room together.
Anoop: We don’t see each other all day. One thing we always try and do is have a morning coffee and our lunch together. Apart from that, we work independent of each other.
What are the biggest challenges to working together?
Fiona: For me, the biggest challenge is not getting in the way. As I oversee most of the business operations and am a super organised person, I often find myself jumping into areas Anoop manages and wanting to show him ‘my’ way of doing things. Being married, sometimes the barriers that exist with other colleagues aren’t there for us. It’s so important we have boundaries and respect each other’s ways of doing things, even when I may not agree.
Anoop: There are times where we do not respect each other as much as we should. By that I mean we may schedule a meeting then cancel it because we’ll agree to talk about it later – so we don’t always formalise things and create responsibility around it. Since we don’t feel the need to be as formal, important projects can take a back seat, especially when we talk about them at home whilst juggling home life. Miscommunication occurs and important conversations that have been had casually get forgotten once back at the office. It has taken me 15 years of marriage and 14 years in business to realise that I am always wrong- haha!
You obviously are very good at working together in and out of the office with both a successful business and marriage and small children to raise. Tell us your secret?
Fiona: Ha, ha, no secrets! Maybe we were just destined to do life and business together, who knows! We have a very similar outlook on life and want the same things so that really helps. We have disagreements like everyone else, we don’t always see eye to eye, but at the end of the day we are both very good communicators and will always talk anything out that is bothering us. I have one rule and that is to never go to bed angry at one another. And that’s worked well – that way we always wake up wanting to ‘do’ the next day together with joy.
Anoop: Simple. I have learnt to say sorry for a lot of things ha ha! Seriously, we don’t have egos, we are both pretty relaxed people and we accept responsibility rather than blame each other. We both have the utmost of respect for each other.
Do you see the company staff extending to the rest of your family down the track? Working with your children?
Fiona: I grew up in family business working with my parents and so did Anoop so naturally, that’s what I visualise – but at the end of the day it’s up to the kids. When you are in business together it really does shift the dynamics at home. Our kids know that business is important and it is interwoven in our lives. It’s not something that starts in the morning and ends at 5pm and whilst family is our priority at times business does come first. The kids enjoy coming to the office – whilst they don’t work there yet they always want to come and hang out. And they are super cute additions to the team. Haha.
Anoop: It would be a dream for me to have our kids work in the business. I love coaching and mentoring them. At the end of the day, it is their choice and I will respect and love them for whatever they choose. I call them GOATS, The Greatest Of All Time ha ha!
Anoop and Fiona married one year before starting Shirt Studio in 2004. They’ve been married 15 years and together for 20 years. They have two children – a 7-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy.