Couples In Business an Ongoing Series Looking at How Life is For Couples Who Work and Live Together.
Peyman and Rana Darban are the founders and owners of award -winning coffee shop White Mulberries. Based in the idyllic waterside location of London’s St Katharine Docks, White Mulberries serves up gourmet coffee derived from top roasters both nationwide and across the world.
Peyman and Rana’s successful formula of providing good quality coffee, delicious food and excellent customer service has proved a hit with customers who had nominated White Mulberries for London’s Best Coffee Shop as part of London’s Best Coffee Stops competition. Subsequently, White Mulberries had won this accolade beating hundreds of other competitors.
Rana took time away from London’s Best Coffee Shop, in order to answer some probing questions relating to life as part of an enterprising couple.
1. What did you both do prior to setting up your business?
We met in 2004 through our passion for coffee. We both wanted to set up a coffee shop leaving our previous careers behind, Peyman was a leather man and I had worked in sales and marketing, we decided to be business partners. We had fallen in love and married, and in 2008 we found ‘White Mulberries’ current location, at St Katharine Docks – central London’s only marina, and have felt lucky every day to have done so.
2. What was the key motivation for going into business together?
Sharing the same passion and knowing that our skills would complement each other made it easy to go into business together. We were motivated by our mutual love of coffee and drive to build something we could work on together.
3. Do you have clearly defined roles in the business? If so, what are they?
We do, we play to our strengths. Peyman is in charge of the operation, and I look after the design, marketing and finances.
4. How do you separate your working life from your personal life?
It is impossible to strictly separate the two, however over time we have learnt to be more organised to be able to make time for each other. We talk about many other things besides the business and try to take days off together to spend time as a family. Our three year old son Aiden also takes our mind off work.
5. How do you manage any conflict?
Communication really is the key to solving conflicts. We make sure to listen and respect each other’s opinion. We then try to work on developing a joint solution instead of a unilateral plan. It helps that we both share the same vision for White Mulberries, so we have something we are working towards together.
6. How has your business relationship impacted on your relationship?
We have been through hard times and good times together and it has made us a stronger unit.
7. Are you stronger working as a team as opposed to separately?
100% as a team. I couldn’t think of it any other way.
8. What are the pros and cons of working with your spouse?
Pros: it is great to know that we are both chasing the same dream. Supporting each other through the challenging times and celebrating success and good times.
Cons: spending too much time together or sometimes talking about the same thing over and over again.
9. Do you agree when it comes to household chores, childcare and business decisions?
We try to cater to talent not tradition. Household, childcare and business decisions are all very different, like anything it is about finding balance. We have such a keen understanding of how we work together, so we do the roles we are good at and delegate tasks accordingly.
10. What advice would you give to couples thinking of going into business together?
It is easy to find yourself spending time together 24 hours a day. Sometimes get away from each other, give each other some breathing space by engaging in your own interests and hobbies. Leave home issues out of business and business issues out of the bedroom.
For further information please visit: www.whitemulberries.com