This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Partners in Life and Work

Quoted

Achieving work / life balance can be a challenge at the best of times, let alone when you work with your life partner!

This afternoon we step into the work and personal lives of three couples who have nurtured incredibly successful small business (and relationships!) together.

Jason Chongue and Nathan Smith of the Plant Society, Matt and Lentil Purbrick of Grown & Gathered and Poppy Lane and Scott Gibson of Pop & Scott share their own tips, tricks and rules (or lack thereof…) to maximise professional efficiency and find harmony in the tricky balance of work, life and love.

23rd October, 2017

Poppy Lane and Scott Gibson business Pop & Scott. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Poppy Lane and Scott Gibson of Pop & Scott. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

When we asked Poppy Lane of Pop & Scott whether she and her husband Scott Gibson have any specific rules for maintaining their professional and personal relationship, she exclaimed, ‘No! Bloody hell! We need some rules!’ Though they seem to getting by just fine without!

Having spent almost 10 years working together and sharing a business, a relationship and two children, a lot of their success comes down to mutual passions and ideas. ‘When Scotty and I first met and fell in love, it was because we loved dreaming and discussing ideas!’ Poppy explains, ‘I felt like we started working together the minute we met.’ If you and your partner are staying up until the wee hours talking about ideas, it may be time to take the next step! 

While they both have their designated roles (Poppy as Creative Director and Scott coordinating production and new designs), the couple finds having each other as support makes a big difference. ‘Sharing the ups and downs of a small business with your partner can be confronting sometimes, but also very comforting,’ says Poppy, ‘sometimes you can get too deep into the issues with your business and take it personally’.

On the flip side, Poppy and Scott apply the strength of their personal relationship to their work life –‘You are always there to keep each other in check, have fun, fire up and inspire each other!’

Jason Chongue and Nathan Smith of The Plant Society. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

After working full-time in their respective careers as an architect and a flight attendant, Jason Chongue and Nathan Smith of The Plant Society decided to take a change of direction, together. Creating specific roles based on their individual strengths and skills was important. ‘It happened organically, we began working on aspects of The Plant Society that we individually found most enjoyable,’ Jason says on how they initially began to define their roles.

Working together on their rapidly-growing business for just over a year now, the horticultural lovers cite honest and open communication, patience and knowing when to give each other space as key to maintaining a successful work and personal relationship. 

It’s not always easy, but we make sure our work and personal lives are kept separate… keep the personal emotion away from your work and make sure you have quality time together,’ they advise, ‘always communicate with each other and actually listen to the other partner… We’ve had to learn when to step in for one another, give each other space and also motivate each other with our own personal growth.’

Matt and Lentil Purbrick of Grown & Gathered. Photo – Eve Wilson, Styling – Stephanie Stamatis for The Design Files.

Despite the crux of their business revolving heavily around a shared vision for a self-sustaining lifestyle, Matt and Lentil Purbrick of Grown & Gathered (who have been working together for five-ish years) rely on boundaries to keep things moving smoothly. ‘Have a space where you go to work every day’, says Lentil, ‘each have your own desk and space. It sounds super simple, but for years we worked at and shared the kitchen table!’

As well as separate work spaces, Matt and Lentil make sure they have clearly defined roles, and a scheduled weekly meeting to go through everything they’ve been working on individually. ‘Throughout the week, we write things on a notepad that we might want to talk about, and then we meet once a week over coffee to talk through it all’, Lentil tells us.

To maximise efficiency and minimise frustration, Matt and Lentil will write things they need the other to do on a blackboard throughout the day. ‘Then you can each look at it when you’re ready, instead of interrupting each other all day!’

View Comments

Similar Stories

Quoted

Get CV Savvy

We talk stand-out job applications with two super successful, creative businesswomen: Anna Ross of Kester Black and Abigail Crompton of T...
Elle Murrell

Quoted

The Value of Mentors

Sommelier Matt Skinner, artist Reko Rennie, and the Dale Hardiman and Adam Lynch from Dowel Jones reflect on the importance of positive role...
Elle Murrell

Quoted

Top Creative Apps

Inspiring intel from our favourite local creatives.
The Design Files

This Week

Art

'Mirka For Melbourne' Fundraiser Exhibition Opens At Heide

Mirka for Melbourne' opens this week, showcasing important acquisitions from the studio of Mirka Mora, funded by your donations!

News

Celebrating Tomorrow With Yirramboi Festival

Australia’s premier First Nations arts and cultural event fills Melbourne with music, dance, theatre, art and more from May 2nd to 12th.
Miriam McGarry
  20 hours ago

Homes

Blackhearts + Pink Bedrooms, A Home With An Unconventional Past

Paul Ghaie of Blackhearts and Sparrows wine purveyors, and his partner Lucy Wallace show us their new pad in Fitzroy, Melbourne.
Lucy Feagins
  24 hours ago

News

The Bold And Brilliant Exhibition ‘Fashioning Black Identity’

African and African diaspora fashion, photography and portraiture at Cairns Art Gallery.
Miriam McGarry

Dream Job

From Intern to Senior Landscape Designer – Growing A Career At Eckersley Garden Architecture

26-year-old Joshua Cocks charts his journey from University intern to working across award-winning projects, with one of Australia's top fir...
Elle Murrell

Studio Visit

Carving Out A New Career With Courtney Petley

The New Zealand based designer and maker shares her handcrafted kitchen utensils, created with reclaimed timber.
Miriam McGarry

Food

Alice Zaslavsky's Beetroot + Horseradish Salad

Beetroot and horseradish were just destined to be together, as evidenced in this bright and flavourful vegetarian dish.
Alice Zaslavsky

Architecture

A Truly Transformative Cottage Conversion

Studio Prineas breathe new life and light into this compact home in Cammeray, New South Wales.
Miriam McGarry
  16 hours ago

Regional

She'll Be Apples At Black Barn Farm

A small scale farming success story in North East Victoria, built on permaculture, education and community connection.
Karen Locke

Architecture

A Modern And Sustainable Spin On The Aussie Shed

Eco meets lux in the off-grid Fish Creek House by ArchiBlox.
Lucy Feagins
  Less than an hour ago

Architecture

A Loo With A View – This Bathroom Is Like No Other!

The one-way mirrored outhouse by Madeleine Blanchfield Architects disappears into nature, in Kangaroo Valley, NSW.
Miriam McGarry

News

Free To Feed’s Annual Fundraising Bake Sale Is On This Friday!

Do something GREAT this Good Friday and help raise funds for a worthy cause!
Sally Tabart

Art

Charting A Contemporary Artist’s Remarkable Oeuvre

Spanning almost four decades, Rosslynd Piggott’s ‘I sense you but I cannot see you’ is on now at NGV.
Elle Murrell

Interiors

A Family Home That Pushes The Boundaries Between Art And Design

Interior designer Kate Challis transforms a Victorian shopfront in Fitzroy into a richly layered, art-filled family home.
01:01:05

Podcast

TDF Talks With Chef-Turned-Sustainable-Farmer Paul West

A surprisingly hilarious chat with the River Cottage Australia host, covering his atypical career path, and his philosophies on living a mor...

Similar Stories

Quoted

Get CV Savvy

We talk stand-out job applications with Anna Ross of Kester Black and Abigail Crompton of Third Drawer Down.
Elle Murrell

Quoted

The Value of Mentors

Sommelier Matt Skinner, artist Reko Rennie, and the Dowel Jones duo reflect on the importance of positive role models.
Elle Murrell

Quoted

Top Creative Apps

Inspiring intel from our favourite local creatives.
The Design Files