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To partner or NOT to partner...that is the question


becky0404
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I need some serious advice (good and bad) from anyone who has experience.

I started making candles as a hobby about a year ago. I eventually want to be able to supplement my income by selling them. I showed my best friend how to make them (because she likes them so much and she's my best friend so I wasn't going to have her buy them off me) and now she keeps BEGGING me that we go into business together. I don't think I really want to "share" my new business venture with anyone, but I don't know if it's smarter to partner with someone or not. The shared costs and the shared production appeals to me, but the shared profit doesn't. I'm just so torn.

PLease, I really need some advice on this one. I'm not experienced at all in the business side of things.

Thank you!:yay:

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Hi, If you really want to than I would try it with a partner... I highly recommend you get a good contract from a good lawyer and operate it like a business. It is hard to go into business with someone else no matter whom it is. All your decisions have to made together all profits have to be shared,all taxes have to be paid, blah, blah, blah..... I personally don't want to have to answer to anyone (except the taxman) that's why I started my OWN business. Good luck with whatever you decide. Do what makes you happy!!

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I have not done this but here are somethings that you will need to think about if you are going to have a partner.

Are you going to split everything 50/50? Meanng the cost of supplies, making the candles, selling them, insurance, packaging and so forth? And the profit?

I spent all the money getting my business started. It took my sweat and tears to get where I am and I am not going to share it with anyone.

I have other people tell me their horror stories of their best friends asking the same thing that yours is but their friends didn't know how to make candles or have any of their money or time invested in the business and their friend just was seeing the possiblity of easy money and a free ride. It ended up ruining a good friendship.

If it was me, I would not unless she was going to be making soaps or something that would go with the candles. Than I would think about possibly buying wholesale from her and she could buy your candles wholesale or even barter. But you both would have separate businesses.

Just my thoughts on it.

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Ouch! That's a good question! The difficulty is that you already feel a bit ticked because she took your knowledge and made some $. Not fair but, she is your best friend. She just probably sees it as something you two could do together and have fun making a little money. It would be nice to have someone else split the bills but, you have to have more income to make a profit. Which is a ways down the road, if ever. I don't even make a profit, everything I make goes right back into the candles so right now there is nothing to split with anyone. Would she be satisfied with that? Probably not! The money she just made has to go back into buying supplies or she'll have nothing else to sell. And.....she has to spend alot of money on testing before she sells. Did she even test what she just sold? What if it's not up to your standards and she's your partner...how does that make you look when you are a partner? It's a lot to consider. I prefer to have total control over what I do. Perhaps, instead of her being a partner she could just sell your product (sort of like wholesaling it to her) for you and you could still sell your product to whomever you want and keep your profit. Don't sell your product to her cheap either. You don't want to feel cheated either. I say don't give up control. Your friendship could end with bad feelings..........find a way to use her in a positive way that benefits you both without giving up your product information. Just my thoughts!

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I agree with ginger, I have not personally gone into business with anyone, but I have seen the outcome of a couple of ventures and they weren't always good.

But, if you don't go into business together, then there is a good chance she may go on her own since she is making money already. So I guess you have to decide if you want her as a partner or competition.

You all may be best friends now, and I sincerely hope it stays that way, but money and the prospect of making it can split the closest relationships. One of the ventures I mentioned was between two sisters who no longer speak. They opened a flower shop together, intentions to split everything 50/50 profit, bills, work, etc. An issue beyond their control caused them to have to close up shop, each one blamed the other, and now they don't speak. It's so sad to see money come between people. It is just money after all. But that's just my :2cents: I hope everything works out great for ya, no matter which path you choose.

Jennifer

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My dh and his best friend hauled horses together for 4 months about 4 years ago. It didn't work out due to the lady they were contracting out to, but their friendship hasn't been the same since. We used to get together at least every other weekend, but now we are luck if it is 2 times a year. We are all a lot busier, but still.

Just put a lot of thought into it. If you gut is telling you not to, DON"T DO IT!!! You wouldn't want to lose your best friend.

Steph

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Thank you all for your great advice. Yes, my gut is telling me not too, for more reasons than monetary issues. I started this hobby (and hopefully a business some day) so I could do something creatively MYSELF from the ground up. It sounds selfish, but I want something that is all MINE (being a mother of 3 might have something to do with that :wink2: ) and that I have created and hopefully made successful, KWIM?

Thanks again for the great advice!

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its a very hard desicion to make. i have a partner but for the most part what we do are completly seperate i do candles she does smelly jellies, and lotion sprays we work together on lip balms and and we each have our own soaps. it gives us each our own things so down the road if we did decide to split its not gonna kill either one of us to do our own thing but at the same time we both have equal say in anything business wise. neither one of us decides anything without talking to the other one first. but it might be easier for us because we weren't 'best' friends before we started this we met through our boyfriends who are friends started hanging out to get our kids aquainted built a friendship around then and then built a business relationship on top of that. our friendship has gotten stronger through all this but its not effecting business at all. i'll have to let her know about this thread so she can hopefully put her 2 cents in. (i just hope she feels the same way i do lol)

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I know what you are talking about when it comes to friends. I had a friend who helped me with craft shows for 1 year. A few months later she said her mom wants to start making crafts and doing the craft show scene. She also was a decent customer and now goes to Wal Mart for candles. Loved mine and even was a tester but IMO they want to be doing what we do and see it. I don't do great but at craft shows it wasn't bad so when she saw me make a buck I think she thought easy money. It is very hard and I told her you have no idea the cost of supplies. It is like they dont hear you.

Your friend makes candles and husband takes them to work and sells. Letting her in on the start and eventually IMO she will pull out and go on her own. She sounds like she is already seeing what she can do on her own. I spend many hours and now doing wholesale letters and I don't see anyone wanting to spend all those hours in getting this all together. Is she going half on supplies??? When they find out that they will not be as responsive. I already was asked by this friend WHERE I get supplies. I get them from quite a few different suppliers and I do all the research. It is WORK and very time consuming. This is the first year I am going to get into some farmer's markets and spring shows but the set ups for shows requires hard work. Very hard work.

I am staying on my own and always will and I never give up. It is not my livelihood and I am just getting out and doing this more. The craft show people have become my friends and they give me pointers. We see each other every year and always help one another.

LynnS

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I am in a similar situation. I started the business myself and have done the research over the years. I recently decided, OK let's do it.. got the LLC, Occupational license, yada yada. My glass friend said she was in and has been contributing way before Moby Dick was a minnow like myself. My friend who does the glass part says that all good partnerships is a team effort and all teams need a quarterback which she said "kid'o that would be you." She reminds me of Shirley McClain. Our nick names, Thelma & Louise and the new partner Mabaline. The other partner, a stay at home mom (I think is a tough job in itself) can only contribute time to help make the candles. We took her on to help her to learn to be independent and stand up for herself (but she has been doing more falling than standing lately and we are TRYING VERY VERY HARD to help her.) For example, we were suppose to meet today to make candles for an order and she called me 2 hours before time to meet and said something came up, her husband was coming back home from work. My partner and I are about family understanding. She has started to make this a regular occurrence. We have given her a few task to see if she completes them with a determine deadline. I had her look up 2 craft show information and told her that I needed the information by 03/30/07. She was given this assignment on 03/24/07. When I called her 03/30/07. She said "I am working on it now." When I called her this morning she said "hold on, let me look it, I didn't get to it Friday. " Then she calls and said she could not meet today. If she does not then she will be cut from the business. My other partner and I work as RN's PRN and we schedule meetings around all of our schedules. Next week the children will be out of school and she said she will be going to visit her husband, which is great BUT she does have an obligation to the business also. Last month she missed a week because her husband decided to change the days he was off and we had to get a big order out. She missed all last week because her parents came for a visit. We asked if she could have them watch her little girl for 2-3 hours one day to help with an order and she didn't inquire of that. She has 5 children at home and her husband is in the service and comes in on weekends. When we work she brings her 4 year old over and keeping her in check is a job. My 4 year old goes to school. She has been pushing for us to try a farmers market. I told her that my other partner and I can not get that volume done alone and she needs to help. I told her in the original agreement that we had, that we would all 3 be at the farmers market for the first year and she said sure. Also she has committed to working on candles 2 days a week. We all have families. It seems when we do meet her husband just seems to aggravatingly call every hour with some task for her to do when he sits on his butt all day at work and at the evening time and comes home on the weekends. I told her she will just have to stop taking the calls unless it is an ER. He calls at the most inopportune time. My partner and I told her today that she needs to have a "come to Jesus" meeting with her husband and find out where he stands about the business and if she is serious then she needs to commit. We are drawing up a partnership agreement that will clearly outline job, role, commitment both work and monetary and EXPECTATIONS!!!!!!! We think she is just fascinated with the idea of a business but does not want to put in the time required. Sorry about my "candle box" (don't make soap so really can't say soap box lol).

Becky, stick to you wax. You may need to have a "come to Jesus" meeting with her. Is she a stay at home mom? Maybe she does not understand the process and is just excited to I don't know, make a place in the world. Maybe you could use this as an education opportunity for her. Take her to the local small business association in your area. They have free council sessions. This will open her eyes. We will be taking our "Stay at home mom" to our next meeting. Maybe keep a journal in case anything "goes wrong." Has she always been this way? People usually do not change there ways.

I guess, what I am trying to say, have a long "think and drink" or a "coke & a smoke" with yourself and decide where you stand and if you can separate business from friendship , it is not personal, it is business; what are you willing to do and not; gain and loose; will this person "leave you holding the bag when the going gets rough and where do you see the relationship in a few years. All you can do is try. As my grandmother would say," you never know until you try." I would be hurt too and it sounds like you are. It seems she took something that you valued enough to share with her and tried to get her own piece of the pie. It is a great feeling to start something on your own and a greater feeling to share it. These is the good in the bad. A partnership is like a marriage.

Good luck with what ever you choose. Only you can decided. Mull it over with a Margurita. Just know lots of people are here for you if you need us.

Tilly

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I am in a joint partnership at my instigation. You sound like you want to go solo and that is fine deep down. I had a business that was growing too quickly and I just did not trust anyone else with it. Our arrangement is NOT for everyone. I have to bite my tongue and sometimes I end up screaming to get some things to sink into her thick skull. LOL! But she is the best in my opinion and we would not be where we are today without her. And truth be told, sometimes it is she who is trying to get something into my thick skull. :D As far as your friend goes... on the plus side, she did beg you to go into business together. She did not go and start something on her own and ditch you. Most partnerships do not work out, but when they do, they are truly something special. I think that you have to realistically see what she can do for the business. Can you do it all? Or would you really grow together and be successful together? Can you keep your mouth shut and not whine about petty things? Can she do the same? You must answer these questions honestly first.

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Thank you all for your great advice. Yes, my gut is telling me not too, for more reasons than monetary issues. I started this hobby (and hopefully a business some day) so I could do something creatively MYSELF from the ground up. It sounds selfish, but I want something that is all MINE (being a mother of 3 might have something to do with that :wink2: ) and that I have created and hopefully made successful, KWIM?

Thanks again for the great advice!

It doesn't sound selfish at all. If your gut feeling is telling you 'no' then there is probably a good reason for it. Sometimes you want to have something that is all your own and special to yourself. Even if you never make it into a business it's something YOU can do. The reason I got into candlemaking is because I wanted to be able to do something creative with my hands...something just for me!:wink2:

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I am one of 6 partners running a craft store. We have had major disasters over the years, always because at least one of the other partners didn't do his/her share of the work. At present things are working very well, touch wood.

We all do our own thing, which runs from woodworking, knitting, quilting etc, and we are partners merely in that we share expenses of the shop, and we share the running of the shop. We are all in charge of buying our own supplies, and making our own stuff.

If you each did different stuff, a partnership might work, if you were each in charge of your own supplies, and having a second person on hand would be great for doing shows and stuff like that. But I agree with most of the others, if your gut is telling you no, don't get involved. Partners that have left us in the past had been friends, but are no longer, and it is not worth a friendship.

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Doris, my partner and I split everything 50/50. BUT we each do our own thing. It works well for us. The only thing that we do together are the "books". We get together at the end of the month, we eat some yummy desserts, and we go over everything together. It works for us.

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Hi Doris;

I wouldn't partner with her. Like it was mentioned....could wreck a good friendship, your work habits and time may not be the same, etc. I just wouldn't do it.

My girl friend and I tried to work together at the beginning. We had the idea to share costs and sales. But after about a month, I couldn't work with her any longer.

She was too messy for me. I like to clean up as I go. Something that should of only took an hour to finish, took three hours. I can't spend my time like that.

Now, she has her own business name, and I have mine. She makes and sells bath products. I make and sell candles.

We do craft shows and home shows together. We brainstorm together also.

I also give her 25% of the retail on my candles when she gets an order for me. We have this in writing and signed by both of us.

Anyway...good luck in your decision.

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