Mother-daughter dynamics can be complex enough on their own to navigate - and throwing co-founders into the mix? That’s adding a whole new level to the relationship. But Val and Breezy, the mother-daughter creators of Skinny Dipped Almonds make starting a family business look deliciously appealing. We got to chat with the two of them about their heart behind starting the company, what they have learned from each other along the way, and how they balance their relationship between work and family. Give it a read below, and head here to grab a 15% discount to try some of their incredible dipped almonds!
What inspired you to start a business specifically working together?
Breezy: In 2013 we lost someone very close to us at a young age to cancer, his name was Josh. After losing Josh we asked ourselves what really matters the most in this world. Our answer was simple, family. Josh inspired us to want to find a way to spend more time together. Food is how we bring people together so between Josh’s inspiration and our love for good food, Skinny Dipped was born.
Val: Our family lived and breathed the last months of Josh’s life side by side with his family. To witness the suffering of a 17-year-old with a terminal illness and the suffering of those who love him most is agonizing. But the way Josh chose to live his life was illuminating. He asked us questions that we could live by: Are you happy? Why not? The answer to Josh’s simple questions gave us the courage to start our business.
What makes us happy? Spending time with each other and gathering together with our family and friends at the table.
Love + food = Skinny Dipped.
What did your very first “office” together look like?
Breezy: For the first two years we worked out of my parent’s house, so naturally our office was the dining room table.
As a mother-daughter team, what individual strengths do each of you bring to your work?
We like to think that we each bring a different set of skills to the table, but the real magic is in the combination of the two.
Breezy: My mom has better instincts than anyone I have ever met. Equally as important, she just has a way with people and can connect with anyone, whether it’s a buyer or a supplier or a new hire, she’s our secret weapon. I’m more of the business side, the accelerator pedal you could say.
Val: Breezy is turbo-charged. She’s a charismatic leader. She’s a doer who relentlessly stalks answers to the questions she doesn’t have answers for then hoovers up the information and deploys to her advantage. Her brain is a crowded, chaotic, fertile, fantastic place. She is tenacious and unafraid. She never gives up. For Breezy, it’s truly a case of where there’s a will there’s a way. I’m more the creative force lurking behind the brand and the occasionally wise old counselor to this human hurricane.
Do you ever struggle with balancing work and family time within your relationship?
Breezy: This is something we are very conscious of and we work hard to make sure that we carve out business-free time to just be mom and daughter. My mom and dad are pretty awesome, so I can usually be found having a glass of wine with them on the weekend, just chatting.
What has been the most valuable thing you’ve learned from each other?
Breezy: My mom has taught me the value of patience, thoughtfulness, and mutual trust and respect. Without those things we certainly wouldn’t be where we are today.
Val: I’ve learned that a daughter is not a mini me. That if she’s allowed to fully become herself, she will shine so brilliantly it will take your breath away.
Breezy taught me that I had to trust her enough to set aside my fears and let her lead. Our business thrives because we each are unique. It’s the ultimate parental lesson — to let go of one’s secret hope that our children will grow up to be just like us.
Skinny Dipped Almonds has quickly grown to become a nationally recognized brand within two years; now rolling out into all Target stores in the US this month. What key factors do you think have played a key factor this rapid growth?
Breezy: It’s an exciting time for the brand and the team! I think it’s a combination of instincts and experience, as well as perseverance and optimism that has helped to catapult the brand.
What are your biggest hopes for both the brand and your team in the years to come?
Breezy: The most exciting and rewarding part of growing a brand is growing a team. The people we get to go on this journey with are what make this whole crazy adventure so amazing! Keep an eye out for us as we start showing up in a cupboard near you :).
Val: I try to remind our team that their health and relationships come first. A healthy, happy human is a productive human.
Building a business requires a lot of stamina, so being mindful of how and with whom you make the journey matters.
It’s like growing a family — you get all tangled up with the tribe. I can’t imagine life without our two co-founders, Lizzie and Chrissy, whom I love like my own daughters. I’m so proud that Skinny Dipped is a women-run business and I hope we can be an inspiration and mentor to other women who dream big.
Do you have any words of advice or encouragement to share with fellow entrepreneurs about how their heritage can influence their future for good?
Breezy: Our company was founded on the importance of family and friendship, so my advice would be to not underestimate the value that friends and family bring to the table!
Photos courtesy of Skinny Dipped Almonds