The Mother-Daughter Founders Who Inspire Us

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to build a business as a mother and daughter team? To celebrate Mother’s Day and our mother and daughter founders, Jenefer and Melissa, we interviewed nine inspiring mother-daughter duos to hear about their experience working, learning and growing together.

Amelia Kirchoff and Jola Sonkin, Founders of GoMacro


Jola: “I’ve learned that it’s okay to have different opinions or viewpoints on certain aspects of business. In fact, it can be one of our greatest strengths as Co-Founders because we learn
from one another and bring a perspective that the other may not have considered.”

Amelia: “Jolie has taught me to be present and make the most of each day.”

Jola: “The best part of working together is getting to talk to my mom every day!”

Amelia: “I love sharing this journey with my daughter. My initial intent was just to make healthier treats for our family, and it’s incredible that now we’ve built this greater legacy together as a family.”

Jola: “We always want to make sure our relationship isn’t solely built around our
business. We make it a priority to nurture other dynamics of our relationship and
create a healthy balance.”

Amelia: “It can take time to find the right balance and flow as business partners
and family. At the end of the day, I’m still her mom, and she’s still my daughter
first and foremost.”

Jola: “It’s all about give and take. In the early years, when my children were much
younger, my mom was very involved in keeping the business running because I
had my hands full. Now that she’s older, I’ve stepped up to run the business as
CEO so she can start enjoying her retirement.”

Amelia: “Look for the positives and opportunities in every challenge, and don’t be
scared to take a leap. It’s been such a rewarding journey.”

Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka, Founders of House of Aama

Rebecca: “Working as mother and daughter in our fashion business has taught us that embracing intentionality, preserving legacy, and celebrating shared interests while honoring our differences not only fuels creativity but also strengthens our connection as a family and as co-creators of a brand with a profound purpose.”

House of Aama

Akua: “As mother and daughter, navigating the intricate landscape of our fashion brand has been a deeply enriching journey, where every challenge, triumph, and discovery is not just a professional milestone, but a testament to the invaluable bond we share, guiding us to grow together, learn more about ourselves, and cherish every moment of our growth journey side by side.”

Rebecca: “To fellow founders considering embarking on the journey of working with their mom or daughter, I offer this heartfelt advice: Embrace open communication, patience, and empathy as the cornerstones of your partnership. Celebrate each other’s strengths, respect each other’s perspectives, and cultivate a balance between professionalism and familial warmth. Remember that challenges will arise, but it’s how you navigate them together that strengthens your bond and propels your business forward. Cherish the opportunity to create lasting memories and a legacy that transcends the professional realm.”

Lexi and Lisa and Lexi Odenweller, Founders of Kroma


Lisa: “My daughter has taught me the importance of communicating your truth and then letting it go and not holding grudges–especially when you layer in the complexity of working in a mother and daughter dynamic combined with the stress of running a company. When we do disagree or have an argument, we are almost always laughing again within minutes.”

Lexi: “My favorite part of working with my mom is the amount of laughter and fun we have. It’s the best part of my days! The only challenge is when one of us is PMSing and especially during an intense work day, we can definitely easily trigger each other!”

Lisa: “For me my favorite part is how much we laugh and crack each other up, which is so critical when things can get really intense with work. And also how proud I am of her and how much joy I get from watching her grow and mature. I would also say one of the challenges is that I like to work out conflicts in real time and Lexi tends to shut down and not want to communicate (especially if she is PMS-ing!)”

Lexi: “My advice for other mother and daughter teams is to keep it light hearted as much as possible and don’t take things personally! I wake up every day grateful that I get to do this with my mom.”

Lisa: “Good communication is critical, especially because it’s near impossible to separate work from personal, as it all gets intertwined. Being able to openly talk out issues, miscommunications or triggers (because they will happen) without taking it personally is really important, which is easier said than done sometimes because you have so much other history in a parent and child dynamic. But it’s absolutely necessary if you’re going to work together.”

Maya and Naoko Dalla Valle, Founders of Dalla Valle

Dalla Valle

Maya: “What I’ve learned from my mom is how to create a vision and see it through. I have always been inspired by my mom’s commitment and endurance, and how she has never strayed from her vision of making fine wines. My mom modeled for me a respect for the land. I’m honored to continue that philosophy and push us forward with a commitment to biodynamic farming–it feels really important to farm with future generations in mind, and to continue that legacy. By implementing farming practices in tune with nature, we’re able to create wines of the highest quality with a sense of place. Just like OSEA focuses on sustainability and the benefits of connecting to nature, our mission is to highlight the purity of what we craft while learning from nature and respecting the land we farm.”

Naoko: “Even after so many years in the business, there is still so much to learn. I started farming organically in 2007, and now I’m so glad that Maya has continued the push towards a biodynamic farming approach. We have a shared passion for sustainability and her extensive knowledge and connection to both the academic and wine communities has taken our winemaking and winegrowing to the next level in that respect.”

Maya: “My favorite part of working with my mom is not only being able to see her on an almost daily basis, but working together with a shared passion and goal of pushing our brand forward and continuing to pursue excellence, creating high quality, terroir-driven wines through responsible farming.”

Naoko: “There are many parts of working with my daughter that I love, but for me, it’s getting to spend time together doing what we love, whether that be tasting wine together, blending, walking the vineyard or experiencing a beautiful harvest season side by side. More than anything, the best thing about working together is our shared love and respect for the great property we have.”

Maya: “I would say that the only challenge is separating our personal life from the professional life; it has been a learning curve. We’re both so passionate about our work that it is so easy to carry that over into personal time.”

Maya: “From the perspective of a daughter, the best advice I can give to other mother and daughter founders is to be patient and open minded, and to spend time listening and learning from your mom! There is a reason why our business has been successful, and it is because of the vision my mom created and stuck to, and for that I owe her so much gratitude. My mom has made many difficult sacrifices throughout the history of our estate to build a legacy that is fulfilling and rewarding for both of us. I have such a wonderful role model in her.”

Naoko: “My advice is to be passionate about what you do! With passion, you can achieve anything.”

Ana and Marcela Hernandez, Founders of Grove 45

Grove 45

Marcela: “If I had to encapsulate our mother-daughter journey at Grove 45 in just one word, it would be respect. There is a new relationship that forms when you work with your family to build a company from the ground up. Growing pains are inevitable when shifting your dynamic from a mother-daughter duo to co-owners of an enterprise, but we have cherished every one of them. To witness my mother gracefully navigate every business hurdle that comes our way is nothing short of awe-inspiring. It’s a transformation that has deepened my respect for her in ways I never thought possible, and I know she reciprocates the sentiment. She has always said that watching her daughter take on the mantle of equal business partner is a source of immense pride for her. It’s a mutual admiration of the unique strengths we each bring to the table.”

Marcela: “One valuable lesson we’ve gained from collaborating together is the art of recognizing, celebrating, and nurturing each other’s strengths. My mother Ana is an incredible baker with a keen eye for detail. She creates the desserts we serve in our Napa tasting room, and is always decorating the space for every season. Her efforts infuse the tasting room with warmth and charm, ensuring every customer feels like part of our family. While my mother’s creativity flows from her being very right-brained, I lean more left; my strengths are in analytics and business development, in bringing big ideas to life. Together, we’ve discovered the power of complementing each other’s abilities, and know when to support and when to step back to let the other shine.”

Marcela: “Without a doubt, our favorite part of working with each other is the time we spend together. Growing up, there wasn’t a day that I didn’t spend with my mom–from school drop-offs to soccer games, we were an inseparable duo. But I knew as I grew up, there would come the inevitable side effect of growing distant from my family. I figured I’d go to college in one state, get a job in a different city, and the slow drift would begin.”

Marcela: “That’s what has been so amazing about creating Grove 45 together; we see each other everyday. We have gotten to foster a completely new side to our relationship as co-owners, where we recognize each other as equals with strengths and skills crucial to developing the business. The gift of spending every day together is not lost on us. In a phase of life where many mother-daughter pairs find themselves drifting apart, we’re growing closer. It’s a sentimental next step from school drop-offs to morning strategy meetings.”

Ana: “Without a doubt, our biggest struggle is being mistaken for sisters everyday! It’s a daily dose of humor in our lives here at Grove 45. If I had a penny for every time someone pointed out how youthful my mom looks, well, let’s just say I could probably buy another olive grove. Skincare and high-quality olive oil, folks—it’s the secret for defying the aging process!”

Marcela: “If I’m honest, our greatest challenge is the clash of passionate minds. My mom and I share an unwavering commitment to Grove 45, so strong opinions constantly make grand entrances. My stubborn streak? Well, I inherited that trait fair and square from my mother. It’s a delicate dance of balancing those opinions and navigating through the occasional clash of wills, but we’ve made it work. Sure, there are moments when our team jokingly claims we have a switch that turns us from co-owners to bickering family in an instant, but we always know when to wear our business hats. In the end, our shared love for Grove 45 transcends the occasional heated discussion, and we know that it is our strong personalities and passion that drive the business forward every day.”

Ana: “If you’ve ever considered collaborating with your mom or daughter, my advice is a resounding ‘go for it!’. In a world that often pulls us in various directions as we grow up, the opportunity to see my mother every day is a gift I truly cherish. Our roles as co-owners of Grove 45 add a new layer to our bond, one that constantly surprises and delights us. Sure, we still have our moments of disagreement, those classic mother-daughter squabbles, but beneath them lies an undercurrent of unconditional love and support that comes from collaborating with family on something we’re both passionate about.”

Marcela: “For those considering a similar path, my advice is to embrace the moments of chafing just as much as moments of joy. Your shared victories will taste sweeter, and the inevitable setbacks will become stepping stones you navigate together. I am so grateful to be running Grove 45 with my mother, and hope that collaborations such as this one encourage more people to begin mother-daughter enterprises in the future.”

Val and Breezy Griffith, Founders of SkinnyDipped

Skinny Dipped

Val: “Breezy has taught me how to make decisions that result in forward motion. She considers the available information, solicits opinions from a qualified few, makes the best decision she knows how to make at that moment, and moves on.”

Breezy: My mom has taught me that tenacity and speed is only one piece of the puzzle. My mom has taught me the importance of thoughtfulness and mindfulness in business. From growing a team to developing new products, and so on. It’s a big part of what sets us apart from our competition.”

Val: “My favorite part of working with Breezy is feeling the magic of our energy working both in harmony with one another, and in opposition to one another. Healthy tension is our superpower.”

Breezy: “My mom is the biggest inspiration in my life, so I feel deeply grateful that I not only get to have my mom as my mom but that I get to work with her as my business partner. We get to share the toughest moments and the very best moments together, and this is a special bond.”

Breezy: “The biggest challenge is trying to ‘turn off’ work, and not let it creep into our off-duty, regular lives. It can be a challenge to protect our mom-daughter relationship outside of our business partnership, but we work hard at it. We made a commitment to each other to do so, from day one: business won’t ultimately impact us as mother and daughter, first and foremost.”

Val: “My advice for other mother and daughter teams is to bring respect and love to the table. Check your ego at the door. And before you hit go, look one another in the eyes and swear that no business is ever worth compromising her health or yours—mental or physical—then stick to your promise.”

Breezy: “Working with any partner in business requires excellent communication and tough conversations, but that becomes even more important when you partner with your family. Prioritize the hard conversations and hash it out, leave room for roles to evolve and make sure you are committed to having mutual respect for each other–and the value you each bring to the business.”

Laura and Sabrina Labelle, Founders of Labelle Foundation

Sabrina: “One thing I have learned from working with my mom is resilience. Mothers often exhibit remarkable resilience in both their personal and professional lives, facing challenges head-on and persevering through difficult situations. Observing my mom navigate through various obstacles in the business has taught me the importance of resilience, adaptability, and determination in achieving success.”

Laura: My daughter has taught me patience and persistence. Mixing two mindsets from different generations can be a huge advantage. We approach everything with an open heart and mind. Every win is an opportunity to share new insights, every challenge is an opportunity to learn and be better. We have only grown closer due to our mutual respect and work ethics.”


Sabrina: “My favorite part of working with my mom is bonding. Working together allows me to spend quality time with my mom on a daily basis, strengthening our relationship and creating shared memories beyond just the familial connection. It provides opportunities for mutual support, understanding, and collaboration, fostering a deeper bond between me and my mom that extends beyond the workplace.”

Laura: I adore and admire my daughter and working with her has afforded me the opportunity to see front and center as she navigates all the challenges of being a strong young woman entrepreneur, mother, stepmother, and wife with such grace and skills. It’s truly a magical experience.”

Sabrina: “The only challenge is turning ‘work’ talk off when we just want to hangout and be silly together. In other words, compartmentalizing.”

Sabrina: “My advice for other mother and daughter founders is to make sure you have a stable foundation and no matter how the work day goes, always come together and remember why you started this at the end of the day.”

Laura: “All relationships are so different and all humans are so unique. I would say be sure you are comfortable and solid in your relationship before adding any stress that could be work-related. If working together is not a fit, ditch the idea, family is always first priority.”

Melinda Kearney and Michèle Ouellet, Founders of Lorenza Wine

Bites and Bashes

“Working together for over 15 years, I’ve learned that we make a really good team! We have been able to tackle many obstacles and I’m so proud of what we have been able to achieve. And I’ve learned that as with any relationship, boundaries are very important!”

Michèle: My favorite part of working with my mom is the fun we have. And knowing that we are a united front and can face any challenges together.”

Melinda: “The only challenge is creating mother-daughter time where work talk doesn’t creep in!”

Michèle: “My advice for other mother and daughter founders is to always believe in each other. Respect the unique point of view and qualities that each person brings to the company. Bring in team members outside of the family with valuable and needed skill sets.”

Crystal and Julie Coser, Founders of Bites and Bashes

Julie: “Things can be personal and emotional, but not just in business. Having roles and responsibilities clearly defined and respected is key.”

Crystal: “The one word I’d use to describe what it’s like to work together is unconditional (love, trust, reliability, support)”

Julie: “My mom has taught me that success is so much sweeter when you share it with the ones you love. Our collaboration and synergy is so strong. When we write new menus, we can finish each other’s thoughts!”

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