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Shelly Grossman, Co-Owner Of Shelly Belly Maternity, Reveals That Going At It Alone Is Not Always The Best Option For Emerging Entrepreneurs

What are the benefits in splitting a business 50/50?

The best part of splitting a business is that co-owners are equally invested so there is no resentment. If you have a great partner, it just helps to make your business stronger. Simply sharing the work week with your partner allows each to gain treasured time with the family.

What are some of the qualities women should look for in a potential business partner?

Find someone who has the same work ethic and whose background complements yours. It’s not about doing business with your best friend.

How often do you and your partner speak?

My partner and I speak daily.

Do you merchandise the stores together?

In our case, we defined different roles. Laurie, my partner, bought kid’s apparel and I bought strictly maternity. There were never two opinions on that topic. We merchandised the store together and never argued about anything.

What does it take to sustain a great partnership?

You must have open communication and define one another’s strengths.

What similarities in your work ethics do you and your partner share?

We both came from the same background, starting our careers at Bloomingdale's. As such, working long and hard hours was never a problem for us. In the end, we both want Shelly Belly Maternity to one day be a national chain.

How do you clearly define one another's roles?

My partner Laurie takes on more of a sales person role while I am more of a business/numbers person. Laurie is amazing with customers and I get the books in order. We both do the buying and again, we define that by buying different categories (maternity and kids).

Any additional advice?

Having a partner is ideal because owning a business on your own feels isolating at times. It’s nice to bounce ideas around and strategize with someone. I will say that finding the right partner is challenging but for Laurie and myself, it has worked out beautifully.

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