“Right from the very beginning, we worked well together solving complex problems,” Casiello said, and that’s proved invaluable over the past 18 years as the couple built a relationship, then a marriage, and later a thriving dry cleaning business in western Maryland. The Casiellos now own four ZIPS Dry Cleaners locations in Prince Georges County, and Theresa has said she hopes to eventually take their business nationwide.
So how have they managed to balance marriage and business in a single relationship?
The secret, they say, is playing to their respective strengths at home and at work.
“We are very different individuals with our own unique set of skills,” Theresa said. “We are equal partners, but from the beginning, we had a clear delineation of duties and management of employees within our departments. Still, we understood we needed to work together as a team.”
Gallery: Meet eight of the husband-wife business teams
The couple tries to eat lunch together every day and strives to maintain a lively workplace, which they say keeps both them and their employees in a positive mood. Of course, that doesn’t mean they haven’t bickered along the way — but they found a solution for that, too.
“Did we fight? Sure, but that’s what your second car is for,” Theresa said, noting that she and Bart used to drive to work separately whenever they needed to blow off some steam. “Everyone in the store knew when we were arguing, but we tried not to let any issues related to home interfere with work.”
The Casiellos are one of many married couples across the country who double as entrepreneurial teams. On Small Business reached out to some of them for insights into the unique challenges and benefits of running a business with a spouse, and we asked them to share their secrets to success both in marriage and in business. Here’s what they had to say.
Amy and Mike Nichols
, owners of Dogtopia in Tysons Corner, Va.
Married since: 2001
Co-business owners since: 2006
The secret to making it work: “Spouses who run companies together must understand and accept that there is no such thing as a ‘work/life balance ‘ — it’s all just ‘life’ when you own a company. We made a choice to be entrepreneurs and business owners and with that comes tremendous freedoms but also a higher commitment to do whatever it takes. Because we both understand that concept, we are both more understanding when it comes to the other having to work late or on the weekends. We do our best to limit business conversations in the evenings at home because that is family time, and it’s about our kids, not Dogtopia. Once the kids are in bed, we are often back on our laptops, but that is by choice because we are passionate about our company.