I still remember how I felt that day. It was a Wednesday morning when Meri called me, casually asking: "I need someone to help me, and I think you might be the person. Want to move to Bali and work with me?"
Apart from joking about it, I never gave the idea much thought. But... to live on a tropical island and look at sparkly things all day - sounds pretty magical, right? I could hardly hide my grin of excitement that day, or think of much else anymore. It took one week to bring up the courage to notify my boss I was going to move to Bali, and leave behind the shackles of my 9-5 job.
Fast forward three and a half years of working together as sisters, it's safe to say we’ve made it this far without killing each other (yet). But what's the reality of running a business with your sibling?
In 2018, I was still learning my way around jewelry and e-commerce. I won't deny it wasn’t a challenge. But there’s one thing I learned from Meri. One thing I admire her so much for: everything is figureoutable. (This quote is actually from Marie Forleo. If you don’t know her - she’s another super badass inspiring woman). And so we did.
A sister-sister relationship is special in so many ways. A bit bumpy but never boring. You know, that fine line between loving and hating one another.
The biggest plus in working together, though? The soul-felt knowledge we’re in this together.
When a challenge or ravine appears out of nowhere, one of us can totally let go, knowing the other will catch them. One throws their arms up in despair (“Someone left a negative review, we’re over!”), while the other can see things more rational and light (“Let’s turn this around and exceed expectations”).
Running Gardens of the Sun, there’s always a little chaos. We stress about sales, forget passwords, or feel discouraged our Instagram engagement is down.
But each problem is shared and as a result, miraculously halved. It feels like such a big breath of relief. Because even if it’s a silly worry, your sister will stay by your side. There’s a resilience and unconditionality in our relationship we don’t share with anyone else.
The fights we have are fast and furious. They’re also productive and brutally honest. There’s a communication dynamic that’s reserved just for the two of us. If I had those kinds of fights with anyone else, I’d have left the show.
We bring each other cookies and cold pressed juices all the time. But there’s a downside too. Sisters have a special knack for getting under your skin. How many doors have we slammed? How many times have we each called our parents to complain about the other? How often have we yelled through the bathroom doors when one of us has had to retreat?
Over the years, we’ve developed a clear understanding of who’s good at what. We’re getting better at each playing our individual strengths, and making up for each other's weaknesses. Or asking for help to cover for each other’s weaknesses.
Meri is the big picture thinker with a big vision and creative dreams to create Gardens of the Sun. She sees opportunity and possibility around every corner. She believes risks are worth taking and in going with what feels right. And if it no longer feels right? She’s quick to pivot.
Her major weakness? She’s got some serious ADD tendencies. Think zero sense of time, poor impulse control and the organisation skills of a 3 year old. She follows whatever is in her sight, and easily forgets what’s just out of sight.
Ferris is the organized systems thinker, keeping it all together and taking things from halfway-finished to all-the-way-done.
She’s the one to tell Meri to slow the * down (and stop drowning in details or add a new project to the 100 projects she’s still working on).
She may be a bit impatient, but she has what it takes to actually build her big sister’s vision.
It’s this dynamic (including the bickering, bonding and hijinks) – the story of The Big Dreamer and The Rationalist – that makes us a pretty good team.