SUCCE SSE S Family businesses aren’t always passed down from parents. There’s a sizeable crop of siblings who are harmonising their strengths rather than competing with one another for pole position. We meet some of the key players. WORDS THOMAS BREATHNACH PHOTOGRAPHS JOHNNY SAVAGE
ost siblings are happy to keep their rivalry to the Monopoly board and wouldn’t ever think of letting it play out in the boardroom, to drive each other on. But as a new age of entrepreneurialism trends through Ireland, it brings with it a wave of brother and sister collaborations. These teams, however, aren’t the heirs apparent to a family business but rather siblings joining forces to career into an unchartered dream. Often pioneers in their field, likely family traits they share a taste for disruption, a hint of moxie and a dyed-inthe-wool grá for each other and what they do. There’s strong appeal to a sibling pact: familial trust, sibling synergy and the intuitive shorthand between brothers and
sisters that can make businesses a success. But family ties still need to yield to the principles of any harmonious partnership: recognising strengths and weakness, celebrating differences and defining roles. And, quite critically – simply knowing when to stop talking shop. Today in Ireland, sibling duos are emerging in businesses ranging from dental, such as Lisa and Vanessa Creaven of Spotlight Whitening, to digital, with the Collison brothers, Patrick and John, behind the billion-dollar Stripe, to the spreading epicurean empire of The Happy Pear twins, Steve and Dave Flynn. Indeed, all across the island sisters – and brothers – are doing it for themselves.