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All In the Family Business

Who knew wreaths could be so fun year-round? Click picture to play Wreaths video courtesy of Etsy.com.

I probably couldn’t work with my mother. Don’t get me wrong, she’s one of the loves of my life. But at this point in her journey, she’s ready to do less. I’m the opposite, so I’d annoy her…lovingly so.

It’s a different story for Ernestine and Chrystal Dailey, the mother-daughter team who started WeLoveWreaths.com in 2009 via handmade marketplace Etsy.com.

I couldn’t wait to check out their hand-crafted all-occasion wreaths, since I’ve been dusting off the same tired one every December for at least a decade now.

Their year-round creations are made of fun materials like burlap, balloons and daisies. Maybe it was my need for a sugar fix, but I kept coming back to this sweet one made of red and white peppermint candy.

Even sweeter is how Ernestine, 60, and Chrystal, 32, have balanced their relationship as business partners and family. They told me it isn’t always easy, but certain things do help.

“Knowing our roles and doing what we are both good at makes it work,” says Ernestine, who is enjoying this encore career after retiring from the New York City Transit Authority.

Chrystal cites their generation gap when it comes to technology as a good example. Social media marketing isn’t Ernestine’s forte, so Chrystal handles that element of the business. Ernestine is the creative force who sees their designs through to execution.

If creating a start-up with a sister, cousin, or uncle is something you want to do, you’d be in great company. According to the Small Business Administration, 90 percent of all U.S. businesses are family-owned.

Family businesses that succeed know how to weather the emotional storms that blow in from time to time. Here are highlights adapted from tips the SBA says to consider before you set up shop with a relative.

What’s next for Ernestine and Chrystal? For now, the Brooklyn-based mother-daughter duo are content to sell online and don’t have plans for bricks and mortar. But if they did, I’d take my own mom and stop by. ###

Want to follow your passion and become your own boss? See aarp.org/startabusiness for resources and tips, and join the Reinvention Group in our online community.

Dress Your Door video courtesy of Etsy.com/JeremyWorkman.