Episode Twenty Four: Yard & Parish

Episode Twenty Four: Yard & Parish

Welcome back to It Runs In The Family, returning in 2022 with a series first: a dynamic duo of cousins behind discovery platform Yard & Parish!

While Co-Founders Samantha Newell & Alesha Bailey may be cousins, their bond is so close that their complementary skills are akin to what we’ve seen from siblings.

Samantha & Alesha join us on episode 24 for a dive into their endearing sense of community for the independent, black-owned businesses they share with their users, how they’ve gained so much organic traction, and finding the right sources of finance to achieve their ambitious, culturally poignant dreams.

This episode covers:

  • The confluence of complementary skill sets between Samantha & Alesha
  • Growing a sense of community with customers and vendors alike
  • Finding the right investment that aligns with business values
  • Building a brand upon a sibling-like relationship between cousins

Episode Highlights

“Being creative together was something that we’ve always done. We wanted to start a band or a dance group, cute little things like that. Then we started creating, learning how to design fashion. We started blogging together, even selling graphic t-shirts. I think we always had a very creative and entrepreneurial link, that kind of kept us really strong.” – 3:45 – Samantha Newell

“I think that our space is very specific in that it’s a curated space. It’s not everything that’s out there on the market. It’s the things that we really believe in, and really love ourselves, and things that really tell our story and share that story with similar people – our real family and community.” – 10:20 – Alesha Bailey

“I think that because we are quite different in our skills, we’re able to really spread ourselves around in terms of the different departments of our business, which is really, really helpful. So we’re very well rounded as a team, I would say.” – 16:20 – Alesha Bailey

“Alesha, who’s been working from Toronto, actually came to London for the pop-up. It was overwhelming because, for the past couple of years, we’ve all been so isolated. That sense of community has really become quite a digital thing, and to be able to really connect with people in person just made everything a little bit more real. It was nice to feel like Yard & Parish is a real, physical entity.” – 21:05 – Samantha Newell & Alesha Bailey

“We just tapped into a demographic that understood us, and relied quite a lot on word of mouth, and people just sharing their discoveries. That was a major part of our growth in the last few years, and it’s still one of the best forms of marketing, because it creates stronger brand awareness than any picture or copy can really generate for you.” – 26:40 – Alesha Bailey

“It isn’t easy to navigate the funding space. But if I was to pinpoint one of the biggest challenges, it would be around trying to see who the right people to get into business with are, and to be confident enough to know that we deserve it, and that we can do something amazing.” – 36:25 – Samantha Newell 

“I would love for Yard & Parish to be remembered as a space in which the black shopping experience was elevated, and set the tone for other consumer experiences to rise to the occasion. It’s always been function over form – when a black person goes shopping for hair products, it’s a very practical experience, and not not a fun one. Being able to really elevate that experience for people is one of our main missions.” – 46:55 – Alesha Bailey

“Put family first; As much as business is business, family is forever. So being respectful and considerate of your family partner is a really big aspect of ensuring that the business continues and moves forward and grows.” – 53:00 – Samantha Newell 


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Episode Twenty Three: Moo & Yoo

Episode Twenty Three: Moo & Yoo

Moo & Yoo’s journey stems from a frustration around a lack of sustainable hair care in the industry. Since then, they’ve led the charge towards green beauty, having been featured in salons across the UK, online marketplaces, and only a few weeks ago an exciting, high profile department store…

Their founders, Suzie & Olivia Gillespie, are a mother-daughter duo who have found the perfect balance between their complementary skill sets. They join us on this week’s It Runs In The Family, where we discuss the almost-cataclysmic challenges they faced so early in their journey, the tricky art of keeping work talk away from home life, and their ambitions to head up a more sustainable approach to body care.


This episode covers:

  • Overcoming monumental hurdles in the first months of the business
  • Managing the difficulty of separating home and work life
  • Pairing complementary skills & sharing decision-making
  • How the beauty industry is heading towards more sustainable practices
  • Setting up branding ready for future product ranges

Episode Highlights

“Olivia and I have skills that complement each other. I do drive her a little bit crazy, because I am full of ideas and enthusiasm. I’ve got loads of passion for things, but sometimes the follow through isn’t quite so solid. I have great people skills with a lot of passion, but not always the organisational skills to go beside it, and I think Olivia definitely has that side of it.” – 3:45 – Suzie Gillespie

“Once we were on Plastic Freedom – all the other ethical marketplaces and ethical websites obviously watch what they’re doing – suddenly, we were being inundated with requests. Combine that with people wanting to keep shopping locally, and it turned a disaster into an amazing opportunity.” – 7:05 – Suzie Gillespie 

“We got an email from someone on the Harrods team saying they love the look of our brands & products, would we be able to send them some samples. They were really interested in stocking us in the store. We did a bit of a double take to make sure it was real, and then once we realised it was genuinely from the Harrods team, we obviously sent our products off and they loved them!” – 9:20 – Olivia Gillespie

“We do try very hard as a family, especially when we’re with my son as well, not to talk shop because he’s not got as much interest. When we’re with him and we’re all together, we don’t, but for Olivia and I together, it is a bit of a struggle not veering into that..” – 21:00 – Suzie Gillespie 

“It’s important to surround yourself with people that you can go to and will give you honest advice, and not try and fluff it up for you. You need to surround yourself with someone who’s a bit more realistic.” – 30:50 – Olivia Gillespie

“It’s a bit naive to think there’s nobody out there who can bring this farther than me, there’s nobody that can have more speciality. So you’ve got to surround yourself with people with different skill sets that complement each other. That’s how we’ve managed to grow it so far. ” – 36:45 – Olivia Gillespie

“I know it sounds really corny, but when the lab we used went into liquidation in our first few months, it was a really big learning curve for us and a really important lesson for us to learn. Actually it also cemented the relationship that we have with our chemist, which we hopefully will continue.” – 40:30 – Suzie Gillespie 

“It’s important to have separation and not bring work home. If we’ve had a disagreement with work, we’re not seeing eye to eye or something’s not going as planned, you do need that separation where you can come back and spend time with your family, and not think that it’s going to get brought up again, or that it’s going to revert back to a disagreement.” – 53:35 – Olivia Gillespie


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Episode Eighteen: Squirrel Sisters

Episode Eighteen: Squirrel Sisters

Often the most authentic businesses come from solving problems that you have to face already. Such is the caring foundation from which the siblings behind Squirrel Sisters, Gracie and Sophie Tyrrell, grew their award-winning, no added sugar snack brand.

Gracie’s love of baking sugar-free alternatives to Sophie’s favourite snacks birthed a business 6 years strong, with products you’ll find in Waitrose and Holland & Barrett.

The road’s not been easy though – listen to this week’s episode of It Runs In The Family to hear the blood-boiling hurdles they’ve overcome, from running a lean operation and punching with the big brands, to boldly walking away from insolent investors.

This episode covers:
● Converting a hobby into an exciting, growing business
● Transitioning from seeing each other as siblings to Co-Founders too
● The shocking gender issues they’ve overcome just to break into the market
● Drawing & blurring the line between work and home life

Episode Highlights

“What we discovered after a lot of trial and error is that sugar was making me ill; I would have the tiniest bit of sugar in Ketchup or something, and it set me back so much, I would get really exhausted with a lot of inflammation and felt horrendous. So Gracie made it her mission to get me better.” – 2:40 – Sophie Tyrrell

“We’ve always really enjoyed baking, but it hasn’t been on the healthy side until Sophie discovered this heart condition. We didn’t really realise the detrimental effect that sugar can actually have on your body with things like inflammation, until Sophie started to get these reactions. So it was at that point that I started researching sugar and the different ingredients in products, particularly health products.” – 4:35 – Gracie Tyrrell

“We really set up the blog for ourselves to post what we find interesting and create recipes, then we gained an engaged following quite quickly. I think people connected to the fact that we were honest, we weren’t preaching unrealistic lifestyles. Also we have a genuine authentic story as well, so people really connected to that – it was at that point we started to see an opportunity to make the Squirrel Sisters blog into something bigger.” – 8:30 – Gracie Tyrrell

“When someone in your family has a scare, you realise that very little in life is actually that important. At the end of the day, we love what we’re doing and we’re very passionate about the business, but it’s not going to end the world if we don’tsell a snack bar today.” – 15:45 – Gracie Tyrrell

“One of the investors ‘joked’ and basically said ‘Can we put into the contract that if Sophie goes off the rails as a mother, I’ll get my money back?’. Essentially what he meant by that is mocking postnatal depression and the chance that could happen, that she would just basically get obsessed with her children and she wouldn’t want to continue with the business. So we pulled out of that the next day.” – 21:50 – Gracie Tyrrell

“For a small business, it really is about persistence. We’ve had a challenge with budgets, and we haven’t had the investment that a lot of bigger retailers do expect. We’re really proud of how many retailers we have got into as a team of just two without having investment, because it is really difficult. ” – 29:10 – Gracie Tyrrell

“If one of us really strongly believes in something then we’ll look into it. It might be that we can’t make something without sugar, or it’s too expensive if we want to sell it at a certain price point. There haven’t been any conflicts, and I think we wouldn’t ever want there to be.” – 34:55 – Sophie Tyrrell

“When we do launch into retailers, when we see our products on the shelf, that’s really exciting. It doesn’t actually get old, going into a shop and seeing your own product.” – 45:55 – Gracie Tyrrell

“Nothing is really more important than your relationship, and actually the situation that happened most recently really made that so clear. Obviously, there’s gonna be really difficult times, real highs and lows, and you will definitely
have moments where you feel stressed with each other as well. But at the end of the day for me, nothing is more important than that.” – 51:25 – Gracie Tyrrel

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Episode Seventeen: Waterside Holiday Group

Episode Seventeen: Waterside Holiday Group

Key to any team around a family business is a shared appreciation for the values that are inherent to those raised within the bloodline, which makes the rigorous process of hiring a CEO for a family-run brand exponentially more important.

Thankfully, Olivia and Miranda Jacobs – Directors of Waterside Holiday Group, working alongside their sister Claire and mother Judith – have been well-attuned to the values held so dear by their late father. The sense of connection and care from both staff and visitors to the park has been so vital to the warm, welcoming atmosphere at each of their parks.

Joining us on this week’s episode of It Runs In The Family, the duo discuss how they’ve nurtured this long-lasting culture, the steep learning curve that they overcame with the sudden involvement with the business, and the strong sense of pride that’s driven them every step of the way.

This episode covers:
● Finding top staff that exude your family values
● The history and progression of Waterside’s parks from their humble beginnings
● Handling sudden responsibility & a steep learning curve
● The sense of parental pride that drives so many family businesses, even when they’re no longer with us
● Carefully creating a noble legacy to hand down

Episode Highlights

“Our dad died very suddenly, which was a great shock to the family, and we weren’t in any way ready. He was about to start inducting us into the business, we’d had one big meeting, then he got ill. We were thrust into it quite suddenly, and we were mourning too. I’m not sure I had something to prove to anyone other than my dad, really. I was going ‘Yes dad, I’m going to make you proud’, and that still pushes me today.” – 5:40 – Miranda Jacobs

“We are putting our own stamp on it, but with a view to the generations. It’s so important to us that those values – and I think it comes down to values – carry on through, and we are heavily inducting our children into those values. They are smothered in it!” – 9:10 – Miranda Jacobs

“Our first big appointment was our new CEO, who came from many, many years in leisure. He is terrific. What we really liked about him in the interview and what shone -apart from his brilliant abilities and knowledge of the holiday home industry, which we needed as we knew very little – his values are very similar to ours.” – 16:30 – Miranda Jacobs

“We have some gut instincts, I like to think, and in the end the decisions have to feel right. But we are backed up now by a huge amount of data. Data is a hugely, hugely important part of what we do, and helps us make the decisions about growth.” – 20:50 – Miranda Jacobs

“Some of our owners have been on-park for 40+ years, and they talk about when they came with their parents, and then now they’re bringing their children and it’ll even be their grandchildren soon. It’s an amazing feeling to hear that warmth of connection, and long may it continue.” – 25:40 – Olivia Jacobs

“We have become television addicts, screen addicts, and it’s so nice to see kids playing in the playground, and three generations of the family all uniting together, doing things together and being active together.” – 41:15 – Olivia Jacobs

“The first thing we said was that if we find that this is getting in the way of our relationship with each other, then we will sell it, because the business is not as
important as our relationship. That’s underneath everything we do.” – 49:10 – Miranda Jacobs

“Something we learned from that study of our characters is that I am not big on regrets. If I’ve made a mistake, I’m quite good at moving on. I think it’s usually a
positive thing.” – 1:01:26 – Miranda Jacobs

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Episode Sixteen : Finnmark Sauna

Episode Sixteen : Finnmark Sauna

The sibling dynamic is one laden with turbulence, care, and connection in equal measure. Developing the level of emotional intelligence and maturity to translate this family partnership into a business one requires remarkable growth and evolution – the ‘Sauna Twins’ behind Finnmark Sauna are a perfect exhibition of exactly that.

Finnmark Sauna’s Max & Jake Newport are the Director of Design & MD behind the venture honouring Finnish sauna culture through their passionate love of the practice. The pair join us this week to discuss the values that drive the industry-leading team, their appreciation for holistic wellbeing, and how the twins connect to their business’ mission & successes.

This episode covers:

  • Adjusting from a standard sibling relationship to forming a business partnership
  • How Finnish culture inspires Jake & Max’s drive to deliver the experiences that they themselves enjoy
  • The down-to-earth involvement that sees the twins muck in anywhere within the business
  • Encountering the difficult challenges that come with rapidly outgrowing their initial processes

Episode Highlights

“A lot of siblings are very similar and so there’s a clash of similar personalities, whereas Max and I are two very, very different people. We have two very different sets of skills, which lend ourselves to operating two quite distinct arms of the business.” – 5:10 – Jake Newport

“We both ended up trying a real sauna and just thinking this is so different from everything that we have here in the UK, so much more enjoyable, so much more relaxing.” – 13:10 – Jake Newport

“If something happens, if there’s a problem on our site, then the first thing Max will do is ask, ‘Do I need to go and get hands on with the guys on site?’” – 21:20 – Jake Newport

“When I’m winning, my brother is winning too. It’s a really fulfilling feeling to know that every time I progress, or Jake progresses, we progress as a pair of people, as a family, and you could extrapolate that metaphor for the whole Finnmark team.” – 29:00 – Max Newport

“There are a few times when you’re growing very quickly and you’ve spent some time building a process, and by the time you implement the process, you’ve grown so fast that it’s redundant. That’s just the most exhausting thing.” – 42:47 – Jake Newport

“If you look at where you’re going, break it down into steps, work through the checklist, you will get there. If you just stand still and you feel sorry for yourself, then you’re still going to be feeling sorry for yourself tomorrow and the next day.” – 46:35 – Jake Newport

“I’m a firm believer that you always pay for education; you either pay a university or a college, or you pay for it in the mistakes that you make, and you learn from them.” – 56:25 – Jake Newport


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