Nearly 1.4 million British couples cooperate to run businesses together. How’s it like running a business with your real life partner?
Ally and Duarte are a couple running a street food business called Pregos, which has been nominated for two awards recently, in Freshmoor Road in Splott.
The Portuguese couple sell food from their home country, and Pregos, started in April 2016, has been nominated for 2019 Streetfood Restaurant of the Year in the Restaurant Awards, Welsh Edition, and Streetfood of the Year and Best of South Wales at The 1st Welsh Takeaway Awards.
Ally, 39 who used to work in the local authorities and had part-time jobs in several restaurants, met her husband Duarte, 32, who has worked as a kitchen area manager in a large restaurant chain company, for 15 years. When they got married, settled down, and had kids, they decided to do something for themselves.
“It’s fun. It’s testing at times, but it is fun,” said Ally. “Because it is your own business, you are always trying to do the best that you can for it, and for both of us, that’s very much true.
“He tries to do the best as he can, day to day, he does the cooking, driving, kitchen organising side of things. I try to do the best that I can, the admin, stock, baking, social media, banking, kitchen assistant, so forth. But very much, it’s fun. It’s challenging. It can be hard work but very rewarding.”
Ally said that the idea had been around in their minds for many years.
“We knew we wanted to open something to do with food. It’s something we really both enjoyed, but we were very scared of setting up and sort of fixed business, like restaurants with large business rates and high rents. These can be very difficult if you do not have the right place.”
The couple got inspired from a burger van. They thought it would be cool to have a burger van or a trailer that dots around Cardiff for people just stopping off and picking up something nice, different and from another culture, then Pregos was born.
According to a software firm FreeAgent, some 1.4 million couples run businesses together in the UK. So what’s it like running a business with your real-life partner?
“We don’t need to worry about when to book our holidays,” said Ally. “We don’t have to cooperate our diaries, because his diary will be my diary, 90 % of the time, and we kind of know where the other one is and what we are going to do together.”
Ally also mentioned, that with the couple’s business, she was able to spend more time with the kids.
“I make time when they come home from school. I pick them up from school and I take them to the school in the morning, which is such a fantastic thing to be able to do because a lot of parents don’t have the luxury of being able to be with their children.
“In the afternoon, once we finish most of the work, a little bit before dinner, I usually sit with the girls, we make pictures, snowflakes, puzzles or whatever it is. It’s important to have that time.”
Talking about the difficult parts, Ally said that even when it was very busy and the stress level was over the roof, they had to remind themselves to separate the business from the relationship.
“When time is stressful, you can find that you are snapping at each other or saying something that you wouldn’t say normally, but you have to remember that it is because of the pressure, not because of your relationship as a couple.
“Most of the time, even if things do get sad, that’s it. Just standing out, so it doesn’t get carried over.”
As for their advice for couples who want to run a business as a team, Ally suggested to have a same goal and a really good relationship to work together with a lot of patience.
“It works very well if you’re not exactly alike…You bring certain things that is really great. I bring certain things that I am really good at, and together, it works pretty well.
“Take the leap. Trust yourselves. Trust each other. And stay true to what your original idea is, and go for it.”