The divorcees now run an award-winning chocolate shop in Seattle, U.S.
Their shop has been selling organic, Fair Trade chocolate bars since 2006, seven years after the end of a five-year marriage.
Joe, 46, said he had no second thoughts about bringing in his former wife to take care of sales and marketing.
He said: “I asked Debra to help out part-time with sales while we were starting up the factory, because I knew that she wouldn’t let anything fall through the cracks. I trust Debra completely, and as the company grew so did her responsibilities.”
He explained that although they still have the occasional argument, it tends to end positively. He finds that the tension leads to more passionate and successful business practices.
Debra agrees. She describes their relationship as both a challenge and a reward.
Often, positive company changes come from a conflict in interests – if nobody put up a fight, how would the best solution be found?
The ex-couple have found ways to turn friction into creativity and innovation. Joe went on to say how every day he remembers why he married Debra, and also why they divorced.
Today the company – Theo Chocolate – employs 95 people and continues to grow in popularity across the country.
Both Joe and Debra have remarried, cementing the fact that their relationship is now all about business.
When starting a business venture with someone else, it is always important to consider how the business will affect your relationship and vice versa. To find out how accountants and mediators can help in the case of disputes, please visit our Commercial Disputes page.
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