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You’ll Totally Gush Over These 11 Small-Business Owner Couples

They knew it wouldn't be easy, but they were certain that it would be worth it. Get inspired by these couples crushing small-business-owner life together, one day at a time.

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1. Cassandre Davilmar and Isiah Michael | The Classic Man Barbershop | New York, New York

Cassandre and Isiah met during a scholarship interview in their law school program in August 2010 and instantly hit it off, sharing ideas about unconventional career paths and their shared entrepreneurial spirits. After the two earned their JDs and spent four years in corporate settings, they decided to follow their instincts and open The Classic Man Barbershop in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Mark Clennon

Cassandre and Isiah met during a scholarship interview in their law school program in August 2010 and instantly hit it off, sharing ideas about unconventional career paths and their shared entrepreneurial spirits. After the two earned their JDs and spent four years in corporate settings, they decided to follow their instincts and open The Classic Man Barbershop in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Instagram: @classicmanbarberlounge

The barbershop was created with Cassandre and Isiah's group of professional friends in mind: people who were constantly in search of a detail-oriented Manhattan barber shop that accommodates their needs and lifestyle, and they're self-described as being "for the culture" and "for your comfort."

Cassandre and Isiah didn't stop there, though: This dynamic duo also runs Brooklyn-based Lakou Cafe, which was conceptualized to address a need for a community-oriented space that offers healthy options and a peaceful oasis from the hustle and bustle of NYC.

Take a moment to learn more about what Classic Man Barbershop and Lakou Cafe are all about!

2. Jon Floyd and Breanna Lien | Timbermade | Grand Forks, North Dakota

Jon and Breanna have been together for eight years, and this DIY duo has always had their sights set on running a business. The pair started out with an eyewear company six years ago, where they sold sunglasses made from skateboards (cool, right?!), but decided they wanted to kick their creativity up a notch, and thus Timbermade was born.
Courtesy of Jon Floyd

Jon and Breanna have been together for eight years, and this DIY duo has always had their sights set on running a business. The pair started out with an eyewear company six years ago, where they sold sunglasses made from skateboards (cool, right?!), but decided they wanted to kick their creativity up a notch, and thus Timbermade was born.

Instagram: @timbermade

Now, Jon and Breanna spend their days handcrafting home decor and gift items with their canine business partners Kingston and Melvin (pictured above).

Jon and Breanna's advice to small business owners? "Recognize when your partner needs help or encouragement. We each have our own roles in the business, but we try to be aware of when to jump in and help each other. Oh, and make it fun — make each other laugh, and when the times get hard, try to see the light and remember why you're doing what you're doing!"

Explore all of the gorgeous furniture, wall art, kitchen supplies, and much more at Timbermade!

3. Ricardo and Ane Trillos | Cao Chocolates | Miami, Florida

Originally from Venezuela, Ricardo and Ane came to the United States shortly after marrying almost 20 years ago, and they now call sunny Miami home.The duo opened Cao Chocolates after Ricardo was laid off from an accounting job during the recession in 2009, turning his chocolate crafting hobby into a full-blown business.Ricardo and Ane constantly travel abroad to personally verify the quality of their ingredients, and they even take time to visit with the families who help produce these ingredients along the way!
Courtesy of Ricardo Trillos

Originally from Venezuela, Ricardo and Ane came to the United States shortly after marrying almost 20 years ago, and they now call sunny Miami home.

The duo opened Cao Chocolates after Ricardo was laid off from an accounting job during the recession in 2009, turning his chocolate crafting hobby into a full-blown business.

Ricardo and Ane constantly travel abroad to personally verify the quality of their ingredients, and they even take time to visit with the families who help produce these ingredients along the way!

Instagram: @caochocolates

Their advice to couples thinking about running a small business? "The good, bad, and ugly must be part of regular conversations, and always try to improve without pointing at anybody’s mistakes. Always empower the strengths, and if there’s any weakness, never take it personal or bring the problems home. Do not mix pear with apples when it comes to business and a relationship."

Find a gourmet chocolate creation to gift someone (and yourself!) this holiday season from Cao Chocolates!

4. Cole and Shilpa | Khao'na Kitchen | Brooklyn, New York

Cole and Shilpa have been together since December 2015, and one of the things that unites their love is the magic of food. What began as an idea for a coffee shop would soon evolve into Khao'na Kitchen, a health and wellness food cooperative that serves up flavorful Indian and Filipino cuisine. Though they officially opened just one year ago, the idea was years in the making for Cole and Shilpa.The couple found themselves constantly stressing out, getting sick, and feeling fatigued, and they knew the food they ate was to blame. With Khao'na Kitchen, they wanted to focus on making the flavorful foods they knew and loved growing up — ones that nourish bodies without compromising taste.
Courtesy of Cole and Shilpa

Cole and Shilpa have been together since December 2015, and one of the things that unites their love is the magic of food. What began as an idea for a coffee shop would soon evolve into Khao'na Kitchen, a health and wellness food cooperative that serves up flavorful Indian and Filipino cuisine. Though they officially opened just one year ago, the idea was years in the making for Cole and Shilpa.

The couple found themselves constantly stressing out, getting sick, and feeling fatigued, and they knew the food they ate was to blame. With Khao'na Kitchen, they wanted to focus on making the flavorful foods they knew and loved growing up — ones that nourish bodies without compromising taste.

Instagram: @khaonakitchen

Shilpa and Cole's advice to couples who aspire to run a business together? Always put your relationship and yourselves first and nurture your love, and be as transparent as possible about what you need and how you plan to share the workload so you and your partner know how to support one another while still making progress on your dreams.

Take a look at the incredible dishes Khao'na Kitchen serves up!

5. Erin Patten and Willis Marshall | DāO Detroit | Detroit, Michigan

They've only been together for three years, but for some, that can feel like a lifetime. Erin and Will are self-described soulmates who have been inseparable since their first date, and their first business venture together, DāO (which stands for Defying All Odds), happened pretty naturally. After Erin did the "big chop" to allow her mane to grow back as healthily and naturally as possible, she and Will began mixing their own natural hair products in their bathroom at home, and the compliments came pouring in. Strangers would stop Erin to find out what exactly she was doing that had her hair looking so amazing, and the lovebirds realized the opportunity in front of them.
Courtesy of Erin Patten

They've only been together for three years, but for some, that can feel like a lifetime. Erin and Will are self-described soulmates who have been inseparable since their first date, and their first business venture together, DāO (which stands for Defying All Odds), happened pretty naturally.

After Erin did the "big chop" to allow her mane to grow back as healthily and naturally as possible, she and Will began mixing their own natural hair products in their bathroom at home, and the compliments came pouring in. Strangers would stop Erin to find out what exactly she was doing that had her hair looking so amazing, and the lovebirds realized the opportunity in front of them.

Instagram: @daodetroit

The brand also works to combat a very real social injustice affecting black women and men worldwide. The #DaOMovement "Own Your Identity" campaign came to life after Erin was told in her first job out of college that her natural hair was "inappropriate" for her work environment. The anxiety and insecurity she felt from this resulted in desperate attempts to get her hair to conform, from chemical treatments to heat styling, but now she and Will are dedicated to empowering women to embrace their curls and kinks.

Stock up on hair products and support the duo behind DāO Detroit!

6. Wayde Cartwright and Bruce Boyd | Lang House Bed & Breakfast | Chicago, Illinois

Owners and innkeepers of Chicago's Lang House Bed & Breakfast, Wayde and Bruce met over three decades ago in the Bahamas and can now proudly say they’ve been journeying together through life and entrepreneurship for an incredible 32 years. Wayde and Bruce first opened up Tree Tops Bed & Breakfast in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, which they owned for five years, and then later moved on to running a pizza franchise for over 22 years. Eventually, the long, late hours demanded by a fast-food delivery franchise grew tedious, so the pair explored other opportunities and were lucky to find an opportunity on Chicago’s North Shore that worked for both of them. They officially left for the Midwest in 2008 to become the proud owners of Lang House Bed & Breakfast.
Courtesy of Wayde Cartwright and Bruce Boyd

Owners and innkeepers of Chicago's Lang House Bed & Breakfast, Wayde and Bruce met over three decades ago in the Bahamas and can now proudly say they’ve been journeying together through life and entrepreneurship for an incredible 32 years.

Wayde and Bruce first opened up Tree Tops Bed & Breakfast in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, which they owned for five years, and then later moved on to running a pizza franchise for over 22 years. Eventually, the long, late hours demanded by a fast-food delivery franchise grew tedious, so the pair explored other opportunities and were lucky to find an opportunity on Chicago’s North Shore that worked for both of them. They officially left for the Midwest in 2008 to become the proud owners of Lang House Bed & Breakfast.

Instagram: @langhousechicago

Wayde and Bruce’s advice for couples considering going into business together? “Do it carefully and with the understanding and respect of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We feel this is paramount to the success of any business. In addition, you need to have open and honest communication as well as the ability to work alongside your partner on an almost constant basis.”

See why Lang House Bed & Breakfast is a must-visit for your next Chicago trip!

7. Kris and Jay Chan | Fancy Nancy | Brooklyn, New York

Kris and Jay began dating almost eight years ago while working at the same restaurant in Manhattan. They would eventually come to find out that they both had plans to open their own restaurants, but over time, they decided that their ideas and philosophies were so similar that it made the most sense to combine their efforts. The couple opened Fancy Nancy in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, in August 2015.
Courtesy of Kris Chan

Kris and Jay began dating almost eight years ago while working at the same restaurant in Manhattan. They would eventually come to find out that they both had plans to open their own restaurants, but over time, they decided that their ideas and philosophies were so similar that it made the most sense to combine their efforts. The couple opened Fancy Nancy in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, in August 2015.

Instagram: @fancynancybk

Kris and Jay's advice to couples who are ready to open their own businesses: "Enjoy your time together! Take a step back to appreciate the process and everything you are about to accomplish. And remember, if your partner succeeds, you succeed!"

With Fancy Nancy, Kris and Jay want everyone who comes through their door to leave a little happier. "We're not trying to change the world, just simply provide a comfortable space to get a tasty, hot plate of food, a cold drink, and an empathetic ear."

Learn more about what you can experience at Brooklyn's Fancy Nancy!

8. Paula and Dave Jasinski | Green Fin Studio | Richmond, Virginia

Paula and Dave first met at a small marine science lab in the Chesapeake Bay in 1994 and tied the knot one year later. What brought the two together initially was their shared interest in marine science and clean water, and after exploring the environmental field in their individual careers, they realized a need for more inclusive communication and impact-driven marketing. To address this need, Paula and Dave launched their own consulting business, Green Fin Studio, in 2010.
Sara Harris

Paula and Dave first met at a small marine science lab in the Chesapeake Bay in 1994 and tied the knot one year later.

What brought the two together initially was their shared interest in marine science and clean water, and after exploring the environmental field in their individual careers, they realized a need for more inclusive communication and impact-driven marketing. To address this need, Paula and Dave launched their own consulting business, Green Fin Studio, in 2010.

Instagram: @greenfinstudio

Lots of business owners will talk your ear off about how finding balance is the key to entrepreneurial success, but after so many years crushing marriage, parenting, and business management together, Paula and Dave have learned to make things work by seeking harmony instead of balance, describing harmony as “having the pieces of your life fit together.”

Learn more about all of the impressive work Green Fin Studio is doing!

9. Jannah Handy and Kiyanna Stewart | BLK MKT Vintage | Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn natives Jannah Handy and Kiyanna Stewart fell in love five years ago, opened up shop one year later, and have been curating and selling vintage and antique black artifacts and collectibles ever since.Jannah and Kiyanna opened BLK MKT Vintage because of their love for all things vintage, and with their shop, they wanted to make sure they focused on vintage black artifacts, collectibles, and other things of the past in ways that would resonate with how black people see themselves in a contemporary context. In terms of advice for couples who aspire to run a business together, they believe very strongly in one thing: "Separate church and state. In other words, create healthy boundaries separating your work from your relationship. It'll help you push through challenging moments — and there will be many."
Courtesy of Kiyanna Stewart

Brooklyn natives Jannah Handy and Kiyanna Stewart fell in love five years ago, opened up shop one year later, and have been curating and selling vintage and antique black artifacts and collectibles ever since.

Jannah and Kiyanna opened BLK MKT Vintage because of their love for all things vintage, and with their shop, they wanted to make sure they focused on vintage black artifacts, collectibles, and other things of the past in ways that would resonate with how black people see themselves in a contemporary context.

In terms of advice for couples who aspire to run a business together, they believe very strongly in one thing: "Separate church and state. In other words, create healthy boundaries separating your work from your relationship. It'll help you push through challenging moments — and there will be many."

Instagram: @blkmktvintage

As of now, BLK MKT Vintage is operated online and at pop-up markets mostly in the tri-state area, but Jannah and Kiyana have plans to break ground on a Brooklyn brick-and-mortar shop next year!

Take a look at some of the breathtaking memorabilia you can find at BLK MKT Vintage!

10. Patricia and David Beets | Dell Cove Spices & More Co. | Chicago, Illinois

Patricia and David love what they do: They’re a close couple and are passionate about their business, but if you rewind to early 2010, you’ll find that their path to opening Dell Cove Spices was rocky.Eight years ago, Patricia was a national correspondent for a newspaper whose parent company had just filed for bankruptcy, and her editors moved her job from the Midwest all the way to Los Angeles. The distance was difficult, but they realized they could stay connected by cooking together via video chat. It became their date night during their time being separated by three time zones.Money was tight, but Patricia’s parents had raised her to believe that you don't have to be rich to eat well. So for holidays and special occasions, she and David gave loved ones what they call “edible luxuries” of their own making: handmade infused sugars and salts for baking cookies or sprinkling over popcorn; BBQ seasonings whipped up to make friends sweat; and homemade spice kits filled with ingredients discovered at organic markets or off-the-beaten-path farms.
Courtesy of Patricia Beets

Patricia and David love what they do: They’re a close couple and are passionate about their business, but if you rewind to early 2010, you’ll find that their path to opening Dell Cove Spices was rocky.

Eight years ago, Patricia was a national correspondent for a newspaper whose parent company had just filed for bankruptcy, and her editors moved her job from the Midwest all the way to Los Angeles. The distance was difficult, but they realized they could stay connected by cooking together via video chat. It became their date night during their time being separated by three time zones.

Money was tight, but Patricia’s parents had raised her to believe that you don't have to be rich to eat well. So for holidays and special occasions, she and David gave loved ones what they call “edible luxuries” of their own making: handmade infused sugars and salts for baking cookies or sprinkling over popcorn; BBQ seasonings whipped up to make friends sweat; and homemade spice kits filled with ingredients discovered at organic markets or off-the-beaten-path farms.

Instagram: @dellcovespices

A friend suggested they look into opening a shop on Etsy to sell some of their amazing spice mixes, and that shop ended up helping Patricia and David reunite back in the Midwest, where they now create, mix, and package their popcorn seasonings, BBQ spices, and cocktail bar supplies.

In September 2012, David quit his day job at an engineering firm and now runs the business full-time from their commercial kitchen and retail shop in the Old Irving Park neighborhood of Chicago. Patricia is a journalist by day, but she helps David out with the business in the evenings and weekends.

What Patricia and David have learned is that change is scary — and inevitable — but you have to embrace it. Some sage advice from Patricia: "Ginger helps reduce stress. (But sometimes all you really need is a good laugh and a glass of great whiskey.)"

Find your new favorite spices, popcorn, and more at Dell Cove Spices & More Co.!

11. Allison and Matt Robicelli | Robicelli Studio | Baltimore, Maryland

Last certainly does not mean least, especially in this case. Allison and Matt Robicelli have overcome it all: From Allison beating cancer to Matt being a 9/11 first responder to the 2008 recession hitting just four days after they opened their first business to Matt having a heart infection that spread throughout his body and almost shut down all his organs, this couple knows a thing or two about grit. Oh, they also had two boys in between everything. Eighteen months apart. The now owners of Robicelli Studio, a blanket company for writing, TV, and consulting, the Robicellis spend their days writing recipes, making video content for a major network, whipping up pastries, and writing their fourth book.
Courtesy of Allison Robicelli

Last certainly does not mean least, especially in this case. Allison and Matt Robicelli have overcome it all: From Allison beating cancer to Matt being a 9/11 first responder to the 2008 recession hitting just four days after they opened their first business to Matt having a heart infection that spread throughout his body and almost shut down all his organs, this couple knows a thing or two about grit.

Oh, they also had two boys in between everything. Eighteen months apart.

The now owners of Robicelli Studio, a blanket company for writing, TV, and consulting, the Robicellis spend their days writing recipes, making video content for a major network, whipping up pastries, and writing their fourth book.

Instagram: @allisonrobicelli

What's next for this Allison and Matt? A vegan concept that will take root in New York City, where this couple lived previously (though this dream team will stay planted in Baltimore). Matt's health issues led them to explore a vegan diet, and though they don't formally identify as vegan, the couple is excited to use their culinary skills to share some of their new vegan favorites with the world.

Read more about Robicelli Studio and get inspired by this dynamic duo!

American Express is all for small businesses during the holidays and year-round, making it easy for you to support these inspiring and ambitious duos.