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The Dream Team - Working With Your Better Half

Feb 14 2016

Working together as a couple has always brought some concerns and people questioned the possibility of it and if it would sour their relationships if things don't go the way they want. 

Today, we threw the questions to 6 couples and have them share with us how it all started, how it is like to work with their better halves, how two is always still better than one. 

Kenny & Renee, BooksActually

Renee Kenny BooksActually

How did you two become a "we"?

Renee (R): I'm not even sure how we started dating. I remember thinking, "Uhhh, this guy can't flirt very well." But he's very sweet, amidst all that ah beng-ness, for the most part.

Kenny (K): Okay, I have to come clean that we had met at work, and I am her employer so... But the biggest and only reason is that I have found a person who is the other half of me. She is the peanut butter, and I am the jelly in the sandwich.

How did the business form? Whose idea was it?

K: This was a decade ago, when I was much younger, with stronger bones, and never-ending energy levels. At its core, it was set up with a love for books, and wanting to spread the love of books too.

Where was your first date and how did it go?

R: Our first date was at Liang Court. We sat on big cushioned chairs, talked a lot about ourselves, our families, our favourite books. He drank Vietnamese coffee, I don't remember what I drank. But there was never an awkwardly silent moment, it was like talking to a best friend. 

K: I thought our 1st date was at the East Coast Beach (so romantic hor). And I remember how come we are sitting in the sand, surrounded by rowdy people at the beach but it was unforgettable because 1st date mah.

Note: Apparently the other half said this is not our 1st date.

What is the one word that describe your other half?

R: Stubborn. If I get three words, it'd be "very, very stubborn".

K: Fierce

Renee Kenny BooksActually 3

What are your thoughts on seeing each other for such long hours every day?

R: Of course, too much of something/someone is never good, so we've learned to be alone while being around each other. After work, we'll be doing our own work, reading our own books, watching our own movies, things like that. We set aside time to watch a movie together, something we both enjoy.

But for the most part, we're very much individuals before we are a couple. And it's a balance we have to find every single day, the very delicate point where you are dependent on each other in a way that is necessary- not too much so that it becomes counterproductive, and not too little that you lose each other.

K: On the odd moments when we are apart, it is sort of like a fork missing the complement of the spoon. 

Have you guys quarrelled over work matters before? If yes, how was it solved?

R: Hahaha I haven't found a couple who work together and don't quarrel. Most of the time I give in, because men, because ego (hahahaha). But if it's important enough to me, I put my foot down, and he knows.

K: Always. But she also always give in to me unless my idea was really silly.

Renee Kenny BooksActually 2

If you could revive a "we" moment and have it on repeat, what would that be?

R: I would like to think every moment is a "we" moment — even the farting, burping, teeth-picking, book-competing, working-seven-days-a-week, grocery-shopping, "I hate that song you love", talking-about-objectivism-at-1am-in-the-morning, "stop stealing my liquid paper" moments are moments. Brief instants in our lives that we overlook but define the most of who we are and what we'll miss when the other person is gone.

K: Cooking and eating a meal together, every evening for the rest of our lives.

Finally, what would like to say to your other half this Valentine's Day?

R: Carl Sagan dedicated his magnum opus, Cosmos, to his wife Ann Druyan, saying, "In the vastness of space and the immensity of time, it is my joy to share a planet and an epoch with you."

K: Let's go eating air.

Roger & Su, Daily Juice

Roger Su Daily Juice

How did you two become a "we"?

Roger (R): We met online and started playing words with friends (online scrabble) before we decided to meet for a movie and hit it off.

How did the business form? Whose idea was it?

R: We started juicing at home when Su's father's auto immune condition began to worsen requiring chemotherapy. We knew wanted to avoid this at all costs having witnessed the damaging effects of this treatment. Instead, on advice of family and friends, we read up on and tried raw juicing. It worked and we knew that we would be juicing regularly from then out.

Su (S): I had always wanted to start my own salad/fitness related shop and Roger said," let's try juice".

Where was your first date and how did it go?

R: We went for dinner and a movie. We discovered that we had two interests in common- consuming very spicy food and playing life consuming online RPGs (role playing games).

What is the one word that describe your other half?

S: Spontaneous.

R: Steady.

What are your thoughts on seeing each other for such long hours every day?

S: Drives me nuts.

R: Second nature now, does the right brain think about the left brain?

Have you guys quarrelled over work matters before? If yes, how was it solved?

R: Disagreements happen all the time. At best, we figure out how we can do things better. There are always things to be resolved for another day

If you could revive a "we" moment and have it on repeat, what would that be?
S: A very enjoyable evening out to Nox- dining in the dark.

R: Our trip to Hong Kong. We almost went to Hokkaido too. That would have been epic. They both need to happen, repeatedly.

Finally, what would like to say to your other half this Valentine's Day?

R & S: Thank you for always being there.

Herbert & Nat, Hunters' Kitchenette

How did you two become a "we"?

    Herbert(H): We met at our university in Jakarta in 1993. She started to notice my existence when I had a long hair, and thought that I’m one of those "bad" boys (she was very wrong). Nevertheless we started dating on 1995, and we got married on 10 October 2002.

    Nat (N): He was my university friend. He was not the type of guy who likes to talk much, and he was one of the smartest in class. He can draw nicely and he can do a very impressive model for class presentation. I was quite impressed with these “qualities”, and with his “bad boy” look that time (he has a long hair and ride motorbike), I started to approach him and try to know him more. Yes, it was me who approached him first!

    How did the business form? Whose idea was it?

    H: It was my idea I guess. Since the year 2000 I had been trying to eat healthy, read all health articles that I can find, visit gym regularly in pursuit of that dreamy six-pack abs, only to find out that after 10 years of hard work I actually get 10kg fatter. It was really frustrating.

    Then I found a website by Mark Sisson that talks about food, health, fitness, and lifestyle of our hunter gatherer ancestor. From this website I learned that those delicious, sinful foods that my mom always cook, that I thought are bad for health and avoid, are actually very healthy!

    After 3 months of reading every single article in the website, I was finally able to connect all the dots after 10 years and see the big picture. We have been eating the wrong foods!

    From here I learned that foods are the most important factor. Not exercise, not portion control or the ridiculous calorie counting. "Politically correct" healthy foods may not be healthy for our body after all.

    I changed my foods completely for the next 3 months, cold turkey. The result was quite mind blowing, I loose an impossible 10 kg of fat by doing nothing, zero exercise, just by eating lots and lots of delicious sinful foods. Those foods are the common foods that our parents, grand parents and ancestor have been eating for a very long time, millions of years.

    My wife and I immediately change our family’s diet, and she also experienced similar result. Both of us got excited and we know that this is something we have to do for our kids, family and friends.

    That got us thinking, there must be a lot of people like us trying hard to live health, but in the end will never reach their goals.

    A very good friend of mine, Kenghuat, witnessed the change. He suggested that we try a small business venture, to create simple foods that taste really good and get people to buy, which has subtle hidden message that unhealthy foods are actually healthy, and vice versa. At that time the idea was to open a Fat-based smoothie bar (while every food joints are screaming Low-Fat). We spent almost a year developing the brand, try to find location and man power. The last 2 didn’t get resolved.

    Along the way we have been adjusting our lifestyle and started to incorporate nut butters into our diet. One day, my mom gave me the some raw cashew nuts when we went back to Jakarta. With that I made the first batch of cashew butter and share it to a friend, Derek Yap. He is an arborist (a tree doctor) whom I work with in my other job as an architect, and he is the one who suggested to me to start selling nut butters at farmers market.

    After a few events in 2 months, on December 2013 we thought that the original idea and branding for smoothies can be converted into nut butters, using the same concept and the same goal.

    At that time my wife was working in a school doing admin works. We know that this job will not bring lots of excitement nor achieve anything worthwhile. Having seen the change we experienced, she then agreed to pursue our passion with financial support from Kenghuat. In January 2014 we created The Hunters’ Kitchenette.

    Where was your first date and how did it go?

      H: It was 31 December 1994 when I asked her out for New Year’s Eve movie show. It was Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey) and Fair Game (Cindy Crawford & William Baldwin). We still have the tickets. Movie was ok, but I remember she was looking gorgeous. Best night ever.

      N: We went to see movies on New Year’s Eve. At that time, we were not a couple yet but we already went out few times and felt comfortable with each other. After the movies, we went to chat at McDonald’s until morning and I know then that he is the one for me… (bear in mind that we used to be young and eat junk food too!)

      What is the one word that describe your other half?

        H: There is no 1 word can describe her!

        N: It’s difficult to describe him in one word. He is caring, responsible, reliable and supportive.

        What are your thoughts on seeing each other for such long hours every day?

          H: Thank God I have her.

          N: No special thought, I just feel comfortable to have him around.

          Have you guys quarrelled over work matters before? If yes, how was it solved?

            H: Not really, mostly when both of us don't get enough sleep, or it just resolved by it self. We are foodies, so good foods always work, of course after we sleep well.

            N: Usually we don’t quarrel over work, but we can be very irritable if we had to work long hours and only had 2-3 hours of sleep for days and weeks, like when we gone through our first Christmas production in 2014. After the crazy period ended, had enough sleep, we became sane again and everything back to normal.

            If you could revive a "we" moment and have it on repeat, what would that be?

              H: The time we go overseas hunting for good foods and eat 6-7 times a day. We rode our motorcycle 3 times last year to Melaka, and also went to food heaven like Bali and Medan with meticulous plan on foods to eat.

              N: Our short getaway, usually one or two days only since we can’t leave the children for too long. We hunt for good foods, eat non-stop, shopping and enjoying our short break together.

              Finally, what would like to say to your other half this Valentine's Day?

                H: Nobody else in this planet can replace you. Thank you for being with me.

                N: Thank you for being a caring husband and father. It feels so warm sleeping next to you every night.

                Daryl & Stella, Stale & Co. / Stelliyah

                Daryl Stella Stelliyah Stale & Co 1

                How did you two become a "we"?

                Daryl (D): We have known each other for over a decade since our poly days. The partnership happened about 7 years ago when everything just clicked and we realised that there was really no one else we want to be with.

                Stella (S): We only got to know each other better in our third year of school even though we took the same course. A mutual friend invited us for coffee one day and that was the first time we hung out. We got along really well and became best friends since. Our friendship progressed for about two years before we got together eventually.

                How did the business form? Whose idea was it?

                D: Stella was the initial maker and was running Stelliyah on her own before I joined her. We often toyed with the idea of designing men’s accessories because we had several commissioned requests from guys. So one day, we decided to start a new label for fun and soon after Stale & Co was born. When things got really busy, I quit my then day job and came on board full-time to manage both brands with her.

                Where was your first date and how did it go?

                D: Honestly, both of us can't remember it for the love of our lives.

                S: Haha. I don’t think there was an official first date since we hung out so often even as friends.

                What is the one word that describe your other half?

                D: Reason.

                S: Determined.

                Daryl Stella Stale Co Stelliyah 2

                What are your thoughts on seeing each other for such long hours every day?

                D: Well, everyday I still feel that there's nothing else I would want to do with anyone else apart from this job with Stella.

                S: It has been really fun working together and we don't get in each other's way a lot because we handle very different tasks. We also make sure we get a lot of “me” time, which is essential.

                Have you guys quarrelled over work matters before? If yes, how was it solved?

                D: Of course. Both Stella and I pretty much have opposing work styles, and disagreements definitely will occur. But with work or personal lives, we both will have to somehow find a middle ground and come to a compromise. Without resolution, progression is not possible.

                S: Definitely! Most of the time arguments arise during a stressful period and we will usually resolve them by talking it out when we are calmer and our minds clearer.

                Daryl Stella Stelliyah Stale Co 3

                If you could revive a "we" moment and have it on repeat, what would that be? 

                D: This moment of my life, is exactly the "we" moment on repeat.

                S: We still amuse each other and laugh really hard everyday.

                Finally, what would like to say to your other half this Valentine's Day?

                D: I promise that I will always lift the toilet seat when I pee.

                S: Let's do a pay raise!

                Aloysius & Shannon, Stringwares

                Shannon Aloysius Stringwares

                How did you two become a "we"?

                Aloysius (A): I was from Temasek Poly, while she was from Singapore Poly (SP). I was taking up classes for cuesports under my coach who was based at SP then, and she was one of the freshmen who was selected to join the SP team under my coach. I heard rumours about the freshmen team having a "chiobu", so I was on the lookout for her on the first day.

                Lo and behold, I spotted her and volunteered to help my coach with the training. She had a default "bitch face" which made it tough to engage in a conversation actually. It took me weeks and some help from friends before we started talking comfortably - sharing tips about the sport etc. Eventually, after a couple of months, I managed to capture her heart. Hehe.

                Shannon (S): I met him when I took up cuesports as a CCA during my poly days. We trained under the same coach, so we see each other quite often during trainings. He was this noisy, loud, "think-I-am-the-boss" character at the pool hall (he probably had all the rights too, since he was a National Youth Team player at that time haha), and I dislike such attention seeking people, so I didn't like him at the beginning. It was only when we went out a couple of times with our mutual friends, got to know each other better, before I opened up to befriend him. 

                I started to think that he's being really nice, sometimes even till the extent that I feel guilty. There was this once he came to pick me from home, to send me to the airport for school activities at 6AM! Considering that we live 26km apart (he lives 5 mins away from the airport, and I stay at Bukit Timah), I was really touched. I guess that was how it all started... :)

                How did the business form? Whose idea was it? 

                A: I really liked the first beaded bracelet I got  from a local Korean vendor two years ago, and I kept raving about it to Shannon. She then decided out of the blue, to craft a bracelet for my birthday which was around the corner. The first bracelet she did was pretty impressive considering that she didn't have any experience, so I requested for more. I even tried crafting some myself, which resulted in a whole lot of bracelets after a while. That was when we decided to try selling them online. 

                S: It formed completely out of spontaneity actually. He really likes to accessorise as a guy, so when he bought his first beaded bracelet back then, he raved about it like crazy. My dad's an avid gemstone and antique collector, so I knew tad bit about crystals from frequent trips to stores with him when I was younger. I had a thought, "Why not I try to make a bracelet on my own? It's just beads and string, so it can't be that tough." After we got the materials the following day, I got too excited and started crafting right away - in the car, parked along a curbside. We made more, and more, and more - the ideas for designs are endless - till we decided to sell them online. He came out with the name "Stringwares" though, which I thought sounded really apt, and we both liked it a lot too. ("stringwares" = string wears, pun intended haha)

                Where was your first date and how did it go? 

                A: The first date was at The Bark Cafe at Changi. It was a little awkward at first but something she said broke the ice and made it really amusing (and retarded). She said "nice sea view over there", and pointed to the tall, white wall along the cafe. I was controlling so hard not to burst out into laughter, and told her that it was just a white wall and not a sea view... That made me less tense throughout the dinner haha.

                S: It took us awhile to recall, but yes, our first date was at The Bark Cafe at Changi while we were both still studying. I honestly can't remember too much details about how it went, but I know I made a silly comment and mistook the white wall for a sea view (do not ask me how...). I also over-ordered drinks and caused the bill went over his budget - but of course, he only whined about it after we got together hahaha.

                What is the one word that describe your other half? 

                A: Feisty. 

                S: It shall be... Charming.

                What are your thoughts on seeing each other for such long hours every day

                A: It's becoming like a habit, and you get uncomfortable when you don't see each other as per usual. 

                S: We only see each other for dinner on weekdays due to our full-time day jobs, not much of long hours together except weekends. It's a nice, comfortable feeling when you get to see each other at the end of the day. Very much like a routine which we're used to, and am really glad that we do. There's this other dangerous side to it too - when we unintentionally take each other for granted, causing unnecessary quarrels over petty issues.

                Have you guys quarrelled over work matters before? If yes, how was it solved? 

                A: Yes, it never really came to a conclusion but we all know that the ladies are always right. 

                S: Yes. When we do, it's usually when both of us can't agree on decisions for Stringwares. I like to reason, so I'll try my best to reason it out logically with him till he's convinced. As much as possible, we still try to keep Stringwares matters as "work matters" and not let it affect our relationship. 

                If you could revive a "we" moment and have it on repeat, what would that be? 

                A: Till date, it would definitely be the Melbourne road trip. It was our first long vacation where we experienced many new, unforgettable moments together. 

                S: It would be tough to pick one particular moment, but I think it will be one of those "first times" with him, like when we went on our first road trip, our first helicopter ride, our first kickboxing class, our first barista lesson.

                Finally, what would like to say to your other half this Valentine's Day?

                A: Will you be my Valentine's?

                S: Always, all ways :)

                Melvin & Selena, Temasek Clothings

                Selena Melvin Temasek Clothings

                How did you two become a “we"?

                Selena (S): I met him at work and he wouldn’t stop making me laugh.

                Melvin (M): I met her at work and I wouldn’t stop making her laugh.

                S: Then I went to New Zealand for 6 months. After 3 months, Melvin left his job to find me in NZ!

                How did the business form? Whose idea was it?

                M: In New Zealand, I told Selena that I’ve always wanted to make funny t-shirts. She said, “Go and make lah!”

                Where was your first date and how did it go?

                S: We didn’t really have ‘date’ dates! 

                M: Yeah, we’d just hang out at supermarkets and do stupid things.

                Selena Melvin Temasek Clothings 2

                What is the one word that describe your other half?

                S: Happiness! 

                M: She’s like a “late-night-talk-show” because of all her punch lines.

                S: That’s 4 words.

                M: Okay. Uh. How about a monkey?

                S: What

                M: Not like she looks like a monkey but she's silly like a monkey. Okay, not very flattering. Okay. She makes me laugh like my golden retriever.

                S: WHAT

                M: I DON’T KNOW

                What are your thoughts on seeing each other for such long hours every day?

                S: It’s not enough!

                M: I think we need to see each other in our sleep too. We’re working on that. 

                Selena Melvin Temasek Clothings 3

                Have you guys quarrelled over work matters before? If yes, how was it solved?

                S: All the time! But we kind of know that work is just work. 

                M: We’ll just talk it out because we know we can’t let problems go unsolved.

                If you could revive a "we" moment and have it on repeat, what would that be?

                S: The time I welcomed Melvin at Auckland airport — it had been 3 months since we last saw each other and him finally being there felt so surreal.

                M: That time we did a tandem bungee jump on Valentine’s Day and I pushed her off first.

                S: Thanks.

                Finally, what would like to say to your other half this Valentine's Day?

                M: I love us but Valentine’s Day is a gimmick. 

                S: I agree. Also, I love you but we need to wear less t-shirts.

                 

                 

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