Bath husbands and wives reveal how to succeed in business
Continuing a Bath legacy has kept Laurence and Nina Swan together and in business for more than a decade.
The couple moved to Bath 11 years ago to take over at the Hands Tea Room on Abbey Street, which dates back to the 19th century.
The duo spotted the business up for sale during a holiday that was ruined by bad weather.
Nina explained they were stuck in a caravan with their four-year-old son Cameron when they spotted the Hands Tea Room and after a visit decided to give up their careers in London.
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Laurence, 56, had been a sales and marketing consultant, and Nina, 43, a facilities manager, when they moved to Bath.
Nina said: "This was one we looked at – it was on its last legs and it was a great price. Even though we'd never made a pot of tea we decided to buy it – we saw it as potential."
The couple, who have been together for 25 years and have two sons following the arrival of Harrison, nine, claim the secret to their success has also been a clear division of roles within the business.
Nina, who took a more back office role after Harrison was born, said: "It made sense that I did the paperwork and we set up an office at home and that enabled the business to grow even more because we could see other opportunities.
"It's worked for us and people like the idea we are a family business."
However, Laurence, who claims they only every argue over colour schemes, gave a warning to others thinking of taking the plunge with their loved one.
He said: "I think you need to be a certain type of couple to work together and how long you have known each other helps."
A spontaneous idea on honeymoon and a love of books inspired husband and wife team Juliette and Nic Bottomley to set up business together.
The pair behind Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights on John Street, abandoned high-flying legal careers in London and Prague to launch the shop but despite the long hours neither regret the decision.
Juliette, 39, who can be found at home more these days since the arrival of Leah, three, and eight-month old twins Aidan and Jessica, said: "It has been brilliant, to be honest. I think it has worked so well in part because we shared a very similar vision of how we wanted the shop to be and in part, because our skills are quite different, so there wasn't too much stepping on each other's toes."
Nic, 37, believes the unique relationship between a husband and wife makes for a successful business.
He said:"A lot of people probably worry about going into business with their spouse or partner and worry it will cause a lot of arguments but we didn't find that."
Selling fudge to the tourists on different days of the week has proved a winning formula for one business partnership.
For almost 20 years Maureen and Mark Lechmere have been supplying visitors to the city with a sugary fix from their Abbey Green sweet shop, the Fudge Factory.
The shop, which opened in 1995, was inspired by Maureen's father's fudge business in her native city of San Francisco.
The couple met while Mark was travelling in the United States.
Maureen said: "We've been working together ever since. Mark is a number cruncher whereas I am always thinking out of the box. He's grounded but I'm always doing things maybe because I'm a woman and I multitask.
"We've lasted so long because we don't do the same thing. We decided what we like to do with aspects of the business."
The pair, who have three children Thomas, 16, Henry, 14, and Oliver, eight, claim the reason their business partnership has worked is because they have divided the jobs and also made the decision not to work in the shop on the same days.
Maureen, 50, said: "When I'm at work Mark's not at work because when we worked together it's just too hard to decide who gets the final say.
"We're always working on communication with the business and kids at home.
"It's having a relationship which is really hard work and then putting financial pressures on top – it makes it hard."
Mark, 47, added: "We have to separate home from business, which isn't always easy. It's easy to discuss the business when we get home after a long day at work, but we have to put in checks so that doesn't impinge too much on your home life."