This International Women's Day, the Kennedy sisters' from la Casa del Caffe talk about getting on in life and the coffee business.
The three of us have been working together at la Casa for 17 years, actually it's been a few years longer for Louise and Therase. We've certainly met a few bumps along the way but we generally respect one another's opinion and aren't constantly battling if our opinions differ.
We are not competitive about work, rather we complement each other in terms of skill sets. While there is a common goal and understanding, we naturally have different views, styles of work and ideas. We have found that what’s important, is how you manage and communicate those differences. We didn’t get that right for a while, but we put a lot of thought into our working relationship by spending time reviewing our roles in the business and how we communicate with each other.
That's not to say we don't have challenges in this area, it can be harder working with siblings because you tend to be less patient and you know what buttons to push. We have developed communication channels, and created processes and procedures to make it all run smoothly (most of the time).
Another advantage siblings often have, especially sisters, is that whole communication without words thing. One sister may ask for an update and the other will often reply "funny, I was just emailing so and so about that". I think it's got a lot to do with supporting each other but we also share the same vision for the business. At the end of the day, because we are sisters and we have known each other all our lives, we can work together to achieve that vision without competing and placing too much importance on our own pride.
Our parents love the fact that we all work together. They are really proud of us, as we are of them for what they have accomplished in their lives and in the business. There wouldn't be a la Casa del Caffe without them.
The best part of working with siblings is trust. We have each others back, so working together is never a gamble. The worst part is having differences because someone inevitably has to give in, or you don’t get anywhere.
Although, there is one thing we can never agree on and that's how we have our la Casa coffee. Louise has espresso, Nicole is a soy latte drinker and Therase prefers a plunger but it's always la Casa del Caffe.
When it comes to the crunch, we can put our differences aside and focus on what's important and that is the needs of the business and our customers.
Women own and run many of the small businesses we supply coffee to and many of them are family operated. According to the latest Australian Census (2016) data, the growth in female owner-operators is happening at a faster rate than men, with the number of female owner managers up 7.6% over the last decade (now at 504,838), compared to a rise of just 0.3% for men.
Gender equality is really important and it has proven to be positive for the Australian economy, for businesses, for local communities, for families, for men and women. In the coffee industry, women contribute at all levels of the global coffee value chain from farm to cup. In fact women account for 70% of the coffee labour work.
Happy International Women's Day Friday 8 March 2019 - let's achieve #BalanceforBetter and gender equality everyday of the year