Part of our “Better Together” Photo Story series, featured in the February 2017 issue of Inc. Arabia. Insider stories from sibling and spouse pairs in the MENA Region that co-run companies; and the good and bad that comes with running a family business.
Josephine & Khatch Mikaelian – Dubai, UAE-based Siblings
With studios in Madrid and Portugal, Kalian Branding is a design consultancy based in Dubai. Khatch and Josephine are looking to expand their global reach for a more diverse client portfolio in the coming years. The company’s year on year growth is an estimated 12%, they claim.
JOSEPHINE: It was never a matter of if we would ever work together, but when. We were looking for the right time for us to collaborate. Our father and his four siblings run a family business too, and they sit down together every day. We grew up seeing that.
KHATCH: In essence, we complete each other at work. She’s a marketer so she’s always been on the client side, whereas I have always worked on the agency side. What’s great about having Josephine onboard is that I can focus on our creative standards while she helps nurture the company.
We are a very strange combination, sometimes our brains are identical and other times we are complete opposites. We don’t fight, rather, we debate. And we are very open to being convinced by each other.
JOSEPHINE: We used to see each other a lot socially before Kalian, but now we are together every day. There’re multiple hats that you’ve got to constantly juggle between being business partners, family members and siblings. That gets difficult sometimes.
KHATCH: Josephine and I respect each other’s boundaries while making decisions. But once we’re done for the day, I wrestle with her, just to make sure that she remembers that she is still my baby sister first.
JOSEPHINE: In my opinion, the topic of money is the riskiest when forming partnerships with family members. You hear so many horror stories about disputes over this. It is important that your mindset about money doesn’t become a priority.
KHATCH: We both are 100% partners. I don’t make more money than she does. It’s essential to maintain this balance.
Photograph by: Gabriela Maj