India is witnessing a surge in entrepreneurial spirit. India’s new business owner, is driven less by profit and economics, and more by passion. But no matter how driven an entrepreneur, everyone needs a partner, a buddy, a motivating force like a writer needs a muse. And if that partner also happens to be your life partner, what could be better than that? We introduce you to three couples from Mumbai, all heading interesting and unique companies, who brought their togetherness to work. Juhi and Vikram Chheda – Custom Holidays Copywriter Juhi and stock broker Vikram met, fell in love and decided to get married, just like any other couple. They didn’t realize how much life would change after their honeymoon. In a bid to get the honeymoon they wanted, they went from one agent to another and were met by unaffordable deals, predictable packages and tourist traps. So they decided to do things on their own. They put in hours of research, searching the internet for deals, making phone calls, reading travel guides, and finally planned their holiday, to Italy, Turkey and Greece. They had the time of their life, and came back with pictures and stories that would inspire envy. Better yet, they did it all at half the cost quoted to them by travel agents. It wasn’t long before their friends started begging them to plan their holidays. Since they were so good at it, and enjoyed planning travel itineraries together, they began accepting these little assignments. Their love for planning grew so much, that they formed their own company ‘Custom Holidays’. Thus, their marriage became a business partnership which is already 3½ years old! “Working together makes us feel like we really are ‘made for each other’ because even though our processes are different we most often come up with the same solutions at work.” says Juhi. You learn so much more about a person when you see them at work, in a professional environment. Juhi certainly feels like she saw a completely different side of Vikram when he started working with him. “When we were dating he was just a stock broker working in his family business, but I discovered that at heart he’s a traveler and is much more passionate than he lets on!” This couple of travel-bugs has proven that there is a way of harmoniously bringing together love, passion and profit! Megha and Pawan Deokule – i2cook Megha started her career as an architect, but her love for food slowly drew her away from the drafting table and into the kitchen. By 2011 she launched i2cook with much encouragement from her husband Pawan. I2cook makes organic food products (like peanut butter & pink mustard), and supplies them to over 50 stores across the country. But she definitely could not have achieved this kind of reach without the help of her life partner. When Megha was toying with the idea of starting i2cook Pawan was heading his own start-up, a digital marketing company called Digicat. But when Megha’s business started growing he decided to get involved. “I was running i2cook until last year.” Megha explains, “Pawan has always been my advisor and the decision to work together was more gradual and organic. He is now a partner in i2cook, and we’re in the process of expanding our business, with a new processing centre in Bangalore.” They both have strong individual identities, so one would imagine working together is challenging. “We realized the hard way that work should be left in the office and not brought home. You cannot show love to your partner and your work at the same time, each has its own place and time.” – a word of advice for any couple planning on working together! Shweta Deliwala and Apurva Kothari – No Nasties No Nasties is an organic t-shirt brand started by Apurva Kothari and Diti Koetcha, who both shared a passion for organic farming & fair trade. They together created a fashion brand with a conscience. Diti moved on in a bit, so Apurva now heads a small team of equally passionate people, one of whom is his lovely wife Shweta. Before Apurva started social venture No Nasties he was an I.T. professional. As their website explains, technology, lasers and microchips stopped making him happy. He found new passion and purpose at No Nasties. His wife, Shweta is a fashion designer who had been heading her own label for several years. Apurva entered her domain, by making clothing, so it seemed only natural that she join the process. She’s now completely involved in No Nasties, as their chief fashion-designer, responsible for the t-shirts’ great fit. Their roles just symbiotically fit together, he handles the business strategy and marketing, while she can focus on aesthetics and design. They say that the easiest personal relationships are those where individuals complement each other, and make up for the other’s shortcomings. These couples show us that these rules are relevant even at work! Want to share your story or that f a friend? Write to us at [email protected], we would love to hear from you.