Ask most families in India and they will tell you that two sisters-in-law working together is a big no-no! In fact, if it isn’t working with your parents, don’t mix family and work — that’s the fundamental approach to mixing the two, according to most. 

Well, neither our parents ever stopped us nor did we hesitate for one second before taking the plunge. For us, working together was a no brainer. We got along as sisters-in-law and as friends and we had the same fashion and business sense, so why not start working together?!

Not only did our families not dissuade us, they actively encouraged it. In fact, the day we decided to start Saaksha & Kinni, my father-in-law (who is Kinni’s father) told me one thing. He said: “If ever things don’t work out, give it all to Kinni. Don’t expect a single thing in return. If you’re prepared to do that then jump in with both feet.” 

Little did I know he said the exact same thing to Kinni about me! Until recently, neither of us brought it up to one another; that was until a candid interview brought that memory back. And what was funny, was that both our immediate answers were ‘Of course!’ 

I think that is the secret to our success (in terms of working together successfully): the complete trust and faith in one another that no amount of money, disagreement or success would ever be put before the friendship and relationship. 

Working together has been easy because clear boundaries were demarcated right from the beginning. Kinni has her departments and I have mine, and neither of us interferes in the other’s (apart from giving our suggestions now and again). That way, we get to concentrate fully on our own field, with complete faith that the other person is working to her full capacity in the other. 

Saaksha Bhat (left) and her sister-in-law Kinni are happy to have decided to work together. If anything, it has strengthened their bond. Photo courtesy: Saaksha & Kinni

When we do disagree, it comes down to whose department it is. That person has the final say. It works when there is mutual respect and you genuinely give someone the opportunity to give their reasoning. 

We also have a clear ‘off’ button —  time spent together where we make sure we do not discuss work and just spend good old fashioned quality family time together. It has become important for us not to blur the lines. When we are at the office it’s business as usual and the minute we leave the door, it’s back to being ‘us’. 

When people ask us if mixing work and family makes for good business — we say, ‘Absolutely — we wouldn’t have it any other way!’