Two boss ladies. Two spectating husbands. One interview to see what it’s like to be men supporting women in the C-suite.
What did you think when your wife first told you she was starting a business?
Jess: We met after she had started the business, so I will answer with my reaction to her telling me she owned a business. I was highly impressed. Having worked for a start-up, I know there is an incredible amount of stress and hard work that goes into owning your own business. I also wasn’t surprised. From the first time we met, I knew Clair was a strong person, and it takes a strong person to start his or her own business.
Chris: About damn time.
Has your dynamic changed?
Jess: When we first met, Clair was working a full-time job plus co-running her own business. Since then, she’s jumped head first into building Witty Kitty, and I have seen a drastic change. She loves what she does and working for herself. This has made her overall happiness skyrocket; which in turn makes our relationship stronger.
Chris: Maybe we eat out a little more often? [laughs] Caroline seems more relaxed amidst the chaos.
How do you feel about your wife’s entrepreneur schedule?
Jess: Her schedule is inconsistent most of the time. It ranges from slow days to 16-hour days. The frustrations are there, but there aren’t too many. Most of the time, I love the flexibly that comes with Clair owning her own business. Even on the long days, I know Clair will do what it takes to succeed, and I will do what it takes to support that.
Chris: I think it’s good and bad. Some days, there isn’t any time for normal life and other days Carolins is as free as a bird. That can create friction based on whatever is going on in our lives. Say we have plans and stuff comes up—Caroline has to work at the drop of a hat. Sometimes she’s insanely busy for days on end.
What’s the weirdest thing your wife has done to help her business succeed?
Jess: All the weird stuff she wears when she does marketing photo shoots. The kitty ears stick out in my mind.
Chris: Order cat toys to give out to people at a professional event.
What quality do you think helps your wife the most as a woman business owner?
Jess: Persistence. Clair refuses to give up or give in.
Chris: Bossiness. Assertiveness. Caroline’s on top of it all the time.
Who cooks dinner more?
Chris: Caroline. Plus she makes sourdough, and harvest honey from her hive, and takes care of the animal kids. It’s impressive.
Why do you love that your wife owns a business?
Jess: Clair is chasing her dreams and doing something she truly loves. I believe that one of the most important and rare things in life to love what you do. Clair has found this.
Chris: Caroline doesn’t have to answer to “the man” anymore, she’s happier, and maybe one day I can retire early.
Are there any downsides to your wife owning a business?
Jess: The stress and pressure are the main downsides I can think of. It comes with the territory of owning your own business, but stress and pressure can take a toll on anyone. I am not going to lie and say there are no rough days.
Chris: Caroline can’t go on a normal vacation—even though she can technically take as much time off as she wants. Owning a business is super stressful, more stressful than being an employee.
Now that you’re married to a woman who owns a business, are you more inclined to advocate for men supporting women in your workplace?
Jess: I feel like this is a trick question. [laughs] I have always been a strong advocate for women in my workplace. Being married to Clair affirms my opinion that woman are an extremely important part of any workforce.
Chris: Caroline’s past experience working for other employers actually made me realize what women in the workplace go through—more so than owning her own business. It’s easy as a white man to forget what it’s like for women, but I see it every day and try to remember it when I’m in a position to help. Men supporting women is important at work and at home.
Want to read more about men supporting women in the workplace? Read the top things men should never say to women.