July 7

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Serial Entrepreneur Discusses Partnerships

By Mimi MacLean

July 7, 2020


Celeste Markey Image

Partnerships can make or break a company. Celeste Markey is the co-founder and CEO of Careste, a direct to consumer fashion startup out of San Francisco that creates chic sustainably made clothing individually designed for each customer on demand. As Celeste described her partner Elizabeth on the Badass CEO podcast, she said that they “could not be more suited for one another.”

Your business partner needs to have had entrepreneurial experience, but it’s not super relevant if it was successful or not. Celeste Markey finds “that if you have failed, you learn more than if you were successful.” Your partner needs to understand that it is going to be a long grind, and that person needs to be optimistic enough to know that you are going to see it through. Finally, you and your partner need to compliment each other so that the total equals more than just the whole. You both need to have the same long term vision for what you want for your company.

When you are starting a business, you and your partner cannot expect any immediate financial benefit. I always say that it takes twice as much time and twice as much money as you think. Even if you are well funded, that money is to fuel the business and acquire customers, not to pay the founders right out of the gate. As angel investors, my husband and I avoid investing in companies where our money is funding the founders’ salaries. I want to know that the founders have skin in the game as well.

Celeste found that it is vital to find a partner with a similar work ethic. Otherwise, that could lead to unbalanced workloads and frustration. Celeste and Elizabeth both love working. They could work 15 hour days, every day of the week, and be completely fulfilled. I also enjoy working, so it doesn’t phase me to work long days. However, everyone has different working styles. In her experience, Celeste believes it is essential to set work expectations with your partner from the beginning to prevent future conflicts.

It’s also crucial that you and your partner take time to reset away from work. Think about a family road trip…if you are always close to the same person or tired, little things might start to annoy you. Celeste’s tips for staying inspired and motivated include: using the calm app for a 10-minute meditation every day, squeezing in a quick 20-minute workout from her sweat app, and setting aside designated family time.

To listen to Celeste Markey’s full interview on the Badass CEO podcast, click here.

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