In our continuing collaboration with Atrium.Brussels, the regional agency for retail, we gather tips and tricks from four local family businesses about navigating the often-treacherous, slippery slope that can be going into business with someone from your own clan.


Joaquim Jr. (1985) and Joaquim Sr. (1955) opened Forcado, a bakery selling traditional Portuguese pastries, a good two years ago. Joaquim Sr. had previously managed a Portuguese restaurant and bakery, giving him a head-start in the business, which his son came to complement on the marketing side with an MBA under his arm. “Dad already had an exquisite product but lacked experience in marketing,” he says by way of explaining the logic behind the duo pairing up. Indeed, a clear division of tasks and responsibilities allows Joaquim Sr. to focus solely on his true specialty, making and perfecting his product, while Joaquim Jr. oversees logistical, administrative and promotional duties. And despite their age-gap and different set of skills, the unbreakable trust that exist between the two ensures they continue to learn from each other on a daily basis. It’s challenging, yes, but as long as you keep the business and private separate everything works out,” says Joachim Jr. by way of closing argument. Amen.

196 Chaussée de Charleroi (1060)

Mellow sisters

Margaux (1989) and Noémie (1986) wanted to live off what they love, which is offering delicious and homemade food to others, and opened the Mellow Kitchen early 2015. Before that, Noémie was running her food truck, ‘La Boule Rose’, with Margaux often helping her out. Very quickly, the sisters realized they made a good team and decided to get into business together. The complimentary of their skills remains central, with Margaux the business-savvy manager there to keep Noémie’s creative mind in check. And while they admit to having small arguments from time to time, both of them make it a point of remaining honest and open – always. “They are moments that are worse than others, but we prefer remembering the good ones,” they both say. We couldn’t agree more.

10 Place de Londres (1050)


While living in London, sisters Caroline and Sandy were intrigued and inspired by the city’s many innovative culinary concepts. And despite her law degree, Caroline is a real foodie that always dreamed of opening her own restaurant, resulting in both sisters soon deciding to partner up, undaunted at the prospect of spending so much time together. Assisted by their mother Martine and her invaluable retail experience, they opened Beli, a Lebanese-inspired restaurant with a mouth-watering selection of mezze platters. And while they readily admit that tasks and responsibilities were a little less defined at the start of their venture, with everyone doing a bit of everything, things are now much more organized thanks to the sister’s ability to let their respective talents shine through and co-exist.

11 Rue Joseph Stevens (1000)


Having toyed with the idea of opening a business together for a long time, one that’d act as a reflection of their own ideas and ideals, Charlotte (1988) and Marie (1986) finally opened Idyl, a conscious beauty salon, in September of this year. Noting that interaction, the fluid exchanging of ideas and communication are all three crucial aspects of successfully running a business, they admit that in their case, these things came naturally. Indeed, Marie is a certified esthetician specialized in aromatherapy, and Charlotte has longstanding experience with communication and event planning, so the complementary process of individual responsibilities was a done deal. Add to that their totally uninhibited relationship that allows for frankness and transparency, also family business essentials, and you have yourself a winning formula.

37, Rue Tasson Snel (1060)