Doug and Melane Nelson have many years of experience working together. Work is where they met, actually, at a pizza place before going off to college.
Fast-forward to now, and they're married with children, and running their own business, Growing Up in St. Petersburg.
"After our second son was born, we found it difficult to find the products we wanted locally," Doug says, explaining that having a family was what inspired them to open their shop, which offers clothing and other products for babies, toddlers and expectant parents. "We wanted parents to be able to have a place where they could see and touch products and have a local expert help them out. Because we had worked together before, it made the process of putting it all together a lot easier."
The Nelsons started the business four years ago and moved into a brick and mortar location in St. Petersburg in 2012.
Running a business is similar to maintaining a relationship, they say.
"Learn when to collaborate, and know when to work individually. Realize what your own strengths are in the business and concentrate on that,” Doug Nelson says.
Melane handles the "big picture” and handpicks the products and employees, while Doug focuses on the day-to-day tasks and spends time in the store.
With two children and a business, Doug says it can be hard to find couple time. But they’ve found a way to eliminate "shop talk” from their "pillow talk.”
"Sometimes the only time we have to discuss the items is at night, but we try to limit that," he says. "One of our best things that has worked is a Facebook group for us and our employees. Any time we need to post tasks or thoughts, it goes there. Then all those little things throughout the day go there instead of waiting until nighttime.”
Part of making a professional relationship just as successful as a personal one, Doug says, is realizing "that you might not always agree on everything, and that’s OK.”
He says as long as you both love your product, understand your customers and problem solve together; you’ll find the key to success, the couple says.
Oh, and one more thing. Always say "I love you."
Growing Up is at 689 Dr. Martin Luther King St. N., St. Petersburg. They can be reached at 727.894.4769.
LocalShops1 is a coalition of hundreds of independently owned businesses and tens of thousands of energetic shoppers with the mission of advocating, promoting and offering support services to companies throughout Tampa Bay. Founded in August 2008, LocalShops1 is the region's most active voice for small businesses.