Here we have Salma Hussein and Perihan Kharma founders of Soup Design House. Even though they established their brand not so long ago, they’ve been collaborating together for years. Here’s what they had to tell us about successful partnership and how to make them work.
SOUP is a brand born in Cairo. We are always asked if we are based in Egypt and if our products are produced and designed here. We can proudly say yes! Our brand is quirky, our taste is a bit unique, not designs that you will see everywhere, especially not here in Egypt. We design our products from scratch. We start by designing the fabric and execute our ideas until we reach the end product.
That of course does not make it easy, the majority like to be on the safe side, using neutral colors and so we’re trying to show that being a bit quirky can be fun and make your space stand out. We’ve made major progress since we launched in June 2018, and we’re working on a few exciting things. Sometimes we feel like our brand is misunderstood but that only motivates us to work more and design more.
We’re mostly inspired by art, nature, and the unusual. We can say that colors and nature really influence our work. These are all things we feel give life to a space or piece of furniture. We both hope that along the way that here in Egypt people try to go a bit funky when furnishing their homes, but we also understand it’s a matter of taste at the end of the day.
When Do You Decide That Working with a Partner Is Best for You to Start a Business, Compared to Working Alone?
The pros of working with a partner definitely outweigh the cons. We both actually used to work separately before starting SOUP. We can see a major difference now that this is a partnership. We like to think of our work as teamwork because neither of us can decide on something without the other. Thankfully, we agree 95% of the time, we have very similar taste and we share the same goals.
How Do You Know This Partner Is the Perfect One for You?
There is no such thing as a perfect partner, there will always be ups and downs in business, partnership, relationship, or friendship. It’s just super important to trust your partner and to be understanding with one another knowing that both of you are doing the best you can with what you have.
In our case we’ve known each other for years, we were colleagues, then each of us started our own brand and would collaborate and eventually started our very own SOUP. So time is also an important factor when choosing a partner or team to work with, we’ve gotten to know each other’s qualities, flaws, and capabilities.
Your business partner is someone you will be in touch with every single day, so it must be someone you get along with, and someone who will get the job done if you’re unable to attend to it. There will always be bumps in the road, you both just need to power through.
How Do You Decide Who Handles Which End of the Work You Do, or Do You Do Everything Together?
Like we said one can not make a decision without the other. But we try to split the work between us as much as we can to save time. At first, we used to both work on the same exact task but now we’ve learned to equally split the work because then more gets done, but with the input of both of us of course.
What Do You Do When You Both Can’t Agree on Something You Want to Do Business Wise?
We try to find common ground. We discuss it, try to figure out the result of both options and we eventually end up doing what is best for SOUP, even when that means more work for us.
How Do You Suggest Business Partners Not Let Their Personal Relationship Affect Their Work Relationship?
Emotions will always get in the way because we are only human at the end of the day. But the best thing to do is to always talk it out. If one of us is upset with the other we don’t hold back and we talk about it, to avoid the same problem coming up again.