Our lovely goods founders

Should couples work together? The reality of working with your partner

Feeling lonely
With Ebi Sinteh & Emmanuel Sinteh, founders of Our Lovely Goods


Is working with your spouse a good or bad idea? What are the pros and cons of partnering with your partner? Husband and wife team Ebi Sinteh and Emmanuel Sinteh share some especially golden advice…

Our Lovely Goods: meet the founders of the brilliant homeware brand

Ebi Sinteh and her husband Emmanuel Sinteh founded homeware brand Our Lovely Goods in June 2019 from their garage in Aberdeen, whilst raising their young daughters. When the couple became parents they started to really think about the products they brought into their home and saw a niche in the market for homeware with a story that was more personal. They started liaising with business partners in their native Nigeria to create products which celebrate their Nigerian roots.

Starting a business with your partner: making the dream come true

Their passion for artisan Nigerian finds was apparent as soon as they met. “One of our first conversations was about our love of interiors and how we both wanted to start a business. Our dream became a reality.” The couple started off with candles and skincare before going into luxury homeware. Emmanuel said, “I grew up in Nigeria and moved to Aberdeen aged 25. I went back in 2018 and was inspired, and I knew these products would do well in the UK.” which they did — until the pandemic and Brexit happened, the cost of living crisis kicked in and supplier bills rose steeply.

Sadly, like many other small businesses, they closed their doors in summer 2023, despite many successes including writing a candle book, featuring on TV programmes, collaborating with other amazing makers and more. However, when it comes to working and living together, Ebi and Emmanuel have gleaned some golden advice and shared their top tips for making it work.

Do couples that work together stay together?

That depends entirely on the couple. But there are some important considerations and some brilliant business advice from Ebi and Emmanuel…

  • Outline clear roles and take ownership of them. “It takes away having to tell each other what to do!” Ebi said. Ebi was Creative Director and did all the social media, visual direction and product development for the brand, while Emmanuel looked after operations, logistics, and the stuff that Ebi admits she’s no good at. They both agreed this helped.
  • Make time for date nights and be romantic too. “We tried to separate the two by having regular date nights. We love going out to eat, we need to do that more. We’re tired of cooking and takeaways!” They also shared how they made time to tell each other that they love each other. Ebi adds, “It’s easy to treat each other as colleagues so tell each other you love each other. I know it’s a cliché, but it means so much.”
  • Think how you’ll split the childcare if you have kids. It’s important to plan well but also just to go with the flow as sometimes, there’s no other way. Emmanuel said, “Usually, we took one child each. If we had something pressing on during a week of no sleep, it could be a real strain on the business.”
  • Face into the tough times together. “We could get cranky with each other so we had to be very aware of that, acknowledge it and realise that sometimes running a business and family is far from easy. We also learnt to smile through it and embrace the madness together.”

You can hear more advice from husband and wife team, James and Florence Kennedy, founders of Petalon on this — who appeared on the Conversations of Inspiration podcast to talk about finding their 'Good Life'.

Our Lovely Goods
“One of our first conversations was about our love of interiors and how we both wanted to start a business. Our dream became a reality.”
Ebi & Emmanuel Sinteh
Our Lovely Goods Family

The pros and cons of working with your spouse

When it comes to working together, of course, there are pros and cons…

  • Ebi said, “It’s good that you don’t have to schedule a meeting with each other, you can just do it while cooking dinner which helps things flow a lot better, but it also means you never switch off!”
  • You sometimes only talk about work. They said, “We could forget that we’re a couple and bicker. We think, and hope, there were more pros than cons though!”
  • The couple had witnessed some sexism from the Nigerian community. Emmanuel said, “When I went back to Nigeria and told them that my wife and I are co-founders and 50/50, they assumed that I was the boss and she was my assistant so I’ve had to explain that my wife produced the products by herself and I couldn’t do any of this without her.”
  • Ebi also explained that this happens on both sides, “People assumed that all the creativity came from me but we came up with ideas together, Emmanuel didn’t just do all the muscle stuff, we were in it together.”
  • As a founder, it can be hard to know how to combat loneliness, but when you’re working with your best friend and partner, that’s not such a challenge as you’re very much in it together.

Talking about the highs, Ebi had a real pinch-me moment when Elle Decoration got in touch to feature them in the magazine. She said, “Being featured in Elle Decoration was just insane, it felt like we’d really made it.” Our Lovely Goods were also approached by Anthropologie online which was another milestone moment. Getting to experience these kinds of joys together can bring you closer in a really unique way.

Working with your partner: key takeaways…

When closing the business, the couple left a beautiful message on Instagram for their thousands of followers saying, “Thank you again for being part of our candlelit journey. Your support has touched us deeply, and we are forever grateful. Let's continue to ignite the flame of creativity, connection, and joy in our lives. 🕯️✨With so much love, Ebi & Emmanuel x” — a lovely message from a lovely couple. Here are their top tips:

1. When running a business with your spouse, have patience:

Ebi shares, “We had to teach ourselves to juggle managing a business, a house, young children, the office and most importantly your love for each other. We had to try to compartmentalise each one.”

2. Remember you are not just business partners:

From time to time, take a break away from your working environment and really look at your partner as a lover, not just as a business partner. It’s vital to have that time out to focus on your relationship.

3. Always make time to say ‘I love you’:

It’s the three magic words that can reframe everything. Good luck!

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