How To Run A Family Business: Jewelmer's Marion Branellec De Guzman Speaks To Tatler
The daunting, yet sometimes paradoxical honour of rising to the challenge to take over the ropes of a family business is something that many a son or daughter face. The paradox continues on as this journey is one of privilege, and is yet extremely high pressure, with a lot at stake.
Many of the Philippines’ largest, more successful, thriving and growing businesses are family-owned and family-run. For that matter, there are countless massive global enterprises that are family-run, and proud of it. In fact, the legacy of a brand and its power can stem from the culture that is imbibed by those who manage it. The perspective, know-how and innate knowledge that comes from being born around an industry, surrounded by people passionate about a certain topic, make you very much a part of that word. Some skills and a particular vision can take a lifetime to build, to mould or perfect. What one can learn from generations past is priceless as learning through experience is something truly eye-opening.
Through this interview, we have gained a deeper understanding of the challenges and balance that is needed to drive one’s professional life forward after interviewing second and third-generation family members who have decided to pursue and improve their family operations. Learn from Marion Branellec De Guzman, Marketing Manager of Jewelmer, here:
What are the challenges of working in a family business?
For one, you must work twice as hard to earn your seat at the table as there will be high expectations from the start. There is more pressure to perform here compared to a company where you are relatively unknown. It is also important not to blur the boundaries between the personal and the professional. When you have respect for each other’s roles, it makes it easier to express different viewpoints and arrive at the best solutions. At the end of the day, we all have the same shared goal.
What have you learned from your parents or elders who have been in the business before you?
The lessons I have learned from my parents would be impossible to condense into one paragraph. I learned the value of hard work and not to take anything for granted. It takes 377 meticulous steps and up to five years to produce a single pearl. You cannot give up mid-way, and if you do any step half-heartedly, your mistakes will be reflected in the pearl years later. I also learned from my parents that your mind is your most powerful tool and if you open yourself up to the infinite possibilities of the universe, the right solution will always present itself in any situation.
I would like to do my part to ensure that the legacy of the golden pearl lives on forever.
How can one successfully work with family members?
I think it is valuable to work somewhere else first because this will give credibility to the recommendations you make when you join a family business. Be open to what those who have been in the business before you have to say because they have a wealth of experience. Luckily, my father and Mr Cojuangco both possess a blend of being true to their heritage and the roots of Jewelmer, while also pushing us to continuously evolve.
What legacy do you want to create?
I would like to do my part to ensure that the legacy of the golden pearl lives on forever. To continue to produce the South Sea pearl means that we can protect our oceans and empower the communities that rely on pearl farming efforts. The outer beauty of a pearl is surpassed by its inner beauty and positive impact on the environment. I want future generations to be able to enjoy and appreciate the bounties of nature that we were able to experience as children. Taking care of the pearl is our way of allowing our oceans to remain pristine. I would also like to contribute to the legacy that the South Sea pearl is the national gem of the Philippines, so people all over the world can recognise the precious beauty our country has to offer.