Ever found yourself leaving thoughtful Post-it notes for a colleague, covering for them when they’re sick, playing the role of a therapist or missing them at the office when they’re not around? We’re seeing the rise of the ‘work spouse’ globally as more women find their ‘work soulmates’, inevitably depending on them as the singular source of comfort at the workplace and outside of it. Even in this time of Zoom and #WFH, a work wife is essentially a workplace go-to—someone who inspires you, keeps you sane and cheers you on. These co-founders are no different. Whether they’re friends who went into business together or met by chance and built a brand, one thing remains certain—their work wives are their safe space. They talk about why the best partnerships come in pairs.
KARLA GALLARDO AND SHILPA SHAH
How they met: “We met serendipitously on a tour of Stanford University, where Karla was a second-year B-school student and I was a prospective student,” says Shah. “I introduced myself as an interaction designer and mother. At the time, she was working on a product for mothers, for which she happened to need an interaction designer.” They worked on it together, and two years later they were building Cuyana.
The secret sauce: “Having the same values, a commonality in work ethic and complementary skill sets are important. While Karla is more analytical, I’m the storyteller,” says Shah. They’ve been able to rely on each other in every aspect of their lives, from dancing at a club in Madrid after a conference to sharing the birth of their children and travelling the world on business. “There’s incredible ease that is only attained by going through the trenches together. We know each other so well that we can often finish each other’s sentences.”
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