Taking over the family business...

So, I’m faced with a challenge in the coming years (5+)…What to do with my successful Dad’s glass art studio??? I’m currently a mid-level Industrial Designer with zero know how on how to run a business and perhaps a little too baby faced to be barking orders at people lol.

My question is, has anyone been in a similar position to turn and/or save the family business. More so, somehow modify the business and process into something geared towards ID. All the materials, fabricating, and even art gallery networks are in place but I have no idea what to do with it…(housewares maybe???) but how could I attract big name clients (Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Target)??? OR even build a Brand off the traditions of my father’s successes…(hire branding firm, business team, outside ID firm to build potential product line???)

Any advice or similar experience would be helpful…thought I’d finally seek outside advice and post this question rather than fantasizing and mulling it over in my head for the billionth time.



I have no idea what to do with it…

First off, I would advise you to not mess it up. I’m seeing in excess of ten pages of google refs for Stankard items and places to buy them; you have one hell of a platform to build upon.

Your ID portfolio is strong. You have identified the “problem” yourself; it is time to be increasing your business and marketing acumen. I believe a lot of the other questions you have about growing the firm will answer themselves when you do.

This is a very personal question; Do you and your father, not talk that much? What are his views on the future of the business?

Lmo, thanks for the reply and thanks for the portfolio compliment.

The conversation about what to do next hasn’t been brought up in regards to the company…thats in part because I haven’t initiated it yet and one reason why I posted. I wanted to understand what types of resources I would need to bring into the picture (business consultation, brand management, maybe even outside ID firm for second gen product line…).

I’m definately preparing for down the road and wanted to get my head straight with regards to what potentially could be needed to grow the company and generate new money, new products and new sales channels. I’m excited for the future and confident something great could happen with the right team behind the idea.

If anyone else has any similiar stories please throw them in the mix, I’m very interested.

I have started my own business but a slightly different scenario…I have partners. If you’re looking to join your father and then take over the business after a few years, that’s one thing. But if your father is leaving as you come in, that is another. I have trouble believing that he will hand it over, lock stock and barrel w/o working you through the business acumen parts of it.

Your father is, effectively, your business partner. My biggest recommendation to you is to most definitely NOT make any decisions or formulate any plans like your considering in isolation.

Your father has invested a huge amount of time and passion into this business and it is awefully disrespectful to think you can/should come in and change it w/o consulting with him on it. You may find, that he would rather sell the company and provide you with proceeds to start your own business rather than change what he’s built.

Businesses are very personal, as you’re already finding out by examining what you think you want to do with it.

Talk to him. Learn from him how you can build that business acumen to develop, foster and grow those channels into the type of business that keep you fulfilled.