The Work-Love Balance

On being in business with a life partner: “We’ve had our fair share of Sid and Nancy moments, but there is nobody in the world I trust more.”
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TRANSCRIPT

Question: What’s been the biggest challenge of running your own company? 

Andrew Goetz: I think the biggest challenge in running your own company is running your own company. When we started it was the two of us and we were packing the boxes and now I think we’re at twenty something people and so you have a different set of problems that you have six years down the road than you did when it was just the two of us. And the biggest challenge is adjusting to those new responsibilities and those new challenges and managing everything. 

Matthew Malin: Maybe just never being able to sort of stop, too. I would say that is probably one of the biggest challenges for me. And I don’t say this from a negative perspective because I actually really love what we do, but it’s so all the time, 24 hours a day. 

Andrew Goetz: Yes, technology has allowed us to continue 24/7 and of course… 

Matthew Malin: But you don’t know that until you do it. 

Andrew Goetz: The brand is eponymous, so our name is on it. Not that it would make a difference one way or the other, but you’re company when you’re an entrepreneur is your child and you spend a lot of time with your child all the time. 

Andrew Goetz: Or one of the challenges is saying all right basta, cut, I’m going to balance my life and do something; not think of Malin and Goetz every waking moment. And that’s hard because it is an addiction and we live in New York where that addiction is a prime real estate for that. You see a lot of people doing the same thing and I think that is a challenge, but we’re trying to work on that. 

Question: What’s it like being both business partners and life partners? 

Matthew Malin: It was more of a challenge in the beginning. I always say that like my response to that question, because we get asked it a lot is that it’s like when you first move in with somebody for the very first time. The first few weeks are bliss and it’s great and you’re in love and have all this stuff. And then a month or two later, you’re fighting over the sock drawer and you’re learning to adjust to each other’s idiosyncrasies and the little things about living together. 

Andrew Goetz: I think there are definitely challenges. Most of the things are benefits. No doubt, our office can attest that we’ve had our fair share of Sid and Nancy moments and I think those personal boundaries become a little too overexposed in the office just because you’re used to that dynamic. I would like to assuage that as much as possible. On the other hand, there is nobody in the world I trust more, so unlike a regular business partner where you may have a certain decorum where you want to say these things, but you can’t. And it builds up and it creates tension and animosity. Usually we can clear the air fairly quickly when there is a disagreement. I would say the biggest problem is when there are disagreements, they tend to be we’re onstage, so, which is unpleasant. 

Matthew Malin: I feel from my own personal perspective that I was much more protective of our personal relationship having gone into this business because we are so different. We are so opposite and I anticipated disagreements and I really didn’t want that to affect our personal life. We already had a successful personal life and we didn’t need to sacrifice that for a successful business, so I may have been more conscious of that going into this in the respect that I didn’t give the relationship from a business perspective as fair of a chance in the very beginning and I think once we sort of ironed out the idiosyncrasies of living together again for the first time it’s been fine. We sort of fight and shrug it off and move on because it’s the best thing for the business 

Andrew Goetz: Yeah, but you know every relationship has its moments and you know we’re no different for sure. 

Matthew Malin: We just celebrated 17 years together in February, so it’s still going. 

Andrew Goetz: Business is going. We’re going. 

Question: How do your business skills compliment one another? 

Matthew Malin: How are we the same? That’s really the question. 

Andrew Goetz: Like we’re very black and white. I mean honestly I mean it’s… 

Matthew Malin: Andrew definitely has a much more creative mind. He thinks very detailed, very specific. He works on the project. I think that I’m much more analytical. I think much bigger, longer term. I plan farther in advance. That’s some sort of general business concepts, but you know just personally I mean… 

Andrew Goetz: It’s very yin and yang. If one says black, the other one says white, so in some ways that is very good because when we find middle ground on something to agree we know it has legs to stand on, so when we’re developing something and if I hate it or he hates it we know it’s not right and when we find things that we can have a union about we know that that’s a good idea. 

Matthew Malin: Andrew really has oily resilient skin. I’m dry and sensitive. I mean everything about us… And the brand is really built around this idea of how these two opposite extremes create balance, so a cleanser and a moisturizer how they ph balance your skin and they are these very opposite ideas and the kind of technology or natural ingredients that go into those being opposite, but complimentary and the two of us, how we’ve sort of complimented each other and made each other better and made this business better because we come from such opposing ideas and places. 

Recorded on March 19, 2010