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THE INC. LIFE

Why These Married Co-Founders Refuse to Talk Business at Home (but They Will Watch ‘Jeopardy’)

“Even though we are a husband and wife team, and we can talk to each other whenever, we’ve realized that things have changed,” says Vicki

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BY Emily Canal - 20 Nov 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

For Vicki and Rich Fulop, the married co-founders of the Brooklinen, staying productive means scheduling time for nearly everything--including their professional conversations.

"Even though we are a husband-and-wife team--and we can talk to each other whenever-- we've realized that things have changed," says Vicki. "We actually had to schedule time to touch base with each other during the workday."

Brooklinen, which sells luxury bedding and home accoutrements at an affordable price, has generated more than $50 million in sales since the pair launched the startup in 2014. The company launched its fourth sheet collection in November and raised $10 million in Series A funding from FirstMark Capital in March.

The key to finding balance in their busy lives is keeping the business-related conversations to the working hours. It draws a line between their professional and personal life, says the couple. But that wasn't always the case.

Vicki and Rich say they used to talk shop all day when they started Brooklinen. At the time, the couple was running the business from their apartment, coffee shops, or co-working spaces--which meant they were next to each other constantly. "Once we got our office space and started hiring people to work for and with us," Rich says, "that's when it became more official that we had to delineate between the two modes of work and personal."

Both agree that the transition happened naturally when the company hit a growth spurt in the second quarter of 2016. While their communication habits were shaped naturally by the growth of their company, other things--like morning routines--took time to hone.

For Vicki, having a productive day means starting with something positive. After she wakes up and catches up on the news, she makes herself a cup of tea and watches a recording of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen. "Its very funny and I like to start off my day in a good mood," says Vicki. After that, she walks the dog and gets ready for work.

Rich has his own version of Cohen's show. He tends to the couple's new garden, giving him a chance to spend about 20 minutes outside. "It's kind of soothing and I clear my thoughts when I do that," Rich says. Three days a week he'll work out in the mornings before tackling the garden, then he heads into the office.

Just because they don't discuss customer service tickets or revenue figures at home doesn't mean the co-founders aren't spending time with each other. Vicki and Rich end the day with their nightly tradition of watching Jeopardy together.

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