Shoe Business Tete a Tete

Hi Brooke,

My brother and I are having a tete a tete tomorrow. Things are really coming to a head and my anger and disappointment right now are palpable. I’m feeling really anxious about talking with him tomorrow and truth be told, I’m just feeling so angry at him right now.

He made some unilateral decisions that I absolutely don’t agree with. He communicated with our factory in China without consulting me first about the communication and about the decisions. I’m flipping between boiling rage and deep sadness about this. I’m really worried that we can’t run a business like this and that this will affect our relationship badly.

But the issue that I’m most concerned about is leather. I’m a vegetarian/vegan (100% vegan at home). I feel very strongly about not eating meat mostly because of the horrible conditions that animals are raised in factory farms. Anyway, its something that I feel very strongly about and have chosen not to eat meat and dairy (when I can avoid it). It also impacts what I purchase as I don’t like leather products for the same reasons.

So what does my brother do in this email that he didn’t run by me? He directs the factory to make the shoe samples out of leather. This feels absolutely awful since not only did he do this behind my back, it feels like he’s disregarding me about one of my core values.

So tomorrow I’m going to talk with him about this and let him know that I’m not OK using leather in our shoes and from the beginning my vision was to use fabrics, satins, silks, faux leathers, etc. There are so many gorgeous faux leathers and fabrics out there now that there is no reason that we have to use leather. So this is such a disappointment.

There is no way that I would be part of a business that goes against who I am at my core. I’m going to have to tell him this tomorrow and I’m sure it won’t go over so well. All of this is really making me feel like this partnership is failing and that we will have a very hard time succeeding at this business if we are having such major differences and that we can’t seem to communicate with each other about them. Ughh.

I know that’s “just a thought” but I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, and then he went ahead and did this behind my back. He’s confirming my fears about him and my ability to trust him.

I’m not sure but I think there’s a nuance here that I’m missing. If I try to give him the benefit of the doubt then I don’t give in to my thoughts about him like “I can’t trust him”, “He’s sneaky” “He doesn’t respect my opinions about the business and design.” But then if he goes and does something like this behind my back which feels really sneaky and devious, then giving him the benefit of the doubt does not seem to be the way to go…