Five businesses you didn’t know were family run

Business news and opinion

16 June 2017

Turning a family relationship into a business one is often incredibly rewarding. Working with and learning from parents can be an invaluable experience for both family members.

Here are a few flourishing businesses where sons and daughters have followed in their parent’s footsteps.

Estée Lauder

The global beauty business was co-founded by husband and wife Joseph and Estée Lauder in 1946. Their sons Leonard and Ronald joined the family company too and focused on geographical and product expansion. It paid off, and Estée Lauder went public in 1995 at a value of roughly $2 billion. But it hasn't totally left the family – the founders’ grandson William is Executive Chairman, with granddaughters Aerin and Jane also involved.

Fitness First, Jatomi Fitness, and 1Rebel

Mike Balfour launched Fitness First in 1992, in an old squash court. He sold the company for £835 million in 2005 – but not before his son James had caught the fitness bug. In 2008, father and son started Jatomi Fitness, a chain covering Asia and Eastern Europe. James also recently launched high-end London club 1Rebel – and his dad is an investor and board member.

The Stein Family

Celebrity chef Rick Stein and his family have built up such a renowned restaurant business that their Padstow base is known as 'Padstein'. Husband and wife Rick and Jill opened their first seafood eatery in 1975 and fame eventually followed, along with a chain of acclaimed restaurants. Son Jack is also a chef, and became Chief Director of Steins in 2017. His brothers Edward and Charlie oversee the interior design and wine lists respectively.

Westons Cider

The cider-making company has been in the Weston family since the late 19th century. The current generation of Weston cider-makers is headed by MD Helen Thomas, the great-granddaughter of founder Henry Weston, with her son and two of her brothers working alongside her.

Supreme Creations

Sri Ram founded Supreme Creations over 20 years ago. His company is now the world’s biggest manufacturer of eco-friendly packaging, and he co-runs it with his daughter, Smruti Sriram. On her graduation, Smruti asked her father if she could work for him to gain experience in the business world and he agreed – as long as she was willing to start at the bottom and work her way up. The work experience turned into a career and, eight years on, Smruti is CEO of the company.

This Father’s Day, we’re looking at businesses where fathers have inspired sons and daughters to take on the family trade. Take a look at our Small Business Story series where we speak to Chris Stephens of W Stephens & Sons about his inspiration and hopes for his own son in the future.