You may be asking yourself, what exactly is a business bestie? A business bestie is not just your friend, but someone that you consider a professional peer. Your business bestie knows that you can hold your own in a two-hour board meeting, but they also know that you probably ordered an iced coffee with two pumps of hazelnut and blasted Beyoncé on the way to that same meeting. We can’t think of two women that personify the business bestie relationship better that Drewe and Kate. Drewe and Kate own a creative studio that helps companies elevate their web presence with beautiful brand imagery, strategic social media management, and powerful content creation. In fact, these two business besties have made a career out of their friendship and mutual support of their professional goals. We sat down with Drewe Smith and Kate Supa to find out exactly makes their relationship work and how they deal with disagreements.
What does a business bestie mean to you?
We have never quite known what to call our relationship until Hustle and Heart last fall and Emily’s talk on “Mentorship Demystified.” Once Emily explained business besties something just clicked. According to Emily, the checklist for knowing if some is your business bestie is:
Someone you can have no filters with.
You interact with them so often that they are probably at the top of your in-case-of-emergency list.
Check, check, and double check. It builds you up professionally while also nurturing your soul.
"The first example I can think of that truly shows our business bestie relationship happened last fall. I had flown cross country to be with sister for my niece’s first birthday. I was in California for less that 12 hours when my sister and I got the call to come home because they were placing my grandfather in hospice care. I jumped on a red eye flight and shot Kate a text to let her know the situation and without missing a beat she took care of all of my work obligations, but even further than that, when I landed back in NC and walked in my front door, Kate had let herself into my home and set up a portable crib for my niece without me even having to ask. I was shown true friendship and professional support when I really needed it the most. And to me, that's the core of what a business bestie is. Your business bestie is the person that is there for you in in all aspects of your life. Thankfully, a lot of time it is way simpler than that. It’s a phone call to ask about culling photos or proofing an article for submission, and it’s also the celebratory drinks when the work gets published." -Drewe
I’ve heard that you two have a great meet-cute. Tell me a little bit about how you met?
Unbeknownst to each of us, we were fangirling over each other’s work. If our lives were a buddy comedy movie, our meeting would have been the perfect cinematic start. Drewe was working as editor-in-chief for a local magazine and Kate had recently moved back to Wilmington and was working as a wedding photographer.
Drewe: “I was super in love with Kate’s photography and how down-to-earth, cool girl she seemed on the internet. I typically didn’t take sales meetings at the magazine, but when I saw Kate’s name on the list I called ‘dibs’ and personally set up a meeting just so I could meet her.”
Kate: “ Honestly, I was a little bit intimidated to meet with Drewe. I mean A STYLIST! And I had been hearing her name everywhere and was such a fan of what she had been doing in this little creative industry of ours. I don’t often think about my online persona, since it’s really who I am, so I was so humbled when I found out that she was such a fan of my work. We really hit it off in a big way and we really just fit together.”
Long story short, for the next issue, Kate ended up coming on board as the staff photographer. We realized we had similar taste and we loved getting to work together. It was just the beginning.
What pushed you from work colleagues and friends to business partners?
“I had a former bride, that worked in the beauty industry, that was starting a blog on all things beauty. I had scheduled her shoot, but she really wanted my input on what to wear and how to accessorize it. I’m definitely not a bad person to ask about styling advice, but when it comes to art direction for photo shoots and thinking through scenes I knew that Drewe was going to be able to take her shoot to the next level. I mentioned to her that she might want to hire a stylist named Drewe Smith to help with all of that. Luckily, she did, and the shoot went so well that the next week I registered our @dreweandkate Instagram handle! -Kate
Drewe: “I think it’s important to note that Kate registered our now business Instagram without even telling me. She asked what I thought about “doing this thing for real.” (I was obviously all in when she asked) and then she goes, “Good, because we already have an Instagram and our name is Drewe and Kate.” Which, in all honesty, is one of my favorite things about our business partnership. She is never afraid to take the leap or push us to our next step.
What does a typical work week look like for you guys?
Honestly, they are all so different. We have a standing Monday meeting that allows us to re-center and get ready for the week ahead. We answer emails, work on internal issues, and go over any upcoming shoots. Then, the rest of the week is open to create. We specialize in branded, lifestyle imagery. This translates to a lot of planning, coordinating, and open communication for each shoot. There has definitely been some trial and error, but we learned what works for us is having one standing meeting at the beginning of the week and only booking one branding shoot per week. On our other days we are typically in client meetings, writing content, and planning for our next branding project.
How do you deal with disagreements?
We are both true capricorns which means disagreements are going to happen. We blame the stars and our tendency to have coffee for breakfast. All joking aside, we’ve found that by being upfront about apprehensions and tuning-in with each others motivations and feelings helps avoid disagreements. We try to be as open and honest as we can and have regular check-ins during the scope of a project to make sure we stay on the same page. It is rare that we are unable to come to an agreement.
Transparency is key when you are in a partnership, and you have to be willing to have those awkward, yet honest, conversations if you are going to make a business work. If we are really having a hard time seeing eye to eye on a project, or with a business decision, we try workshopping the problem first. If that doesn’t work, then we take a “work break” and come back with new eyes.
What advice do you have for our members who are looking to have a business partnership?
Only partner with someone that you know will work as hard as you. This is the key to our success.
Drewe: “I don’t think I could do this if I wasn’t sure that Kate was going to put in her all. I mean there are times when we are up until 1 in the morning together planning and trying to figure out how to make it all work.”
Kate: “If you decide that you want to partner up, know that you don’t get to make the final decision alone, and you need to consider each other’s feelings. Know your strengths, know that your partner will make up for your weaknesses, and be willing to change your mind and step out of your comfort zone.”
Business besties, like any worthwhile relationship, take intention, time, and hard work. Drewe and Kate have this (and amazing creative skills) in spades. Their partnership is not only one of the best business bestie/business partnerships I’ve seen, but their work for The Inspiration Lab™ is everything. For more inspiration, check out their Instagram and their website.