We absolutely love seeing mothers and daughters come together to build businesses and carry on family traditions like Kim and Ashlyn from The Pasta Shoppe (based in Thunder Bay, ON) have. We asked this mother-daughter business duo some questions about their business partnership, what it's really like working together as a mother-daughter business and any tips they have for up and coming mother-daughter duos. Enjoy!
How did your business come together?
"Picture this: Thunder Bay, 1995 inside warm and cozy home. A dinner table set for twelve, A crisp white tablecloth and china plates, Chilies and parm in crystal dishes, the aroma of meatballs and sauce simmering on the stove, the feel of starchy pasta water in the air.
Our Nonna’s voice, “Come and get it!”
This is the memory that founded our fresh pasta business.
As mother and daughter we share a family story and both felt a passion to share our special family moments. We wanted to make them available for others to experience, more frequently than occasional Sunday meals.
Our business idea came together after many little conversations while Ashlyn was away at college. It became a project for one of her business classes. After a series of life events it gave us the push to jump in, together.
2015, was the start of The Pasta Shoppe. Our typical how “hard could it be” attitude pushed us to open The Pasta Shoppe’s first home, in the basement of an old school. The pasta dough was made daily using our family recipe. Soft & silky. It was rolled through a hand crank pasta machine that was clamped onto the kitchen counter.
Five years later we have a storefront location and use an industrial pasta extruder. We source Canadian grown durum semolina and use bronze dies to produce only the freshest pasta everyday. We still make our sauces from scratch. Our most popular item is our Pasta Kits.
The heart of homemade pasta is something we put forth in everything we do.
We keep a few hand crank pasta machines around the shoppe just to remind us of the tradition, family values and strong women that taught us what we know."
Why did you decide to work together?
- To be honest, we didn’t put a lot of deep thought into “working together”, it just happened naturally. We share the same family story, which leads to having a shared passion around our business values and what problem it solves. It felt easy and exciting. The early days of brainstorming & day dreaming about our business with each other acted as the unspoken business partnership. We both had valuable ideas and visions that brought our concept closer to becoming a reality. When the first opportunity presented itself to get started, we decided if not now, when?
What's one thing that contributes to your success as a Mother-Daughter duo?
- We have a friendship, a relationship and a partnership. We are more vulnerable with each other when it comes to showing our strengths and weaknesses. We have a different level of respect for each other and it provides many opportunities for great conversations. Supporting each other is very important to both of us. It may be more of an emotional business partnership - but it’s unique and it works for us.
What's your favourite moment working together so far?
- Ashlyn (daughter): After five years we definitely both have more than one favourite moment. I love our behind the scene groove before we open the doors of the shoppe for the day and occasional dance parties. The laugh we have after powering through things that are hard and challenging or just over things no one else would understand. I also look forward to taking vacation time from our business, and then spending that time away travelling or adventuring with our family.
- Kim (mother): My favourite moment to date is watching the sparkle in her eye appear when a "good idea" becomes a reality. We are a much different business now than we were, we’ve grown a lot.
What advice do you have for other Mother-Daughter business partners? Is this something you would recommend?
- Go for it! It's a work balance that you wouldn't normally encounter with other business partners.
- Kim: For me, I have learned so much from her, our relationship has changed, there is a different level of respect for each other.
- Our advice: Be willing to listen, stay open minded to new ideas, admit when you’re wrong, ask for help, stop to celebrate, encourage each other, remember why you started, set boundaries and make time for fun things outside of business.
Mother - Share your favourite thing about working with your daughter:
- Five years in and we still have a good laugh or two a day. I look forward to our “Monday morning meetings” on Thursdays around 3 pm. We high five and "Hear me out" moments. I just enjoy knowing that we can work together.
Daughter - Share your favourite thing about working with your Mother:
- She’s the best at organizing my thoughts, having crazy brainstorming sessions and motivating me around our “how hard could it be” attitude. Also, she’s really funny, everyone needs to know that. She’s my mom! She wants to see me grow, to be happy and successful, but she also knows when to push and when I need to leave my comfort zone. I’m grateful that I have someone to celebrate our success with. Taking a moment to celebrate is important!! We high five over the smallest things that feel like a win… Like when the pasta cuts beautifully, or just after a long day.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know this amazing mother-daughter business duo and local Canadian shop. You can check out their delicious, fresh-made pasta kits here.