By Michael Harris-Arzon
As a parent, we always want what is best for our children. We hope that they have a happy childhood that is filled with positive memories. We encourage (or demand in our case) them to persue a college education, so that they have equal chances when it comes to finding a job and starting their career. But when that parent happens to own a nationally recognized brand, we hope that at least one child will find a home in the family business.
We started stressing the importance of a solid college education early on in each of our children’s lives. Not because we have expectations of them becoming a doctor or lawyer, but because we understand how crucial it is in today’s workplace. As each child has gotten older and they have started to exhibit certain traits, talents or likes….we have done our very best to give them the tools and encouragement they deserve.
Our family is comprised of three, wonderful children, that are each as unique as can possibly be. Yet, in each I can see traits and characteristics that are reminiscent of Danny or myself. For me, the answer to the question of whether or not children are products of their environment or of biology has easily been answered. The only aspects that can be attributed to biology are the physical ones, remember that we have adopted each of our amazing children. All else are those of their environment, and these are the most important ones in my opinion. Anyway, I digress from my original point.
I haven’t spent the past 8 years building an international brand that has close to 30 million followers and more business than we can handle, to see it wither and die as Danny and I head closer to retirement (granted we still have a good decade to go, but the years do seem to fly by these days.). When we decided to make a significant life change years ago and owned our first company (Arzon-Harris, an office supply company out of NYC with large,citywide contracts) we auctioned off the contract side of the business and outright sold the office supply side to another entrepreneur. This time around, I would like to keep the Ardynn Media brands within the family. Whether that is to one or all of our kids.
As our children get older and develop interests of their own, mainly those that last more than a week, I sit up and take notice and have started preparing the way for them to use those interests in conjunction with our brand. ArdynnMG has changed quite a bit over the past decade and there is no reason for it to evolve yet again and just as much over the next decade. Our eldest daughter is so creative and intends to attend the number one art school in the country for her high school years. Her interests lie around the digital arts, which is perfect for the branding and advertising part of our business. Yet she also is an amazing Jeweler and so we have decided to launch an online and pop up store division that will allow her to sell these amazing creations. We will of course supplement the inventory with our own line of designer clothes and home goods.
As our two younger children have yet to develop any interest or talent that we could currently integrate, other than the fact that our son is interested in learning to build video games and apps (which would be an ideal fit as well). Time will tell if it’s a lasting interest.
The point is we want them to have careers that make them happy, not just fill their bank accounts. So we pay close attention and have them help whenever they can with the current business model.