National Siblings Day | Working With Siblings at Sagebrush
Today is National Sibling Day! We have two sets of siblings who work here at Sagebrush and wanted to talk about what it’s like to work with siblings, or just at a small family business in general. The first set of siblings on our team is Matt and Zoё. Matt is the owner of Sagebrush and Zoё, his younger sister, is part of our marketing and media development team. The second set is the trio of Matt’s kids - Jonathan, Noah, and Eden. All three of them work as baristas in addition to other roles around the shop. Jonathan, the oldest, is our espresso bar manager, part of the marketing and media development team, and part of the menu development team. Noah, the middle child, is our roasting and production assistant and also helps with marketing and media development. Eden, the youngest, spends most of her time not on bar in high school, but she also helps with menu development.
In light of this fun holiday and our close-knit business, we interviewed each sibling on what it is like to work with their brothers and sisters. You can find the highlights of these interviews below!
Q: What is one of your favorite childhood memories with your sibling(s)?
Zoё: Matt and I have a pretty big age difference, 14 years, but he has always put in the effort to be involved in my life too. One example is when I was about 12 and he took me on a brother-sister lunch date at Rigatony's, one of my favorite places to eat. I remember enjoying being able to spend time with him and appreciating that he had put time aside for me even though he was busy with his own life.
Matt: I was practically moved out when Zoё was growing up, but I remember Josh (our other brother) and I messing with her when she was really little. She used to be afraid of the dustbuster vacuum so we would turn it on and put it up on her high chair to scare her and make her try to wiggle out of her seat. There was another time when I was supposed to drop her off at a friend’s birthday party and I accidentally dropped her off at the wrong house and then drove away. I saw a house with balloons and assumed it was the right one, apparently there were two parties in the neighborhood that day. Luckily she has forgiven me since then for tormenting her as older siblings usually do.
Jonathan: I always enjoyed playing Legos with Noah, there are a lot of fun memories there. For all three of us, it’s always fun to get together and make funny videos.
Noah: Jonathan and I played Legos a lot growing up. Whenever I showed him what I made he would reply by saying “awesome!” One day I made something and instead of saying “awesome” he said, “cool.” I thought “cool” was not as good of a compliment and spent years trying to improve my Lego skills. With Eden, we used to play with our stuffed animals in the back seat of the car when we went on family vacations.
Eden: We played Legos together a lot. We used to make little Lego stores and would trade Lego pieces to shop at each other’s stores.
Q: What is something you always agree on?
Zoё: Both of us agree that it’s always worth taking the trip! We both love to travel, especially if it’s to Disneyland. We agree that experiences like that are worth spending money on. He is also the person who really introduced me to the coffee industry, so we have the same views on that as well. I used to drink overly sweetened flavored drinks, but now I love iced pour-overs and the true taste of coffee.
Matt: We both really love Disneyland. Overall, I think we tend to agree on most things.
Jonathan: We all have the same sense of humor which always makes things fun.
Noah: Jonathan and I have the same taste in music. Eden and I have similar pet peeves and agree on things that annoy us.
Eden: I think we all have a similar taste in music and sense of humor.
Q: What is something you never agree on?
Zoё: Due dates. Or just overall how things are organized. I am a very detail-oriented person and Matt is more of a big-picture person. Also, he doesn’t appreciate my puns.
Matt: I don’t like her puns.
Jonathan: We don’t usually disagree on things.
Noah: I don’t think there are a lot of things that we disagree on, we are all pretty similar.
Eden: I can only think of little things, like if a counter is clean or not. We don't really disagree or argue about bigger things,
Q: What is it like working with your sibling?
Zoё: It’s really fun. I’ve had the chance to see him more in our adult lives because of work and that has deepened our relationship with each other despite our busy lives. He has been very accommodating with my need to adjust my schedule after having my kids and he creates the perfect amount of pressure to do well at work. He makes me want to perform well but still isn’t intimidating or stressful. I’ve also noticed that even though he is my boss and the person in charge, he is always open to my input.
Matt: There is a huge level of trust between Zoё and me. It also helps that she was our first employee. Overall, she is just a great employee and helps take the business in the direction I want it to go. There have been a few points where I was scared she would leave, when she had her kids and when she was offered another job opportunity, and I honestly don't know where the business would be without her.
Jonathan: We have a lot of fun working together but there is also a level of comfort that is helpful because we aren’t afraid to point things out to each other or give each other feedback.
Noah: It’s honestly really fun. Whenever you get a new coworker you have to get to know them and understand how they work in order to get a good flow while working together. When working with your siblings, you already have that phase down and are in sync.
Eden: It’s fun but sometimes I think they are too comfortable with me.
Q: How do you balance treating your sibling as a sibling vs. as a coworker/boss/employee?
Zoё: I think it is a little easier to treat Matt like a boss because of our age difference. In a sense, I have always treated my brother as an elder figure. It also has to do with our work ethics. We are both invested in Sagebrush and want the company to do well and be successful. Being siblings is a fun bonus, but we both prioritize the company because we want to see it reach its goals. Since Matt’s my brother, his success is my success and Sagebrush’s success is both of our success.
Matt: I think it would be a lot harder to balance our relationship if Zoё wasn’t such a great employee. Her work ethic makes it easy to have her as part of our team and has allowed me to not have to have difficult conversations that may strain our relationship, which I would have to have if she wasn’t as good of an employee. We have really created a good rhythm.
Jonathan: I don’t work on bar as much with Noah these days, so this is specifically about Eden. We have to make sure not to let arguments happen on bar, which can be difficult in a high-pressure setting. If we ever do have disagreements at work we have to make sure to not carry it outside of work to avoid creating resentment, but we are pretty good about that.
Noah: I think it’s the same as working with anyone that you get along with. You have to understand when to have fun and when to get down to business.
Eden: I don’t think there’s a big difference, but it can be easier to snap at Jonathan on bar when I’m stressed.
Q: What is your favorite thing about your sibling?
Zoё: I love how sentimental Matt is. He has all of these little collections of important things and has even incorporated some of them into the business. For example, we have our grandma’s hutch in the office and our dad helped build the tables in our customer seating area. I love that no matter how hard it was he has done everything he can to achieve his dream of owning and running this company, his hard work and determination are inspiring. He always has an eye out for the next best thing.
Matt: First of all, she forgives me for tormenting her when she was little. Otherwise, Zoё always puts her best foot forward and never lets a bad day stop her from cheering up those around her.
Jonathan: For Noah, he has a great sense of humor and a sense of comfort with people. For Eden, she has great conversation skills.
Noah: Both Eden and Jonathan are two of the funniest people I know. I love their sense of humor and always have fun when I’m around them.
Eden: My brothers and I have so many similar interests that it makes them really easy to talk to.
We love our Sagebrush siblings and the fun dynamic they bring to our team. Make sure to call your siblings today or give them an extra hug, happy National Siblings Day!