by Dawn Duncan
Mother-Daughter Teams in Business
“As a family, we love watching each other grow and learn! It’s a precious relationship.”—Cheri Freestone, with daughter Savannah Freestone. KPhoto courtesy of Cassihise Photography.
Peering through the windows of Freestone Design-Build, don’t be surprised to catch the mother–daughter duo of Cheri and Savannah Freestone mid-laughter or pausing for a dance amidst the boutique furnishings and décor adorning their design studio. For them, the world of interior design and construction are a fundamental part of family life.
Since 1996, the Freestones have been remodeling homes and businesses along the Front Range, and with the opening of their design studio at 222 Pine in Old Town, Cheri and Savannah have the added pleasure of bolstering their creative spirit as they work together each day.
Cheri has been an award-winning designer for several years and Savannah shares her mother’s skills, talents and charisma. She recalls, “My parents had always dreamed of our company being a family business and I grew up with it my entire life. Design comes naturally and it was a logical next step for me to join the company.”
Three years ago, Cheri welcomed Savannah as her right hand, taking on 3-D computer renderings while assisting in design. Cheri says, “As a family, we love watching each other grow and learn! It’s a precious relationship.” Savannah adds, “I think it is a special situation to work together like this.”
Cheri is a woman who wears many hats, laughing with Savannah as she says, “Sometimes I have to say, ‘This is me as your boss now,’ as if that is tougher than saying it as her mom!”
At the studio, Cheri and Savannah meet with clients by appointment to create artfully designed projects that meet the dreams, budgets, schedules and myriad desires of their clients. Cheri leads the design and feasibility while Savannah assists.
From initial meeting to final touchups, Cheri is with the clients through the entire process. “Now Savannah is taking on some of her own projects,” she says. “We have fun and we enjoy our days together!”
Savannah concurs, “We are best friends and it’s cool to be able to share all the little things that happen day to day.”
“We have grown so much as a mother–daughter team.It has taught us to be patient and to support each other, both at work and in our family lives.”—Penny Fryer, with daughter Aubrey Meckley.
For Penny Fryer and her daughter, Aubrey Meckley, co-owners of Purify since 2009, their foundation in healthcare is what fueled their move into the world of medical aesthetics. The two are trained in laser hair removal, IPL (photofacial), and advance trained and certified in eyelash extensions. Penny worked as a Lash Instructor for Novalash for 12 years and Aubrey is also trained and certified in microblading (semi-permanent eyebrow artistry).
Prior to opening their own business, the two worked together in a medical clinic in Fort Collins. Penny had been the medical practice manager when one of the physicians opened a laser clinic. Skincare had always been a passion of hers and, with the physician’s permission, she was trained in laser skincare and obtained her Aesthetics License in 2005. She then helped to start the Aesthetics program while Aubrey joined the clinic as their receptionist.
During this time, Aubrey, previously a CNA, trained to become a licensed Aesthetician. In 2009, when the clinic owners decided to discon-tinue aesthetics services, Penny and Aubrey em-barked on their entrepreneurial journey together, opening their first location in the Café Vino building in Fort Collins.
“We have grown so much as a mother–daughter team,” says Penny. “It has taught us to be patient and to support each other, both at work and in our family lives. We love working together and cannot imagine life any other way. We share the same love for our clients and the way we want them to be treated. When one of us is sick or out of the office, the other steps up to cover as much as possible.”
“I think the difficulty in a working relationship with just the two of us is that it’s difficult to take a vacation together,” Aubrey says. “The biggest advantage of running our business together is the ease of communication that comes with knowing each other so well. We’re far from being perfect together, but we really value what we have. We love our clients and what we do and are grateful to have such a unique business.”
Currently, Aubrey is performing lash extensions and microblading, while Penny performs general skincare and aesthetics, teeth whitening, laser hair removal, IPL and lash extensions. Purify also sells medical grade skincare lines and Glo Skin Beauty.
“The idea of working together really grew from our 500-mile trek on The Colorado Trail. We experienced very little conflict there and found the strength to encourage one another.”—Lorraine Schaeffer, with daughter Sarah Ashbaugh.
The world of real estate is a fast-paced, competitive one and the mother–daughter team of Lorraine Schaeffer and Sarah Ashbaugh of NorthWest Real Estate in Loveland have learned how to navigate the market while maintaining a fun, effective relationship. Lorraine serves as Employing Broker, capitalizing on her 24 years in the industry, while Sarah is an Associate Broker, now in her second year. The partnership began in 2018.
“Sarah and I started talking about bigger opportunities,” Lorraine recalls. “Both of us were coming from our own perspective. NorthWest Real Estate was formed by my father in 1998 and later my mother started to sell real estate. They have both since retired. I was finding that I needed more help in my business and Sarah was realizing that she needed to invest in her future in order to support her true love of art.”
Sarah had recently graduated from CSU with her degree in Fine Art, concentrating in painting; she was also working as a landscaper/consultant. Lorraine says, “We quickly realized that for me, Sarah’s alternate perspective could benefit the real estate business and my business experience could benefit her.”
For Lorraine and Sarah, the balance between their busy real estate careers and spending time with family is important and they love to enjoy the Colorado outdoors together.
“The idea of working together really grew from our 500-mile trek on The Colorado Trail. We experienced very little conflict there and found the strength to encourage one another. When one was down, the other would lead the way. It was a 50/50 effort, plus a bit of coffee in the morning,” Lorraine says.
From there, the two joined forces. “When we aren’t throwing ourselves at work,” Sarah adds, “we find other summits. Climbing Colorado’s 14ers and training for other long-distance treks are a go-to for us. Making dreams into realities exudes confidence, helping both our business and souls make what seems impossible, possible.”
“I had always hoped that one of my daughters would someday follow in my footsteps. When I purchased Style magazine in 2017, I did it with the intent of bringing Ashley on at some point.”—Tonja Randolph, with daughter Ashley Randolph.
NOCO Style’s own Publisher and leader, Tonja Randolph, a seasoned veteran of the industry since 1997, knows firsthand the unique working relationship of a mother and daughter in the world of business.
“I had always always hoped that one of my daughters would someday follow in my foot-steps. When I purchased Style magazine in 2017, I did it with the intent of bringing Ashley on at some point. But she had just graduated from University and I wanted her to gain her own experiences in the outside world before coming onboard,” Tonja says.
“However, I soon realized that her marketing education would be beneficial in our rebranding to NOCO Style, and in introducing digital offerings to an online community. It didn’t take me long to appreciate her motivation, eagerness and enthusiasm while out at social functions, fundraisers and client meetings.”
Ashley adds, “I love working with my mom! We are best friends, we live less than 10 minutes away from each other and carpool to work, go to events and even hang out on the weekends. My dad says, ‘How do you always have something to talk about? You are always together!”
Together, Tonja and Ashley are very open and honest with each other. “We are very passionate and hardworking,” says Ashley. “We are similar and that helps us work together well. We know what drives and motivates one another and what buttons to stay away from; we keep it professional at work and I look up to my mom as my boss. I call her Tonja and I introduce her as the Publisher. Also, our teammates respect our relationship and we all have a lot of fun.”
Tonja agrees, “We seldom make it known that we are related when we meet new people.”
As we celebrate Mother’s Day this year, we ad-mire the mothers and daughters forging new inroads in business together and bringing their family ties to the workplace. Theirs is a special bond that is reflected in their image and connection with customers, one that showcases a solid foundation for success.