This article was first published in The Malaysian Women’s Weekly, January 2014 issue.
Ais Latsch says most people assume it was a done deal that she and her younger brother, Richard, would join the family jewellery business when they grew up, but that was far from the truth.
“Our mum (Amee Philips) supported us in whatever ventures we wanted to take, whether our passion lay in the family business, or somewhere else,” Ais explains. Despite this, both siblings were so proud of their mother’s exquisite jewellery design business, they say it was only natural for them to follow in her footsteps.
Richard reveals when they were growing up, “Mum would always bring home stones of all shapes, sizes and colours from her travels, along with stories of mystery and wonder about where the colourful stones came from!”
Ais chips in, “The history and myths behind each piece always left us wide-eyed and enchanted.”
The siblings say they’ve always got on well but since going into the family business together, they’ve realised the importance of having clear working relationship.
“There is no separation of work and family in our business, so to have the lines drawn clearly and to know when to recognise and support each other is crucial when you work together as much as we do.”
Today, Richard heads up the sales operations side of the business, mastering the art of gemstones purchasing, which will see him become responsible for the quality and value of every gemstone that will go through the House of Amee Philips.
Meanwhile, Ais is the more creative one, and heads the design department, spending a lot of time getting to know their customers and what they want before translating their wishes into pieces of art.
“Of the two of us, Richard is definitely more thorough and he has a very calm and clear perspective of the business at all levels,” says Ais, describing her brother’s talents and business acumen. “He understands what we need to do to take the company to the next level, never forgetting brand direction, quality of products and services, and our tradition of being a homely family business.”
But just like any other brother and sister, they say they definitely have their disagreements, including when it comes to the business. Both admit to always trying to outdo each other – because they’re naturally quite competitive! It is this same passion for challenge which drives them to learn something new from each other.
“Working with your sibling may be frustrating at times,” Richard admits, “but it is all worth it at the end of the day when we see the results of our combined efforts, making us a stronger team.”