Introductory note from Dianna:
My marketing team is always telling me to be more visible on my blog, but I feel so icky about putting myself out there! (Anyone the same?) But I know I have to put on my big girl pants and do it.
As in many cases in my life, when I’d rather do something else, I rope in my husband! So why not for this as well? I thought it’d be interesting to see what he has to say about me to the Miss Links audience. I engaged a freelance writer to interview Leigh to get his perspective. Read on to see what he has to say.
Q: For the readers who don’t know, who are you?
Leigh: I’m Leigh and I’ve been married to Dianna for 13 years (this April) and together 19 years and we have two daughters. Together we run the accounting firm LDB Financial.
Q: What is it like working so closely with your spouse? How do you not kill each other?
Leigh: This is a question we get a lot, many couples tell us they can’t imagine doing the same thing. We work quite independently and we try not to cross over. Essentially, we are both respectful of the way the other person operates, just like any two directors of a firm. We don’t go into the office as husband and wife, the minute we walk in the door we are professionals. (Exception: she demands that I fetch her coffee from time to time.)
Of course, as a couple working together, there will always be disagreements and that can be hard, there is nowhere to escape at work. If we’ve had a conflict at home, we leave it at the door. At the end of the day, there is no point being angry at each other and neither of us are too fiery anyway. Any fights usually end up with me apologising for being in the wrong or for apologising for pointing out that she’s in the wrong!
Q:What are your memories of Dianna when she was thinking of starting Miss Links?
Leigh: I remember her complaining that she couldn’t find any women’s cufflinks. Whenever I bought cufflinks I would take a look at the range with her in mind and I realised she was right. She always wanted to get it going but having babies delayed her for a few years, but she always came back to it. It was wonderful to see her go for it. It was a fun time for us both because she was always bouncing ideas around with me. I saw her create the logo, play with product designs, finalise her cufflinks range, and be there at that very early startup phase. She went from having no clue about design and manufacturing to teaching herself everything she needed to know. I think it helps her empathise more with our accounting clients too because she knows first-hand what it’s like with a startup.
Q: What are her strengths in business?
She is a very, very good financial controller, with her knowledge of transactional accounting, reconciliations and historical accounting, she has me beat on that stuff. She’s great at financial modelling, reporting and analysis and presenting complex financials in a way that clients understand. As for Miss Links, she’s savvy in the way she invests in the business. There are thousands of ways she could part with her money, especially in marketing, and she’s clever in where she makes the investments for her business.
Her other strength is keeping going despite disappointment. I remember early on with Miss Links our PR team placed a product mention in The Age. We both thought sales would go nuts after that exposure and we were surprised when it was not the case. I was bummed for her, but she barely blinked. She just kept going with her marketing and PR campaign.
Q: What is her weakness? Do I dare ask?
Leigh: I’ll answer that in relation to her weakness in a professional sense only, I haven’t got a death wish! In business, as finance people, both of us don’t have much experience in sales and marketing. That world is foreign to us. Through Miss Links she’s had to learn her way through it. She manages now by outsourcing to the experts and concentrating on what she’s good at which is operations, product development and finances.
Q. How involved do you get with Miss Links now?
Leigh: Now that it’s established and running well, I’m not too involved. Sometimes when she is out of the office I am trusted with the job of packaging orders. I have strict instructions about how I should tie the Miss Links ribbon so it looks perfect. She’s given me a photo of how it’s supposed to look as reference. My efforts never quite turn out as well as the rest of the team, and that’s why she only asks me when there’s absolutely no one else available.
Q. What would you like to see her achieve for Miss Links?
Leigh: Miss Links is a strong brand with great products, I just wish more people knew about it. We have a very loyal following of dedicated customers, we’d both just like that following to be bigger! But we understand that we are operating in a niche market and we serve that market very well here in Australia. I think the best opportunity for her to grow Miss Links is to consider the UK and US markets. It’s something that she’s planning down the track, but all in good time.
Q. Do you give Dianna advice? Does she listen?
Leigh: Yes, I give her advice, and no, she doesn’t listen! Actually, I don’t need to give her much advice because she knows what she’s doing and Miss Links is her creation and her brand. I’ve disagreed about some things but she does what she’s confident in. I’m just there to support her, and fetch her coffee of course.