WellesleyWeston Magazine

SUMMER 2017

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/819093

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When Max, a student at The Carroll School, was in his second grade art class, he made a mug with a hoop for tossing marshmallows into hot cocoa. It was only when fellow classmates started copying his idea that he realized it was a good one. "I told him that there are people who will pay for his creative ideas," explains Jennifer. When Max replied that he didn't know any of those people, Jennifer and Max's father, Ron, helped him create a 3D model and brought Max to pitch his idea at The Blank Center for Entrepreneurship at Babson College. Max later entered the "Product Pitch" at a Fenway Park innovation contest and won the popular vote on Facebook. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, he brought his mugs to market. Today, the mugs are sold through multiple online out- lets, including UncommonGoods, The Grommet, local Wellesley and Weston retailers, and international retailers. Max's creation is even a top-selling mug on Amazon.com. With Max as the chief creator of a full line of sports mugs, Ron, han- dles the business operations and Jennifer helps with marketing and sales. Both Ron and Jennifer work full time in their own non-retail careers, leaving nights and weekends for MAX'IS Creations. Adding the complexities of raising a family to the dynamics of run- ning a competitive business can be a formidable challenge. "We want our kids to be kids, so we don't want our conversations to always be about mugs," says Jennifer, who also has a 15-year-old son, Sam, the chief product tester and Max's biggest supporter. "When Ron and I are commuting to work, we'll use that time instead." Even Max acknowledges the ups and downs. "It's fun to get to talk about the business at dinner, making money, and getting checks. But it's stressful when there are problems that come up, and my parents have to find a way out of it." The hardest part is "When we have to do mug work, but we want to have free time for ourselves," adds Max. For people thinking about entering a family business, Jennifer advises, "Don't bite off more than you can financially chew as you never want to burden the family around the business." Dr. John Davis, founding chair of the Families in Business program at Harvard Business School, agrees that successful family businesses tend to be more careful and more conservative in their financial struc- ture. "They tend to take on less debt; they tend to be more careful about how they spend their money. They are focused on growing their family's assets over the long-term," he says. Max believes that those who want to start a family business should "Go small at first and get bigger as you go. Spend a little at a time and make sure you have fun." The Ash Family: Jennifer, Max, Sam, and Ronald P H O T O S B Y M A U R A W A Y M A N P H O T O G R A P H Y 140 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 7

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