How to start a business with your friends (and not ruin the friendship)

Published August 28, 2020, 12:44 PM

by Kerry Tinga

We talked to some BFFs who also happen to be total boss babes on how they manage to be friends and colleagues all at the same time

Are you ever with your friends, on the same wavelength and everything, when you think to yourself, “I wish we could just work together.” It can seem like the best of both worlds. Since we all have to make ends meet, might as well go into business with people that 100 percent get me always. 


Warning: Starting a business with your friends can be one of the sure fire ways to ruin a friendship. There are a lot of difficult decisions to be made with a lot of resources and investments on the line. But, if done right, it can be one of the most rewarding steps forward in a friendship.

For those of you who are thinking of starting a business with friends, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle hasrounded up some of our favorite BFFs turned boss babes. We asked these young entrepreneurs for tips on how to manage a friendship while working together. Here is what they have to say:

Amál the Brand

Founders and friends Gaby David, Anya Limjoco, and Gabbie Rodriguez had always talked about starting a business together. From their endless closet exchanges, they transformed their passion for fashion into something tangible that could be shared with others. In 2018, the three business majors established Amál the Brand, offering quality fashion pieces for a versatile wardrobe.

From left: Gaby David, Gabbie Rodriguez, and Anya Limjoco

Their recently launched Amál Lifestyle line consists of unisex sweaters perfect for the quarantine season. The pieces have already been spotted on young, Filipino fashion icons like Claudia Barreto, who regularly sports Amál pieces on her Instagram.

Gabbie: Remember that you’re in it for the long run. I once heard on a podcast, “If you can’t see yourself working with someone for the rest of your life, don’t work with them for another day.” Even though you may be good friends, that doesn’t mean you’ll make good business partners.

Gaby: Being friends with these people allow for inevitable disagreements to be immediately resolved with an agreed compromise. First and foremost, consider creating a shared vision, a clear set of goals and expectations for each other to ensure that you will all always be on the same page about what you want to achieve.

Anya: It’s important to set a goal and agree on job descriptions together, with all the responsibilities it entails. Putting everything into writing can help set clearer expectations and ensures accountability for the overall good of the business.


Audrey Jalbuena and Monica Concepcion decided to start a fashion business that celebrated their love of travel and adventure, while reflecting on the cultural identities they encountered. Kwento aims to tell stories of these varied destinations, starting with their home, the Philippines. Their most recent collection is inspired by local weaves from Abra in Ilocos.

Monica Concepcion (left) and Audrey Jalbuena (right)

Audrey: My advice would be to remember why you started the journey and celebrate the milestones even the smallest bits as you and your friends should both enjoy. It will never always be easy and you may have disagreements but you will definitely learn from it. 

View this post on Instagram

pink afternoons ✨???

A post shared by K W E N T O ( on

Monica: Be transparent in everything, whether it’s about your roles in the business, your feelings toward a certain decision, or even plans you may have outside the business. But remember, your responsibilities and roles as business partners are separate from your relationship as friends. We focus on what needs to be done for Kwento, and then separately we spend endless hours making kwento on calls.

Manila Takeout

Getting together for dinner has been a favorite pastime for investment analyst Audrey Mooney and art director Monica Magsanoc. As they saw their favorite places struggle to stay afloat amid the pandemic, they quickly developed the Manila Takeout initiative. Connecting graphic designers with small businesses, their social enterprise sells eye-catching tees, with proceeds going to the restaurants’ service teams.

Monica Magsanoc (left) and Audrey Mooney (right)

Their latest release supports the service team of local bars, including the recently closed Today x Future and Route 196.

Audrey: When starting a business with friends, there is a steep learning curve. There will be a lot of decisions to be made and mistakes that you will encounter. I think it is important that you respect each other and trust each other’s capabilities and strengths.

Monica: It’s always good to work with a friend who has strengths than complement your own. Different skill sets assure that you can each manage a different part of the business and trust each other to do so. We avoid stepping on each other’s toes and instead believe in each other’s expertise.

Bondi Studios

BONDI STUDIOS Robyn See, Sam Tangco, and Erica Dee

Long time friends Erica Dee, Robyn See, and Sam Tangco have known each other since grade school. But it took them until their senior year of college before they finally turned their talk of working together into an actual lifestyle brand. From hair accessories found on the Instagram OOTDs of fashionable influencers like Camille Co, Bondi quickly ventured out to different products like bags and even a home line.

Erica, Robyn, and Sam: “It’s really important to communicate in order to avoid any misunderstandings. We also try to divide the workload equally and help each other out in any way we can.”