Joseph Brazen has built a successful family business by accident. In the past four years, his millennial-aged daughters have joined him in his various business pursuits. The result? A game changing level of energy and passion to keep his businesses growing and evolving in new ways.
Joseph created his wealth through real estate, “a modern-day version of Monopoly” as he calls it, and 11 years ago, he expanded into the restaurant business. His most recent project is a high-end restaurant called Central Bar + Kitchen, which opens to great fanfare in late September in the heart of downtown Bellevue. Joseph mentioned to me that there is no place to hide when you are creating something new, and expectations and the pressure are daily realities. He is all-in just like you’d expect from a creative entrepreneur.
Not only did I get to have a candid conversation about his life and the secrets to his success, but I also was able to talk with two of his three daughters (Taylor and Cody Brazen) who work in various roles within the family business, and what it’s like to be a successful woman in today’s business culture.
I was drawn to the secret sauce of the family which is all about relationships and creating connections with people. Joseph talks emotionally about the core business team and customers who are in many ways extensions of their family, and treated as such. He is really an artist of sorts in that it takes a great deal of courage, vulnerability, and heart to chase dreams. I believe many of us want more of those qualities in our life, too, and that is what draws people to Joseph.
Joseph also sees talent and loves mentoring and encouraging greatness in other people many times before they see it in themselves. He got a similar break early in his career and giving back in this way is one of his most meaningful life achievements.
Taylor and Cody, shared their reasons for joining their Dad in business and feel many family businesses fail because the decision to join is a safe one, a fallback option of sorts instead of really wanting to be there. In fact, Cody needed to go to LA to create her own identity and boundaries before returning, but that made the reunion that much sweeter and healthier for the business.
Family business is integrated into all of life in the Brazen family. Their family tenets include hard work, the joy of being together, and contributing meaningfully to their community through their businesses. Heck, they even have Sunday dinner together as a family every week and meet most mornings for family yoga.
If you have thought about joining your family business, or bringing your kids into the business, this conversation has something for everyone, regardless of which generation you’re in.