Entrepreneurial spouses get cozy with CoupleCo podcast
A big perk of Blaine and Honey Parker’s job is watching couples fall in love all over again.
The Park City-based Parkers, who host the weekly podcast “CoupleCo: Working With Your Spouse for Fun & Profit,” tour the country and interview married entrepreneurs about their businesses.
One of the standard questions the interviewers always ask these business owners is how they met, Honey Parker said.
“As they talk about meeting each other, we can see them remember why they fell in love in the first place,” she said. “We see the kindness that these couples display towards each other, and that’s important because when you work together you have to value the other person.”
CoupleCo, which debuted last Valentine’s Day and became iTunes’ No. 1 management and marketing podcast in April, has featured married business owners who live in Park City, New Orleans, Napa, California, and cities throughout the Midwest, to name a few places.
The podcast addresses the unique stresses the couples experience while running their businesses, Honey said.
“When you work with your spouse in business, everything is heightened,” she said. “You have to be better at communication. You have to be more honest. You have to be willing to take creative criticism. You have to be able to delegate. You have to have better time management, especially if you have kids.”
To get the interviews, the Parkers jump into their camper and take off for months at a time,
“So far we have found couples through word of mouth or referrals,” Blaine Parker said. “But we recently have been doing some cold contacts.”
One of those out-of-the-blue interviews will be with Dandelion Catering, owned by Christian and Christine Hayes, in Yarmouth, Maine.
The idea came to Blaine while he and Honey were watching an episode of the reality cooking show “Chopped” last March, in which the Hayes couple competed.
“When they won, I immediately thought ‘CoupleCo’ and reached out to him on LinkedIn,” Blaine said. “He said yes, and we’re going to spend some time in a couple of weeks with them.”
Married business owners aren’t the only people the Parkers interview.
“We recently interviewed a psychologist who counsels couples who are in business together,” Blaine said. “She talked about how owning a business affects themselves and their children.”
After the Parkers set up the interviews, they show up with their standard equipment — recording devices, two bottles of wine, four glasses and a corkscrew, Honey said.
“The wine not only relaxes people, but it also shows these overworked people how appreciative we are that they are willing to spend time with us,” she said.
The interviews are designed to be an hour long, but usually run up to three hours, according to Honey.
“We have found that it’s virtually impossible to keep an interview down to 90 minutes,” Blaine added.
The Parkers will then go back and edit the interviews.
“The podcast runs from anywhere from 27 to 50 minutes,” Blaine said. “We usually break up the interview into halves.”
The CoupleCo podcast is the result of a journey that started nearly 20 years ago in Los Angeles, where the Parkers worked as screenwriters and had other careers.
Blaine worked at various ad agencies and did commercial voiceovers, and Honey did some stand-up comedy.
“We moved to Park City more than a decade ago, and when the economy crashed in 2008, we figured it was a good time to start our own business,” Honey said.
The couple formed Slowburn Marketing and traveled around the world presenting about branding and marketing to small business owners.
“We spoke in venues from Boise, Idaho, to Los Angeles to Malaysia and Singapore,” Blaine said.
The couple also wrote a few books about marketing and branding, according to Honey.
“In the process, we started working with entrepreneurial couples,” Blaine said. “No matter where we were, we would meet couples who were in business together.”
The Parkers looked around and noticed there weren’t many services available for married business owners. So, they decided to do a podcast.
“We have been fans of small businesses for a long time because it’s the American dream to create something out of nothing,” Honey said. “Then on top of that, to be able to create something with your life partner makes everything that much better. To have someone constantly with you on the ups and downs is like a team win.”
The first couple they interviewed was Jim and Robin Whitney, of Whitney Advertising and Design, which is based in Park City. They also interviewed Trish and Jared McMillan of McMillan Fine Art Photography.
“It’s interesting to see how many entrepreneurial couples there are, and we have many in Park City,” Blaine said.
One of the last out-of-state interviews was with Justin and Kristin Boswell, owners of Wayward Owl Brewing, in New Orleans.
“They’ve been open for two years,” Honey said. “They took over a historic building, and that heaped one more hurdle — restoring the building — on the pile of building their own business.”
Another couple is Matt and Rebekah Titus, owners of Blackbird CrossFit in Eldersburg, Maryland.
“We want to get a lot of these interviews in the can before we start contacting higher-profile couples,” Honey said.
One of the couples the Parkers have their eyes on is Robert and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, songwriters who are known for the smash hit “Let It Go,” featured in the 2013 animated Disney film “Frozen.”
“We want to make sure we can show them what we have done in the past,” Honey said.
One of the trends the Parkers see during the interviews is that the couples are true partners, Honey said.
“All the husbands we interviewed are thrilled and not intimidated to have their wives pick up the ball and run with it,” she said.
So far the Parkers have interviewed husbands and wives, but are looking to interview all married couples.
“We hope to get some references soon,” Blaine said.
The Parkers agree that the podcast had also strengthened their own marriage.
“After each interview we walk away saying to ourselves that we really need to be a better couple,” Blaine said. “It’s great to see these people who love each other work together.”
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