When we think of the phrase “power couple,” we imagine relationships that have forged impressive innovations and ideas—all done with love. In our February franchise Partners in Design, we’ll showcase a few of our favorite creative couples and hear, in their own words, how they keep the spark in both their working and romantic relationships.
Nisha Mirani and Brendan Kramer’s Upper West Side apartment is brimming with patterns, colors, and globally sourced art and textiles. Even a mood board including a paint palette, vintage postcards, and cutouts of patterns and illustrations enlivens one of the walls. It’s not just a home, after all. It’s where the duo runs their textile brand, Sunday/Monday.
When they’re not in New York, they can be found in Rajasthan and Gujarat, India—where Mirani regularly visited family growing up—working with local families to produce their collections, which includes table linens, throws, and more. Informed by their own cultural histories, the couple crafts colorful creations that liven up any interior they’re brought into—including their own home.
In their sixth year of marriage and second year of business, the couple has amassed plenty of wisdom on how to expertly intertwine love and business. Their relationship, it seems, has been woven even tighter over time.
How did you meet?
Kramer: We met a few weeks into our freshman year at Brown University. We lived down the hall from one another.
Mirani: We first talked when Brendan complimented the color of my shoes, so I guess we’ve always had similar taste.
How did you start working together?
Mirani: We’ve always enjoyed working on creative projects and realized early on that we work well together and enjoy it. We were both lucky to grow up in homes filled with art and textiles from our respective cultures—[I’m] the daughter of Indian immigrants and Brendan’s mother is Japanese American.
We got married in 2013 and had trouble finding things for our home that we loved. Now many of our designs begin with the question, “What are we missing in our space or what we would be really excited to have in our home?”
Brendan visited India with [me] for the first time in January 2016. We share an appreciation for color, imperfect lines, and the immense time and skill that goes into creating art and textiles by hand. We launched Sunday/Monday in January 2017.
How would you describe what the other person does?
Kramer: Nisha works on the business full-time, so she handles all our operations and communications and is essentially the face of the brand. In addition to designing our textiles, she’s our web designer, stylist, and color expert.
Mirani: Brendan collaborates on designs and he’s great at sourcing inspiration. He’s also our packaging expert—his grandparents owned a gift shop!—and does the heavier textile schlepping.
How would you describe your brand aesthetic? How would you describe each other’s aesthetic?
Our brand aesthetic can be described as Indian maximalist meets Japanese modernism with a touch of California casual.
Mirani: Brendan’s aesthetic is informed by abstract forms and colorful patterns found in nature—he studied biology in college!
Kramer: Nisha’s aesthetic is colorful and eclectic and rooted in her Indian heritage.
How do you separate your work relationship from your romantic relationship?
Kramer: There’s really no separation between our work and personal lives, to be honest, mainly because we love what we do. When we get frustrated or tired, we ask one another, “What would we rather be doing instead?”
Mirani: Both relationships are very much intertwined since our work relationship was created on the foundation of our romantic relationship. Recently, we’re trying to implement more boundaries, like as only talking about business at designated work times and not right before falling asleep. Brendan works a 9-5 job so we work most weeknights and weekends, but we take Friday nights off to reset.
How do you push past creative roadblocks?
We step away from our work for a few hours. Living in New York allows us to easily visit a museum or take a long walk and people watch. We’re also lucky to have parents with vintage textiles from India and Japan to comb through when we need inspiration.
What should couples know before they start a business together?
Kramer: Establish clear roles in the business. Then, manage expectations by having an honest discussion about each person’s commitment and how much time they are willing and able to contribute.
Mirani: Make sure you are passionate enough about your business that you’re ready to sacrifice your leisure time together and make a significant lifestyle change. Plan out the growth of your business over time and how that will affect each person’s role in the future since changes in your personal lives will definitely affect your business.
What’s your favorite thing about working with each other? What’s the most annoying thing about working with each other?
Mirani: Knowing that we are in it together. We share our failures and our successes, so we can commiserate or celebrate together. Running a business can feel isolating at times but it helps to have a partner.
The most annoying thing is that I work on the business all day, and then Brendan will come home from his job and try to help. I appreciate his enthusiasm, but he’s ready to work on designs whereas I need to take a break before jumping back in and catching him up on things.
Kramer: We’d probably still be spending a lot of time together as a couple because we really enjoy each other’s company, so it’s rewarding to use that time creating something tangible together. We’ve grown as designers by pushing and encouraging one another.
The lack of boundaries is frustrating. Sometimes a business disagreement morphs into a personal disagreement or vice versa.
Mirani: At the end of the day, we love and respect each other, and working together has strengthened our relationship.
More inspiring couples:
Could You Work With Your S.O.? Coming Soon’s Founders On Keeping the Spark Alive
These Brooklyn-Based Designers Are Proof That Love and Work Can Mix
Inside the Eclectic Brooklyn Home of One Badass Couple