Family Business

Joining the family business as a second-generation member


5 min




Watch the Raphaely family, a second-generation media and publishing business family based in Western Cape, South Africa, operating and producing international titles such as Cosmopolitan, O The Oprah Magazine, Good Housekeeping and Marie Claire as well as local titles including Goeie Huishouding and House and Leisure, share their story on how the second generation ended up working in the family business.


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Jane Raphaely
When our daughters were little, I worried about anorexia, boyfriends with motorbikes, and the theatre. It never occurred to me to warn them about magazines. I thought that having grown up, you know, in a home and a life which was dominated by magazines that they would not need to be warned. And I was completely astonished when both Catherine and Vanessa initially went into magazines.

Vanessa Raphaely
I think children are sponges, and what I took in from my mother and from the environment that we were in was that this was a brilliant career to be in, and that it rewarded women and gave them independence and freedom and respect which was always important in our family and was important to me. I always wanted to work and I always wanted to count for something because I saw that ... View More that had been so important to my mother. And so it was not a question of was I going into the family business or was I going to become a journalist or was I going to become what I have turned out to be, I just was driven to work.

Jane Raphaely
Vanessa and Julia were all trained by other people, and they benefited from that. When we threw them out to sink or swim as many South African parents do, originally before they found employment, I do not think the fact that I was their mother helped them.

Julia Raphaely
The fact that that was what firstly my mother and then when my father joined my mother, it was not a conscious decision to go into publishing. And when the opportunity came up and I returned to South Africa after being in New York for a few years, it was a natural move to come and work in the business. It was not ever planned, it was not consciously thought out, and we did not discuss it as an obvious move for me. It was just, I was coming back and I had relevant experience and there was a position available and seemed like a good idea at the time.

Vanessa Raphaely
The strengths of family businesses are many and varied, but you would be dishonest if you said it was always easy. It is really not, but then again, neither is working with strangers or friends or associates or even partners. So a lot of whether it will be a success or not depends on the nature of the people concerned and their aligned vision for the future, their own future and the future of the business.

Jane Raphaely
There is no way that a mother is softer on two of her colleagues because they are her daughters. If anything, she will be harder and that is something perhaps that the daughters should prepare themselves for. More will be expected from them and more demanded than from anybody else.

Vanessa Raphaely
I am not going to lie and say it has always been a smooth road. Our personalities are too strong and we are too different, and our life experiences have been so different. We have definitely sometimes butted heads and, all of us, and had to iron out some very big differences of opinion, but the difference is that underlying it all is that we all love each other. And at the end of the day, there is a very powerful investment in the success of our family and that is an incredible glue which holds good family businesses together.