Josh Ivanovic and Lolita Goh
Directors of JungleBird, Kuala Lumpur

How did you meet?
Josh: As cliché as it is, we actually met in a bar. Loli had flown up to KL from Singapore for the weekend with a group of friends, one of which is a DJ and happened to be playing at the same place on the same night as a friend of mine. Both groups ended up sharing the same table, we got talking and I approached her… I think! That was back in April 2016.

What made you decide to open JungleBird together?
Loli: Josh had started an events and consultancy company shortly before we met, and around the same time I had been looking for a change of scenery from my current career. We started working on ideas together for about six months before the idea to open a bar came about.

What has been the hardest part about working together?
Josh: Drawing that line between home life and work life. Especially with owning and operating a bar. It’s a tough industry to stop the work clock. Even if we’re both at home on a “night off”, it’s never really a night off. If you’re needed, you’re needed. Something as simple as sending some emails or responding to messages. Although it’s a simple task that takes very little time, it puts you in work mode which can sometimes be difficult to get out of. Certain things, I find, often can’t wait until the following day.

What has been the greatest part about working together?
Josh: Definitely working with my best friend and wife so closely almost every day. Although we often focus on very different aspects and areas of the business, we’re usually in close proximity to one another and ideas get bounced back and forth.

How do you separate work and your relationship both while at work and at home?
Loli: It’s not always easy. In fact, it’s rarely easy to completely separate the two. Owning a bar requires a huge amount of passion from all parties. That passion can all too easily escalate into a heated discussion, not just between the two of us, but with other partners as well. So just try to maintain a level head and remind yourself that in a professional environment, everyone should be communicated with on a professional level, no matter the personal relationship.

What’s one piece of solid advice you’d give to couples looking to go into business together?
Josh: Define your roles and responsibilities clearly before you begin. You will always be in and out of each other’s work load whether it be with advice or constructive criticism. After all, you’re both working to reach a common goal. But just having an understanding of where, or to who those responsibilities fall makes it easier to maintain a healthy working relationship with your spouse.