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Transition, Work & Motherhood: Losing A Business Partner; And Finding Out Who Your Friends Are


Ed: Sydney Chaney Thomas is a Moraga-based writer and businesswoman with three books to her name, all currently available on Amazon. She is also co-founder of a sustainable sailing apparel company called Ocean SF, and operates a nonprofit that works to reduce plastic waste called the The Trident Project.

Sydney teaches entrepreneurial marketing at UC Berkeley in their International Diploma Program and, in addition to this column, she writes a popular lifestyle blog, which can be found at sydneychaneythomas.com.

Transition, Work & Motherhood
Moraga, Calif. 
June 1, 2018

When we begin in business we never start off believing quitting that business is an option. My former Ocean SF business partner, Andrew Lacenere, was forced to resign recently due to health reasons, and dealing with his departure has been challenging to say the least.

I’m not surprised as being an entrepreneur is stressful and start ups invariably take an enormous toll on our health and nervous system. When things go right it’s amazing, of course, but as things go counter to expectations – it is often quite the opposite.

New enterprises such as ours are comprised of both the high and low.
 When we started this latest endeavor, I had worked for four tech start-ups and only one over time proved successful, so I knew the challenges that awaited.

Regardless, I still believe in my initial premise; sustainable, beautiful, performance-based apparel.

Life can be unpredictable, but with determination and fortitude I’ve learned all obstacles can be overcome. Thankfully, I’m surrounded by so many good people – all of whom continually reach out to me and have been so generous with their love and support. My friends have pulled me through these last 22 months and for this I am forever grateful.

My friend David, from the Race Committee at Berkeley Yacht Club, posed in his company jacket. My long term friend, Tina, reached out with legal advice, my friend Craig with his retail experience, and my girlfriends all came through with extra doses of the medicine they’ve always given me – their friendship.

This too shall pass. Though rocked by the loss of a respected business partner, I look forward to continuing to build my beautiful brand, and to coming out stronger and wiser when all is said and done.

(Ed: As this column focuses on the problems and successes faced by women in business we’d be most interested in hearing from any local businesswomen who may have found themselves in a similar place – and how they were able to resolve the problem.)

Sydney Chaney Thomas


  1. Hopefully your partner will be ok. This is a really traumatic thing for many small? businesses but hopefully you will have the resources and support you need to get though. Let us know what happens – I’ve been involved in many small business startups and it is rough.

  2. It can be bad when it happens. My partner took $30000 in company money when she ran off – leaving me and one or two others responsible. Rely on those friends!

  3. Previous post about bad partner brought back memories. Mine was a church going family man with an addiction to gambling and strippers who turned out to be smarter than he was. Almost brought us all down with him.

  4. You may not want to get into it here but I’d be interested in knowing what the legal ramifications might be in a case like this. Does the partnership agreement need to be redrawn? Notice given to SBOE? Hope your friend gets past this setback!!!

  5. Hang in there, Sydney. I hope he’s okay. You find out who your real friends are when chips are down, and it’s nice to read you have very supportive friends…

  6. Hope you partner recovers. It can be a real setback for a young company – depending on his level of involvement and skill set. Were you thinking of continuing on your own or partnering up again? There are advantages and disadvantages to both paths. Good luck!

  7. @Danielle Luckily if you live in Lamorinda you have many friends that are lawyers. So, I’ve been given good legal advise and help. I am very thankful that I have kind neighbors I can trust. It’ll all work out.

  8. Wanted to follow up and let everyone know there is a significant amount of interest in ensuring Ocean SF carries on. I will be talking to several key people over the next week and keep everyone posted. Thank you for your concern. Love and blessings. Sydney

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