Case Detail

Case Summary

Is Destira My Destiny? Whether, When, and How to Join One's Small Family Business

Case Number: 5-113-006, Year Published: 2018

HBS Number: KE1048

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Authors: John Ward; Carol Adler Zsolnay

Key Concepts

Compensation, Decision making, Entrepreneurship, Family businesses, Small & medium-sized enterprises, Succession planning, Women in business


In mid-2012, after successful years in large public companies and obtaining an MBA, middle daughter Jen, 32, is trying to decide whether the time is right for her to enter her mother and sister's small family business to grow it further. Destira, Inc. was a designer/manufacturer of gymnastics wear for girls, headquartered in California. Donna Levy founded the company in 1990, after years of making leotards for her three daughters, who were competitive youth gymnasts, and getting requests from other parents to make the garments for their own children. In 2005, when Donna's oldest daughter, Jodi, joined Destira, Donna gave her a 50 percent equity stake. Between then and year-end 2011, the pair grew the revenues from $550,000 to $1.06 million, increased the number of outlets carrying the brand, upgraded the internal accounting/operations software, and added an online direct-to-customer retail business. The case shows realistic considerations for the individual, family, and business when evaluating whether or not to commit to join the family enterprise.

Learning Objectives

After reading and discussing the case, students will be able to identify and analyze the thought processes, family relationships, business situation, and other factors that go into a decision to join one's small family business; determine questions or concerns to be addressed before deciding; and create next steps/a fair process for family member(s) to incorporate a new family member into the business.

Number of Pages: 8

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Family Business

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: California, United States

Industry: Apparel

Organization Name: Destira

Organization Size: Small

Decision Maker Gender: Female

Year of Case: 2012