finance

How Jessica Rudd and her husband became accidental business partners.

Jessica Rudd found her business partner by accident one night. Oddly enough, he was sitting across the dinner table from her, and had been for years.

It was her husband, Albert Tse.

The daughter of ex-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd — who is a lawyer, author and intimidating entrepreneur in her own right — was in the throws of setting up her retail business and naturally began bouncing ideas of her partner, a former Macquarie banker.

“When we came to the end of each day and were sitting around the table with a high-chair covered in spaghetti, between those normal snippets of normal family life, we were talking about our day,” Rudd told the Australian Financial Review.

“I’d say a great brand approached me today. A sample would arrive and Albert would say that’s cool, I want to talk to those people. I would introduce him. Then we realised we were working together.”

It’s fitting when you consider that Rudd, 33, similarly happened upon the idea for her booming business.

She and Tse, 37, had been married for two years when they moved to Beijing in the middle of 2009.

Each time she visited Australia the new mum would return with a suitcase full of local products for her friends – which, of course, they loved.

When she returned to Brisbane in 2014 she turned the idea into an online store, “Jessica’s Suitcase“, which sells more than 150 Australian mother and baby products back into China.

Rudd launched her Image via Facebook
ADVERTISEMENT

Rudd has cleverly built a profile for herself in country by harnessing the power of new media.

Her blogs and videos, which occasionally feature the pair's one-year-old son McClean and four-year-old daughter Josie, often receive millions of hits.

Tse, meanwhile, runs a  $200 million private equity fund, Wattle Hill, and has many connections in the Beijing business world.

Last week, it floated a major investment in an organic baby food company, Bubs Australia.

Jessica Rudd and Albert Tse married in 2007. Image via Facebook

Basically, they are a perfect match.

While the couple have faced some challenges making in-roads in the notoriously challenging Chinese market place, they are well on their way.

Rudd is definitely "the boss" though.

"It's been really nice … most of the time," she told the Australian Financial Review.

"What has been nice about working together – and neither of us thought this would happen – is that now when Albert takes the call and has to step away from the dinner table, instead of groaning and muttering under my breath, which I still often do, because we are working on a lot of projects together we both understand the importance of what we are working on."