QVC’s Gendel Girls Lingerie Family Brings An Ex-Husband Back — Just For Business

By Diane Mastrull
The Philadelphia Inquirer

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The rigors of family businesses are many even without a marital split among principals. “Rare” are the couples continuing on in business after divorcing. However this Philadelphia family is giving their business relationship a second shot.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

If Kalina Gendel never spoke to her mother again, it would be understandable.

Kathy Gendel, founder and CEO of the Gendel Girls, the Chester County, Pa., company behind QVC’s largest intimate-apparel line, has rehired her oldest daughter’s ex-husband, Michel Larocque, to serve as director of business development at the 24-year-old family business.


Or “challenging,” as Kalina put it at the company’s headquarters on the Gendel family farm in Chester Springs, Pa., as the man to whom she was married for 12 years and who fathered their two children sat across a big round table from her. Kalina acknowledged restraint in choosing that word, “because it’s going to live forever” in print and online.

And because, Kalina said, there’s an upside to this post-divorce working relationship with Larocque, a former goalie with the Chicago Blackhawks whom she met in college at Boston University. He had a two-year contract with the Blackhawks, playing in just three games. They married in 2001. Their children are 13 and 6.

“The things that help us co-parent very well – facing challenges, coming up with solutions to problems – those have actually helped our business relationship,” said Kalina, 40. “Our working relationship is better now than it was before.”

She and Larocque attributed that to the same thing: space. Living apart provides the work-life balance they didn’t have when they were married and working at the Gendel Girls.

“I wouldn’t say it ruined the marriage,” Larocque, 41, said of not having a life separate from work. “I would say it definitely played a part.”

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