Christian Rovers composes the music, and his wife Caitlin is a writer and artist. When they wanted to start a business, they considered doing separate startups. But they also wanted to tell their story together, and decided to combine their skills into one business. They called it Table in the Woods.
Christian explained, “We met at St Norbert’s College when we were students there. In the summer we were camp counselors at Tikakuetha Camp in Sheboygan and we’d meet at this table—and that’s where we fell in love. It was a table in the woods.”
The choice of name was sentimental, but also appropriate for the image they wanted to portray. They say the name depicts a sense of mystery that represents their creative skills. The challenge is to write a clear statement that will define what they do.
“We’re working on our story,” Christian said. “The business will include the online sale of arts, music, and spiritual goods and services.”
They work with the copywriter to get short words to communicate this vision.
“One aspect of our brand is that we don’t want to confuse our audience, but we do want it to be somewhat mystical,” Christian added.
His part of the business includes writing music and playing the piano. He released a solo piano album and songbook last year. He also wrote the theme song for a local company, and would like to write music tracks for films. To prepare, Christian spent many hours taking courses and learning from mentors, including several of the Green Bay SCORE class.
“SCORE’s Shirley VerBruggen helped me understand how art and music can come under one brand,” he said.
There was also quite a bit of working on his own as he formed a legal entity, developed an e-commerce website, installed an inventory tracker, designed a website and social media pages, and handled the many tasks required to start a business.
He also continues to work full time at Achieve Brown County as Director of Evidence-Based Decision Making. Caitlin is a homemaker mom (they have a one-year-old daughter), and she balances that with working in the business.
“Art has been a passion throughout my life, and nature is the inspiration for the art prints I create,” she said. “I do a lot of nature art and my goal is to find what I can offer that will speak to someone on a deeper spiritual level.”
In addition to prints, Caitlin has created window panels for retail establishments and has done custom work. She is the author of a self-published children’s book, Together We’ll Watch All Night.
This project involved poetry, artwork, and graphic design, and was a joint effort with her husband. Show the couple what they can do when they work together. The business, located in Green Bay, was launched in 2020 at the start of the pandemic.
Christian said, “We decided to form the company during that time and are constantly looking for more ways to collaborate and do things together. There are so many ways music and art can be combined; I don’t think it’s often done, but we are intrigued by the idea of merging them.”
He says he can imagine something like a piece of music that could be the background to one of Caitlin’s paintings; To tell an audience story.
Related:A Green Bay Entrepreneur Discovers His Passion By Signing Business
Related:For Green Bay photographer Lovell Richardson, it’s all about taking the next step
As they continue to develop their business model, they spoke to another SCORE mentor in December. They plan to trademark the name, but have seen it used elsewhere and want to protect it. With thousands of SCORE mentors across the country, Christian has been able to locate mentoring via email with an expert in the field at www.score.org.
He had other mentors and inspirations, too.
Christian said, “As of November, I am part of the Mastermind group focusing on marketing. The focus is on faith, family, finance and fitness. We are young people from all over the country helping each other.”
The group shares ideas that Christian hopes will help him grow his business. He and Caitlin have a target date of 2026 to have a mature business that will provide a solid income. To achieve this goal, they constantly test the market to determine demand. They have a marketing plan that includes events, social media, art shows, and networking.
“What would work look like?” Christian said. “This is an exploratory period to determine what we are good at and what we love to do. I can see that it is a creative agency where we do 50% of what we care about and 50% of consulting.”
Caitlin believes the path will become clearer as she moves forward.
“In the words of Joseph Campbell,” she said, “Follow your bliss.” “We find our world in art and music – the place where you can show that part of your soul to the authentic world that will inspire people better. We all have this amazing creative capacity as human beings.”
Tina Dittmann Bielefeldt is co-owner of DB Commercial Real Estate in Green Bay and former area manager for SCORE, Wisconsin.