Corinthians 16:14 states, “Let all that you do be done in love.” It’s a line that can be found on some of Brenton and Rachel Rohler’s handmade wooden decor — a line that encompasses their skill. Their shop includes outlines of southeastern states and other blocks of inspirational verses, but it’s not a store with a physical location.
Its name is CLARK+fawn, and its owners are both Auburn alumni who run their business from their residence in Florence, Alabama, taking orders from Etsy. The two said they’ve found their operation to be a more than delightful experience.
The husband and wife duo perform the woodcutting and painting for each product they create. The initial idea for their business came after their marriage in 2014 while sprucing up their apartment. Rachel chronicled the story by telling of a developing curiosity Brenton had for wood crafts.
“He had the idea to cut out the state of Alabama and give them as Christmas gifts to our family, so we made them out of pallet and reclaimed wood,” Rachel Rohler said. “We started brainstorming what it would look like if we were to create a business together and came up with the name CLARK+fawn.”
A blurb on their Etsy page states the name represents each half of the couple, with “Clark” being a nickname given to Brenton because of his black-rimmed eyeglasses, and “Fawn” was a name Rachel Rohler’s mother considered for her when she was born.
The venture began as a fun project for the couple, but Rachel Rohler moved to take it on as her full-time job at the end of the summer of 2017.
Since launching in January 2016, the two have furthered their reputation by visiting art shows and having Auburn-related CLARK+fawn merchandise featured at the Local Market at J&M Bookstore. The first time they displayed their work pushed them to transform it into more of a serious undertaking for future presentations.
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“We had such a great response from customers that we had to create more at the end of the show to bring with us for the next day,” Rachel Rohler said.
Though the line of decor has only been around for approximately three years, Brenton Rohler and Rachel Rohler have already had several memorable individual purchases.
While their Etsy collection is a limited, curated set of items, the couple also offers exclusive sets at craft exhibitions and takes on more specialized commissions by request.
“I would have to say the commissions that we have received to make signs out of 100-year-old barn wood have been really special,” Rachel Rohler said, citing a particular sale. “To be trusted with a family heirloom is something that we take very seriously, and it means a lot to us to be involved in such a project.”
Orders have also picked up during the holiday season. The two have garnered excellent feedback from shoppers during these times, especially during their initial season.
“I would say the most exciting highlight for me would be our first holiday season when we were just starting out and how well customers responded to our products when we didn’t even know what to expect,” Brenton Rohler said.
With the pair’s main body of customers being women ranging from age 20 to 40, the Rohlers want their products to have more placement in stores that this demographic frequents. They hope to achieve this in 2019.
Brenton Rohler still works a separate full-time job and said given that they’re the ones creating the products, they do feel this could prove somewhat challenging. Still, they’re optimistic and are actively seeking an optimal way of seeing the plan come to light.
“I’m humbled that this is what I get to do every single day,” Rachel said. “We have amazing customers that keep coming back to us every year, and seeing how excited customers get about our products makes it all worth it for us.”
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