Marin SBDC


“It’s been really fun and enlightening working with SBDC Advisor Stephanie Koehler as she never makes us feel badly if we don’t understand something with social media. She works at our level and helps us grow in our abilities even if she has to explain instructions multiple times. We would not be where are today with our online presence if it were not for the SBDC.”

All Client Stories

In 2009, Rob and Nita decided to combine their businesses into one to better support each other’s work and their growing partnership in photographing wildflowers. This led to more art sales and licensing of images to enhance spaces. Their 20 year journey photographing wildflowers led to the creation of their traveling exhibit and 12 time award-winning wildflower book, Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change. Both the exhibit and book were created to inspire hope and action. Through images and text, by a diverse group of authors, they bring awareness to how climate change impacts the natural world by sharing the delicate environments of wildflower blooms and how these flowers support most life on land. Rob and Nita believe “if you want to save the world, start with plants.”


Earlier in their careers, both Rob and Nita discovered they were gifted at photographic storytelling and made the bold leap to do this work full time. Rob left Massachusetts to study aerospace engineering in Los Angeles, but soon discovered the beauty found in southern California’s deserts. His love of the natural world and its diversity of life inspired his photography focused on conservation and environmental issues, allowing him to pursue a career for the past 40 years. Nita’s interest in photography was nurtured by her father, an amateur photographer. She began her career as a wildlands firefighter, and always carried a camera with her. She saw how the power of visual storytelling could change lives and make a difference. This inspired her to create projects for nonprofits, and she was able to support herself photographing people during the first 25 years of her career. 

They recycle or reuse the majority of the items from their projects, donating to many organizations like
Make it Home and even hand hold special pieces like artwork and pianos, making sure they find the best new homes.

The WinterBadger Collection combines the photographic talents of Rob Badger and Nita Winter. Each artist brings decades of experience and a personal vision to projects ranging from portraits of children and families to landscape photography, wildflower imagery, and environmental photojournalism that celebrates nature and tells the story of humanity’s impact on the planet. 

Their respectful approach to field photography leaves nature completely undisturbed using only natural lighting and flowers that are still growing. Their commitment to conservation and preserving natural ecosystems has them hiking across mountains, sometimes above 13,000 feet in altitude, carrying 60-70 pounds to find the wildflower blooms to photograph and share the incredible beauty and value of these environments with all.

Their wildflower and nature imagery can be found as framed art and permanent installations (i.e. built into the architecture or embedded in corridors or in walls) in medical facilities, including Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, UCSF and San Francisco and Alameda County hospitals.


Rob and Nita first came to the Marin SBDC in 2014 to help them grow in marketing/exposure and get their book published and funded. They also needed help with understanding different funding options.

They also needed help with grant applications and social media marketing.

And when the pandemic hit, like for many businesses, this increased the challenges Rob and Nita were facing.

Game Plan

They were initially paired with SBDC Advisor Robert Toering who helped them make their business more solid by understanding different structures for running the business and reviewing the financial elements so they were getting paid a living wage. Robert also assisted with devising methods to raise money for their book project and made sure they were connected to the best resources to help them grow. 

They then were connected to SBDC Advisor Paul Bozzo who assisted them in understanding different funding models like crowdfunding and loans. Paul also helped them launch a Kickstarter campaign.

Next SBDC Advisor Stephanie Koehler assisted them with grant applications and social media marketing. They didn’t know much about social media so Stephanie helped them get set up on different platforms, understand the nuances for each account, create content strategies, understand storytelling, image and video tips, and create mechanisms to draw in more followers. Rob and Nita have attended many SBDC workshops to further advance their skills in online marketing and ecommerce. 

The Marin SBDC also helped them get their PPP and EIDL funding which saved their business. “The pandemic funding was paramount for keeping our business alive and we may not have succeeded in getting that funding without the help from SBDC.”

“Working with SBDC has been an extremely valuable investment of our time. As artists, we just want to create; we are not trained businesspeople. It’s incredible to have skillful, patient, non-judgmental experts at our fingertips whenever questions arise or when we hit a challenge or when we need to understand the latest trend and/or update. The SBDC has helped us make important and critical decisions for our business and always keeps us focused with a clear strategy to carry out our projects. This is truly an amazing service that can help so many other artists and business owners. Thank you!”

rob and nita, owners, The winterbadger collection


Positive Impact (results):

  • They received 12 awards for their book!
  • Book and notecard sales have been steadily growing, along with a new line of merchandise.
  • They set up all their social media accounts and created an ecommerce website
  • Rob and Nita received the Sierra’s Club Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography for their wildflower project and Rob’s over 40 years of conservation work
  • They have major permanent installations (i.e. images built into the architecture or embedded in corridors or in walls) of their wildflower and nature photography in several medical facilities such as Kaiser, Sutter, UCSF and San Francisco General Hospital. (Studies have shown that evidence-based design – having nature accessible helps patients heal faster and take less medication, helps reduce stress for family members, and many more benefits)
  • Their framed art is part of permanent art collections in at least 40 medical facilities and government, foundation and corporate offices all over the US. 
  • $36,000 EIDL loans
  • $5,000 CA Grants
  • $35,000 PPP loan
  • $70,000 other fundraising, crowdfunding and investments
15 foot triptych panel healthcare art in new Kaiser Redwood City Medical Center/Hospital

Learn More about WinterBadger Collection