For the Fitzpatricks, it's all about the division of labor - Ryan does the pictures, Tilney does words and George, well, George kind of does the naming rights.
Hence, Man vs. George Design, an online greeting card and art print company Ryan and Tilney Fitzpatrick started in 2009.
"George was our cat, and we were trying to think of a name that would be kind of unusual but also playful," Tilney explained. "We thought everyone struggles against something in life, and our struggles mainly centered around George the cat."
"It means we've had a pretty easy life," Ryan joked.
And an interesting one, particularly for George, a lady tabby cat (named after George Harrison), who retired to Michigan after Tilney developed allergies.
The anecdote was an instant ice-breaker for the Wauwatosa couple when they went to New York later for the National Stationary Show, where they debuted their greeting card collection. Ryan's designs competed with six other finalists for best new product.
"It really is a nice feeling," Ryan said.
It's a life they scarcely dared to imagine just a few years ago, when Ryan decided he didn't feel like going to the store to buy his niece a birthday card.
"I said, 'Why don't I design one?' " Ryan recalled.
Back then, Tilney was an IT consultant with an English degree on ice, and Ryan was working as a legislative aide in Madison, dreaming of being an artist.
Tilney still has her full-time job; she does web design and social networking for MVG in all her free time. But Ryan is living the entrepreneurial dream, working full-time-plus on orders from as far away as Singapore and coming up with new ideas for what he describes as whimsical, light and colorful designs influenced by mid-century design and printed locally on recycled paper.
As for the words, Ryan said, "We love puns, and we like to keep things witty and fresh. We try to avoid the stereotypes of a toolbelt for a dad and those kinds of things."
One other thing you won't find on MVG cards: glitter.
"We have a strict no-glitter policy," Tilney said. "It gets everywhere."
If you would like to suggest a business to be featured in the Business Spotlight, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (262) 446-6643.
JUST THE FACTS
BUSINESS: Man vs. George Design
PHONE: (414) 218-2558
OWNERS: Ryan and Tilney Fitzpatrick
TYPE OF BUSINESS: greeting card and art prints
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight: Alicia Haugen, mom and designer, got into social media early
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight: At Hoppe Tree Service, listening may be the most important thing
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight: Chiropractor says it's not just about the spine
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight: Daly's is helping to bring the fountain pen back
- Business Spotlight: Spring is here and gardens are blooming
- Business Spotlight: Empire Fish
- Business Spotlight: The Lutheran Home & Harwood Place
- Business Spotlight: Valentine business partners found coffee kept calling them back
- Business Spotlight: Running a remodeling company no strain in family-owned business
- Business Spotlight: The Malt Shoppe isn't selling milk shakes
- Midtown Dental Care is 'home-like' for new and long-term patients
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight: Gigi's satisfies even the biggest craving for cupcakes
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight: Therapist finds himself enriched by a life shaped by transitions
- Business Spotlight: Milwaukee Map surveys the world from a small store near you
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight Yoga instructor practiced the art before it was all the rage
- Business Spotlight: Alfa Flower shop weathered some tough years, and has flourished in the economic
- The wheel of life keeps rolling at Johnson's bike store
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight: Bridgetown Framing Gallery
- Wauwatosa's Harwood Hair makes styling about more than hair
- Wauwatosa Business Spotlight: Arte Wine & Painting Studio