About Start Something Studio

Start Something Studio is the brainchild of Jamie Saam and Lisa Koivu. Jamie and Lisa see small businesses as the heartbeat of the economic community and understand that each town needs healthy, local businesses to remain relevant to its community members and visitors alike.

Start Something Studio seeks to reach local women entrepreneurs and founders at every stage of start-up. We aim to help entrepreneurs through smart, sustainable support by empowering them to learn and grow.

Start Something Studio Team Photo


The mission of Start Something Studio is to move small businesses forward through honest, expert connections, advice, and assistance.

Lisa Koivu

Co-Founder of Start Something Studio, Inc.

Jamie Saam co-founder of Start Something Studio
Lisa Koivu has been working online for 13+ years, doing a little of this and a little of that. She was an OG blogger at ShopGirlDaily.com and OhSheBlogs.com and a freelance writer for publications such as About.com, the Chicago Tribune, and U.S. News & World Report.

In 2017, Lisa and her family moved to the Fox Valley and she switched gears a bit, launching She Soars Digital. Using the industry knowledge she’d built up over the years, Lisa started helping entrepreneurs create engaging web presences, including designing websites, Search Engine Optimization, and developing social media strategies.

Before living the online nomad life (without the nomad part), Lisa was an Associate Dean of Admission at Lake Forest Academy and the Chicago Academy for the Arts. Somewhere in there, she obtained a Masters’s in Public Administration from DePaul University.

Lisa is originally from the Detroit area but moved to Chicago immediately after graduating from the University of Michigan. She has now lived in Illinois longer than she lived in Michigan but will always be a Michigander at heart. Lisa lives in Geneva with her husband, two kids, and two dogs. She does a lot of work in the middle of the night and while she’s sitting in the car waiting for her kids to get out of school and/or their events. In her free time (ha!), she enjoys reading and planning her family’s next vacation.

Jamie Saam

Co-Founder of Start Something Studio, Inc.

Jamie Saam co-founder of Start Something Studio

Jamie Saam spent the bulk of her childhood and now her adulthood in the Batavia community, and the roots she has formed here run deep. Jamie went to college in Chicago, intending to stay there and raise her family. During her time in the city, she worked as a bartender, server, and eventually restaurant manager, learning a great deal about people and small businesses.

Jamie and her husband moved back to the suburbs and made the leap into entrepreneurship in 2011, forming Bulldog Plumbing Inc., becoming a fixture in Batavia and one of its biggest cheerleaders. Jamie has always had a hand in their plumbing business, but in wanting to make her own mark on her community, she served as an alderman from 2013-2015. She left that position in 2015 to become the Executive Director of Batavia MainStreet, providing Jamie with an opportunity to help revitalize downtown Batavia. This position cemented her place in the community as an advocate for and supporter of small businesses, through projects like the Batavia Boardwalk Shops Incubator Program. This all helped to pave the way for the formulation of Start Something Studio with Lisa!

Outside of her professional life, Jamie loves spending time with her husband and two teenage sons, relishing her current role of Hockey & Football Mom! When she is outside of the Batavia area, you can find her in other small towns, shopping and supporting those businesses and communities.

Ellyn Theis

Creative Brand Consultant

From the time Ellyn was old enough to hold a crayon in her hand, she has held an undeniable passion for all forms of art and expression. She believes communities that not only tolerate but celebrate individuality and growth are the richest- which is why she is proud to call Batavia home.

After studying art at SIUC, Ellyn’s beginnings with Levi Strauss Co. launched her into the world of merchandising where she combined her love for design with her interest in human psychology. She enjoys researching the ever-evolving forms of social media and applying what she learns into marketing and design campaigns to effectively communicate with potential clients. Ellyn’s professional wheelhouse is in brand marketing, merchandising, social media management, and website design.

In her free time, Ellyn enjoys meditating, practicing Tai Chi, spending time with her two mutts Pepper and Blue, reading as much as she can find on whatever historical topic she happens to be interested in at the time, and getting her hands dirty with clay or paint.

Ellyn Theis
Listen to Ellyn on the Small Business Sisters Podcast:

Episode 74 – Crafting Your Brand: The Art of Design and Social Media

Heather Trask

Website Consultant

Heather lives in St. Charles (her hometown) with her husband, Matt, two daughters, Claire (16) & Stella (14), and Great-Dane Mix “Mo”.

Along with being a stay-at-home Mom, she is currently serving as an Executive Digital and Marketing Communications Manager at B2SMB Institute. She oversees all facets of web and graphic design, email and social communications, podcast and video production, as well as project and event planning.

Prior to her role as “Mom”, she enjoyed a fulfilling career as a 3rd & 4th Grade Teacher in D300, D304, & Lakota Local Schools

Beyond her professional roles, she is deeply involved in volunteer and leadership activities. As a former PTO President, Vice-President, and various committee chairs at Bell-Graham Elementary, Thompson Middle School and St. Charles East Schools, she created many connections within her local community. She has also contributed significantly to various community organizations, serving as the Vice President and Web Designer for St. Charles East HS Athletic Booster Club, Marketing Chair for Kayla’s Hope Foundation, St. Charles Storm Basketball Coach, Tiny N Tall Rescue, Inc. Foster Home and Volunteer, Big Hearts of Fox Valley Neighborhood Coordinator, and Sunday School Teacher & Vacation Bible School Committee Lead at Hosanna! Lutheran Church. In these various roles, she created websites, orchestrated events, developed fundraising campaigns, and implemented digital marketing strategies- all while trying to make a positive impact on our local community.

She is looking forward to using her diverse background and skills to help your local small businesses grow!

Ellyn Theis