“Mama Gold Tone”: A Story of Music, Craft, Family, and Enterprise

Episode One of FEE’s new video series “How We Thrive” (for more on the series, see below) explores one of the world’s leading banjo manufacturing companies. Gold Tone Music Group was started by Robyn and Wayne Rogers, after many years of owning a music store in the small beachtown of Titusville, FL. Follow Robyn’s journey from owning a 1970s music store to entering the world of instrument manufacturing and pioneering the movement for affordable banjos and imaginative folk acoustic instruments. Her unique perspective and experience makes for an entertaining and empowering story of a modern day small business, who has made a respected name for itself in the extremely competitive world of music.

From the Director:

This episode is particularly special to me because I grew up with the Rogers family in Titusville, FL. Robyn is like a second mother to me, as she is to so many in this community. Over the years of starting my own company, I have called her countless times at different speed bumps and hoops I have come up to in my own journey.

Robyn has such an amazing intuition about business, knows how to tell it straight, but leaves you feeling empowered and hopeful to move forward. She is the perfect role model for Female Entrepreneurs, and I’m so grateful to get to share her story with the world. It took some convincing for her to agree to be a part of “How We Thrive”, saying she’s nothing special… She is truly one of the most humble people I know. I can’t wait for you to see this episode and see for yourself, what an inspiring businesswoman she is and reep the benefits of hearing her thoughts.

About the Series

“How We Thrive” is a docuseries profiling female entrepreneurs and the impact their businesses have made on the world. From one of the world’s more prolific banjo companies to a Senegalese entrepreneur trying to combat the poverty image – each episode follows the creation and growth of a specific company, the trials and tribulations experienced, and the knowledge gained – with the hopes of inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs. After all, learning through the experience of others is one of the cornerstones of business. And while not always the easiest path, watching how each business learned to thrive in their specific environments shows just how rewarding taking such a risk can be. The idea is to show, while each company provides a different narrative, the similarities and common threads shared across each industry, location, and time. In short, there are specific characteristics shared by all entrepreneurs.

It’s also important to showcase the hardships each businesswoman faced – that the path to success is often wrought with hard work, sacrifice, perseverance, and a tenacity that would scare away most nine-to-fivers. Furthermore, business doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Business happens out of relationships, trial, failures, and a whole heck of a lot of determination. “How We Thrive” aims to expose the authentic journey to the top, avoiding society's sugarcoated portrayal of success. Those who have created thriving businesses did not do so easily, and it’s truly inspiring to hear their stories and share in these victories.  

We chose women who not only do business well, despite all of the roadblocks: funding, regulation, competitive markets, but women who are passionate about what they do – women who are striving to make a difference. They are not only making a living as their own boss, they are running companies that have purpose, societal impact, and are run with compassion for their employees as well as their clients.

Knowledge is a valuable resource to new entrepreneurs, and I saw a lack of it when I started my own company. To have a docuseries that can offer a little guidance in the entrepreneurial realm, in my mind, would benefit any company. These films are meant to help fill the void, and I truly hope many are inspired and challenged to, if not reevaluate their own motives for creating a business, at least have a broader understanding of the entrepreneurial life.