Christina Mau is a woman to know. She is full of joy and always looking for ways to help out her neighbors. She is salt-of-the-earth, so it is fitting to us that she started her own company, Salta Events.
You bravely started your own business, Salta Events, not long before COVID hit. Can you tell us about the mission behind Salta and how your work has evolved?
Working in the alcohol industry, I was seeing a lot of “cut and paste” and “one size fits all” type approaches to events. Through my work in the beverage industry, I began producing events, and I started to become known for my custom approach and attention to detail.
When I decided to create my own event company, I knew that that approach would be the backbone of everything that we did. We really don’t have a set menu for anything that we do. Instead, I prefer to create custom experiences. One of my favorite things to do is create custom cocktails for clients. I’ve done a lot of custom cocktails for weddings, and other social gatherings, but one of my favorite clients is a local art gallery. For every art opening, I get to create custom drinks that are an extension of the art, or something meaningful to the artist. It’s just one small thing that takes an event to the next level.
Like everything else, the events industry has changed to fit the times. A lot of events have gone virtual, and people are starting to have smaller gatherings. We’ve been able to start doing some custom beverage service again, though it’s very different now. I’ve spent a lot of time these past few months figuring out how to do things safely in “the new normal.”
Whether it’s virtual, or small in-person gatherings, people still want to connect. However we can help make that experience a little more fun, while still being safe, we’re all about it.
Staying true to your entrepreneurial spirit, you’ve quickly and quite successfully changed the model of Salta to support our current state of affairs. Can you tell us about your new partnership with The Counter Kitchen, also a woman-owned business?
Like everyone else, I’m figuring out how to do things in this “new normal” and it changes daily. I think the reason that my new model has been successful, is the consideration for what people need right now. You can’t just say “what can I do to stay in business?” You have to look at it like, “What are people needing right now, and how can I make that happen for them?”
In May, when everyone was still mostly at home, I decided to put together a Mother’s Day experience that we could deliver to moms even during quarantine. I partnered with several local businesses to provide food, drinks, and even flowers. The number of people who ordered those packages showed me that it was definitely a need right now. Since then, I have done similar packages for Father’s Day and 4th of July.
I recently partnered with Kathleen Casanova of The Counter Kitchen for a series of “Backyard Getaways.” She’s the perfect partner for Salta because she has the same attention to detail and desire to provide an elevated experience.
Kathleen and I were talking one day about how everyone we know is spending time in their backyards, parks, and outdoor spaces as an alternative to their canceled vacations this summer. We realized that we could put together something special for people, so that they could still have a little escape. The series is three themed Backyard Getaways that include food, drinks, and even a music playlist so that people have everything that they need for a unique experience. The Counter Kitchen is handling all of the food, and we’ve both taken special care to include as many local businesses as we can in our offerings.
Each theme will be announced as they go on sale, so people can keep an eye on our social media if they’d like to see what getaway we’ll be taking you on next!
Where do you find inspiration? As a small business owner, we can relate with the harsh reality of how some days are better than others. What keeps you motivated?
It can definitely have its ups and downs. The most motivating thing to me is really the exact reason that I started Salta–making clients’ experiences memorable, and the interactions that we have when we’re hosting. Obviously we have not been out and about in the past few months, but I recently was able to create some signature drinks (covid-style) for a client, and one of the guests was so excited to see me and had been looking forward to having my cocktails at their event. Being away from clients and guests for so long, I had forgotten how nice it is to hear that what you do is appreciated.
You are not originally from Denver, how did you find yourself here?
I actually moved here from Wyoming for a teaching position. My first career was teaching high school Spanish and coaching dance in Lakewood. I did that for 13 years before transitioning into the wine industry, and then events. And yes, there are a lot of jokes about going from being a high school teacher to get into the alcohol industry!
Pre-COVID, Denver was hailed as the leader with regards to providing a strong community shaped around small businesses. Do you think Denver has shown support for the survival of small businesses moving forward in a time of so many unknowns?
I really hope so. I work closely with South Gaylord Street, where the businesses are entirely locally-owned, and I’ve heard a lot of stories from business owners about the support they’ve received from customers these past few months. It’s good to see people making a conscious effort to support small businesses. A lot of people are living in uncertain times financially right now, but there are so many things that people can do that don’t cost anything. Leaving positive reviews online, following social media accounts, liking posts, etc. can really help small businesses right now. I’ve also seen the community acting with extra grace and understanding as everyone tries to pivot their business model and do things completely differently.
You are someone who is constantly growing as a business leader. What can we expect from you in the future?
I have always been about helping people connect. Now, more than ever, people are looking for ways to connect not just socially, but professionally. I hope to continue to partner with, and connect local businesses so that we can all help each other grow. Many of the businesses that I work with are female-owned, and that will continue to be a priority for me. When I started Salta, many incredible female business owners reached out to me and said, “how can I help you, what do you need, what can we do to get you out there,” and I hope to return the favor with emerging female-owned businesses. We have to support each other now more than ever!
We will forever be grateful to have Christina in our corner, and we can’t wait to see the new and innovative ways Salta Events evolves. Until we can toast one another in large boisterous groups again, consider upping your backyard game, and visit saltaevents.com.