Mindy Fritz owns multiple businesses and juggles three kids
Mindy Fritz of Ladd is a wife, mother of three kids and now owner of three businesses — two in Princeton and one in Ottawa.
She owns the women’s clothing boutique juniper & mae and the children’s boutique, The Milk Moustache, both in Princeton. And she recently opened a mixture of the two boutiques in Ottawa, where one side sells women’s fashion and the other focuses on babies, toddlers and kids.
Her schedule is full and crazy most days, but she would never give up what she’s got going on in life right now.
If you ask her what the secret is to juggling the mom/wife life with the business life, she will tell you it’s all about creating a balance.
“I can be very driven and focused, so sometimes I need to be reined in by my family and friends in order to slow down a bit,” she said. “But I’m also keenly aware of how quickly my kids are growing up and so I try to free up plenty of time to be with my family, too.”
Being an entrepreneur is something that runs in her blood. Both of her grandfathers ran their own businesses and her father carried on one of them for many years. Her two sisters also both run their own businesses, as well.
While Fritz always envisioned she’d someday operate a storefront, her career didn’t start out that way. After getting a college degree in accounting, she worked in the field for a few long years before feeling like a caged tiger behind a desk.
Once she broke from that cage, she got her realtor license and had much better experiences. Shortly thereafter, she became the mother of two girls and started sewing clothing for them as a hobby.
“I got requests for orders and listed some pieces on Esty. Before I knew it, I was designing digital sewing patterns, doing vendor fairs, making up to 600 personalized Christmas stockings a year on my dining room table and selling fabric by the yard out of my kids’ playroom,” she said.
In 2013, she was showing a friend a building in Princeton that he wanted to purchase and he offered to lease her the storefront, which later became juniper & mae. About a year after that, she purchased the building a few doors up and turned it into The Milk Moustache. And just this year, her success in retail allowed her to pursue her third shop in Ottawa, which opened early September.
Fritz said if she wasn’t running her three stores, she’d be doing some sort of career that would satisfy her creative drive.
“I’m usually happiest when I have my hands into some sort of project,” she said. “Designing and decorating the shops, as well as the physical labor involved in doing the actual work is probably my favorite part of the entire process.”
An average day for Fritz is a whirlwind of caring for her husband and three children and doing work for the three shops. She manages to find time to attend after school activities for her two older girls, squeezes some time in for the typical housework chores, entertains her toddler, opens up the shops, figures plans for dinner, picks the girls up from school and spends time with them, makes sure homework is complete, feeds the pet turtle, works on payroll or updates the books for her businesses when needed and kisses the kids goodnight — not in that order, of course.
Around 2 a.m., Fritz can be found in her home office working at more daily tasks required for the businesses and figuring ways to grow her websites.
“If I’m lucky my little guy won’t wake up and need me during my four-hour stretch of sleep,” she said. “I’m working on delegating some of my workload, but I’m sort of a do-it-yourself kind of girl. It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, but I also have no problem with blowing off the entire day when I need to and taking the family to Lake Thunderbird to play and swim.”
Fritz also involves her family in the businesses as much as possible. Until recently, her husband, Brad, was helping run The Milk Moustache. He continues to support Fritz from the sidelines, but is always there for support when needed. Fritz’s oldest daughter, Allie, has expressed many entrepreneurial ideas for one day owning her own business, and her other daughter, Josie, enjoys running the cash register and ringing up customers. While her youngest, Charlie, is just a toddler, he spent many days with Mom in the shops throughout his first year. But now that’s he’s walking and exploring, it’s best for him to stay back home with Dad until he’s a little older.
“They absorb a lot of it by hearing me talk about different aspects and I hope it continues to spark an entrepreneurial spirit in them. I’d love to get them to one of the trade shows to be mini assistant buyers,” she said. “I hope my business is an inspiration to my girls and they’re not afraid to jump into their dreams whatever they may be.”
Despite keeping up with it all, Fritz runs into the daily challenges many moms and businesses owners can relate to, which is the feeling of constant pressure and the pull to be in many places and tending to many people and things at once.
“Feeling the guilt and pressure of not being able to take care of one without neglecting another. But at the end of the day, if the kids are happy and the shops have decent sales and I’ve tossed the turtle a carrot — I feel like I’ve done okay,” she said.
While there’s a lot of pressure these days to be a super mom, Fritz said it can quickly turn into a slippery slope.
“My advice (to all moms) is to love yourself and be happy with what you have accomplished and don’t dwell on how far you are from the goal,” she said. “You’ll have a lot of years to work, but only a few to be a mom to little ones, so just be sure to maintain a balance.”