Cindy Owens of Desert Ridge is a girly girl, a mom and the owner of girly boutique and birthday party venue Girly Girlz, with locations in Scottsdale and Mesa.
What inspired you to open Girly Girlz?
I have one daughter and one step-daughter and that’s really what made me want to do it. I loved to do parties for my girls and parties are a lot of work so I thought it would be fun to have a place to do really fun theme-based girl parties that takes the burden off of mom.
I had a break of about three years from work to be “mommy” and I had always been in management positions so it was a pretty easy transition for me to continue bossing people around [laughs]. I’m a bit of a control freak but that’s good for the position that I’m in.
Tell me about your business.
We’re a retail boutique and we sell close to 20,000 products from baby up through preteens…mainly gifty items. Whether people are having parties here or elsewhere they stop for presents and we’ll even do the gift wrapping.
We do 15-plus different girls’ party themes from tea parties to rock-star parties. We even do limo parties for older girls. The themes are changing all the time. And we take care of everything. We are very detail oriented. Everything about the party relates to the theme from the invitations to the pictures in the room and the desserts…everything.
How do you balance being a mom and a business owner?
Now I’m not only a mom but a single mom. When I started this business, my daughter was 3, now she is 9. She comes in with me after school sometimes and helps ring things up, put tags on things and help customers. I think it’s really good experience for her. Also, I have a really good staff so I can be there by 3pm to pick her up. I work while she’s at school and I’m home when she’s home.
What’s the best part about running your own business?
In this business the best part is that I feel like we empower girls. It’s all about them when they’re here but not in a spoiled kind of way; [it’s] more of a nurturing, empowering kind of way. We do their make-up and stuff but it’s light and princessy. From a mom’s perspective, I don’t want my daughter to have heavy make-up and mascara on either, so that’s not what we do. It’s really more of an opportunity for them to come in and be girls.
I learn a lot from them. I’ve seen so many different types of girls and moms and ways to parent. I’ve picked up so many things from awesome mommies. It’s fun having a store for girls…I’m totally in my element. It’s a happy place to work, for sure. I don’t even really realize what’s going on out in the world. I’m in my own world here, listening to Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers. If a crisis happens, somebody better call me because I won’t know about it.
What’s the hardest part?
This economy is not great. Girly Girlz is a place of fairy tales come true. There’s really nothing you need but everything you want. With this economic struggle it’s been challenging to keep people coming in the door. I see how people are changing the way they spend and I’m adjusting what I buy because of that. I’m offering everything from 35-cent bath oil beads to $150 sleeping bags. It’s helped to tailor my buying to the current economic situation so I still have the girly girl stuff but at a really reasonable price.
What advice would you give an aspiring mompreneur?
Put your family first. That’s probably why I’m a single mom. Family has to come first. It’s really hard when you start a new business to do that. When I first started I had no idea how busy we would be. I literally worked every day for the first three years. It was a blessing and a curse and it was really hard on my family. It’s a balance. You have to balance family and work and you have to hire strong people to balance things out. I’ve learned that now.