There are so many moms doing incredible things right here in Colorado Springs, making a difference in a variety of ways. Because we’re passionate about the moms in our city, we want to do all we can to both celebrate and champion them. This is the second installment in our new series; I Am a Colorado Springs Mom, where we regularly feature some of our area’s most inspiring mothers.
At the heart of our city beats the drum of young entrepreneurs dreaming of how an already great Colorado Springs could become greater. There’s an undeniable and passionate demand to inspire Colorado Springs residents to invest in the local landscape; to move the city forward. And though there are many that fervently lead this charge, today we are honored to introduce to you Mundi Ross, Founder of Colorado Collective and Owner of COCO Crafted.
Mundi and her husband Casey have called Colorado Springs home for six years. The roots they have planted in that short time have grown rapidly, but deep – and as one slings whiskey and the other words and dreams; both run businesses that harbor a heart for community. It’s clear that their heart also belongs to their 2 1/2 year old son, Walker; dragon slayer, bike rider, and as Mundi states, “the best.” This family loves each other, and this city.
Four years ago, Mundi launched a cookie company called Salt + Butter Co. selling her edible creations at a farmer’s market. It wasn’t long before she began connecting with the various other vendors; each with unique and interesting stories to tell. At the same time, many young people were leaving Colorado Springs for other larger and more diverse cities. Where some complained of the Springs’ seemingly bland culture, Mundi only saw possibility and opportunity. And so, Mundi began with a website; a home that celebrated home, and it’s surrounding areas with beautiful words and striking images. Mundi’s focus through it all? People. Colorado based creators, makers, and enthusiasts alike.
It seems right then that Mundi’s core team is comprised of people who reflect their subjects – individuals striving to be part of something larger than themselves. Mundi tells us that she met each of her team by happenstance. But even that in itself seems to illustrate the soul of what Mundi’s passionate about – connection within community and community inspiring connection. Mundi isn’t kidding when she says that Colorado Collective was a labor of love and she gives much of the credit to her team of contributors. Many of them volunteer their time and talents and she says that without them, Colorado Collective wouldn’t be possible. These are people she truly values and appreciates.
Much like anything delivered into the world, it’s not surprising that Colorado Collective has grown into something much more. In March, COCO Crafted, Mundi’s downtown storefront, launched with the mission to give both adults and children a place to learn the art of craft. From woodworking to hand lettering to cooking demos, COCO Crafted is really a space of endless possibilities. More importantly, it’s a space that is open to all of our community.
To us, it’s obvious that COCO Crafted is Mundi’s heart in the physical – and just as it grows with dreams of more, so does Mundi’s. Sometime soon, she will be launching a podcast, as well as a artist in residency program. And eventually, Mundi hopes to make COCO Crafted a place that partners with non-profits around the community to provide creative workshops at a more affordable rate.
How has your work impacted your children?
With Walker being so young, I am not sure that I have had much of an impact on him in the present. But, I do often look ahead and hope that he is one day proud of me. I am working incredibly hard and I don’t get a lot of time with him, but I make sure that what I do give him is quality. I don’t want this to be my forever as I know time is fleeting and in a blink of an eye he will be all grown up. Quality time for me is meeting him where he is at which is wrestling on the ground, chasing him around the house, and skinned knuckles. I love him so.
How do you hope your life influences and/or inspires other women?
I just go through life working hard not always thinking about whether or not my actions or words will have impact. I do my best to be kind and supportive as I hope others will do the same for me. I know that I am pushing the boundaries in my community with what I am up to and I often have an internal struggle on the good, the bad, and the ugly of entrepreneurship. I am not sure there isn’t a day that doesn’t go by where I have my doubts; but I shake it off, refocus, and set goals. I hope that through my successes and failures, I am an encouragement to chase after your dreams. As well as to find a community of people who believe in you and can help support you with high-fives and coaching to get you where you need to be.
What’s been the greatest joy of motherhood?
This is a bittersweet answer. I started to respond with fluff but decided for truth. I struggled with postpartum and breast feeding and landed myself in a vicious cycle of guilt, shame, hurt, anger. .I had such a difficult time shaking it. During a season in which I should have found joy and bonding with my baby, I struggled to connect. Now I wrestle with the fact that he is bonded and closer to my husband. I check joy on a day he doesn’t ask or cry for daddy.
I manage my emotions better now as I have had two years to work on them. I love my son through the tears and I find my own ways of connection. I am not the same person I was three years ago. Motherhood forces you to have a hard look into your life, past wounds exposed. But everyday I am one step towards healing and strength. I fight for the joy but I will forever cherish when he runs into my arms and gives me one off cuddles. I hold those moments close.
As a mom, how do you find balance?
Quantity time isn’t what I can offer these days. But I do make sure that I give quality time. We really try to focus and be present for our son, which means staying away from phones and TV. TV time is only if we watch it as a family. I don’t keep my work calendar on my phone. I send myself emails so that I can prioritize my days versus setting meetings on the fly. I am also pulling Walker out of daycare to be with me more at Crafted. I look forward to teaching him new skills and having him close.
On social media, everything always looks so pretty – let’s be honest – what are some epic messes that you’ve had to clean up?
Well, literally there was that one time when my son ate too much mac and cheese on our Denver date and in the most opportune time…too much. Okay.
With any business venture comes failures that are lessons learned. I attempted a crowdfunding campaign right when we launched COCO three years ago and it was a complete flop. No one knew who we were. I have tried different events that were bombs. I’ve had to clean up relationships that got messy because I lost focus. It’s life and there are many more failures to come.
How can we get involved with Colorado Collective RIGHT NOW?
We are always looking for new contributors both in writing and photography. If you wish to be involved as a contributor then you can email email@example.com. COCO Crafted is also up and running and workshops are live on the website. We are looking for participants and instructors.
I would also like to mention that I make a great cheerleader. So, if you ever need an ear or someone to bounce ideas off of, I am your gal.
Colorado Springs Favorites
Date Night? Casey and I are burning at both ends at the moment so we don’t get much time for ourselves. We definitely try to carve out time during the day for coffee or lunch at least once a week. A date night for us right now is turning off technology and renting a movie.
Entertainment? Axe and the Oak Whiskey House
Relaxation? Relaxation? What is that?
Outdoors? We love to take drives into the mountains. We find hidden gems in antique shops, dining, and hikes off the side of the road. I sure hope this summer we get more time to be outside.