Need a cute show-off-your-Wisconsin-pride hat to wear to the Luke Bryan concert in September?
The newest downtown boutique Carpe Diem has some but they’re going fast. Not only are the baseball caps a great accessory they’re helping a good cause—$2 of each purchase goes to the Sun Prairie Fire Department.
Owner Mindy Wambach has sold out twice and is getting more to keep up with demand.
“The response has been awesome—people have been excited to support the Sun Prairie community and get something they like—so it’s a win-win for everyone,” Wambach said of her most recent inventory coup.
Carpe Diem Boutique opened in May at 243 E. Main St. with a trendy mix of clothing, handbags, jewelry, home decor, and kids items.
Wambach honed her skills with more than 11 years as a merchandiser and buyer for The Wood Factory — a Midwest furniture and home decor chain store that her dad founded.
Delicate airy kimonos and stylish vests hang near a display of handbags—satchels, hobos and crossbody. Jewelry ranging from high-end sterling silver to bohemian baubles provide plenty of eye-candy for shoppers. Wambach wants the boutique’s pieces to be one-of-a-kind with her hand-picking items from a curated group of producers— preferably Wisconsin or US-made.
With prices under $20 for clothing and jewelry and averaging $40 for handbags, Wambach strives to keep shoppers from going over budget with an “Amazon hangover.”
“My big thing is offering trendy items but keeping prices low,” she said. “So if you spend $24 on a kimono and it’s not in next year, it’s not going to break your heart to get rid of it.”
There’s also home decor items-stenciled signs and plaques, sweet whimsical birds, flowers and wreaths—that entice shoppers.
With the help of her 10-year-old daughter Ava, Wambach has brought in an inventory of toys and clothing that bring a spark to the kiddy clientele. The most popular are hooded character towels, made by former craft mall friend Lyn Coates, featuring cartoon personalities, animals, princesses and fairies.
When not minding her shop, Wambach works as a substitute teacher in the Sun Prairie School District—fulfilling another dream to have a job where she can work with kids. Wambach also has two boys—Carter and Casey—who enthusiasm in her mom’s business often leads to groans—“you posted another photo of a purse on Instagram?!”
Wambach started Carpe Diem as a booth in the Four Seasons Craft Mall in Sun Prairie, running it for more than seven years.
Now Wambach, a Sun Prairie resident, is more hands-on with her first standalone business—greeting customers, offering suggestions and getting to know people—both local residents and visitors.
“Meeting and working with customers is the best part so far,” she said. “People who have stopped in have been so kind, wishing me well and telling me how much they appreciate a business like mine downtown.”
Wambach’s Carpe Diem boutique is one of many women and locally owned businesses in downtown Sun Prairie, which she sees as balancing the chain retail development on the city’s westside.
As downtown Sun Prairie takes shape after the July 10 explosion, Wambach wants to see a lively mix of shops, restaurants and bars for “big city appeal with a small-town feel.” She hopes that Carpe Diem will contribute to that vibe.
“That is why I am here,” she added. “I love Sun Prairie and I want to be part of downtown businesses and help out the community.”
Carpe Diem Boutique is located at 243 E. Main St. in downtown Sun Prairie. Find out more on Facebook @carpediemboutiquesp