RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Naptime in the household of Ridgefield native Jennifer Mendizabal is not "me" time for the working mother of three.
It's when she carves out time during the day to create designs for her custom wedding invitation business 24th and Dune.
"I bring my sketchbook everywhere with me," said Mendizabal, who often has to interrupt her work to pick her older kids — ages 7, 5, and 3 — at school or from playdates.
“I work around naps and school. After school I become a taxi service shuttling everyone to activities. But I've become a night owl and at bedtime hang up my mommy hat and put on my designer hat,” she said.
"Sometimes I get in the groove late and get sleepy myself. Then I go to bed."
The Northeastern graduate studied journalism and graphic arts, then worked as a graphic artist after college before starting her family. Though she moved to Pennsylvania years ago, most of 24th and Dune customers, all through word-of-mouth advertising, are from Ridgefield and the surrounding areas, she said.
“It’s where most of my contacts are and the majority of my work.”
Her one-of-a-kind invitations are often inspired by the beach and "pops of color," each imbued with a "really unique feeling for whomever it is designed for," said Mendizabal.
"My aesthetic is very clean, more on the simple side and type-driven. I like experimenting with the fonts. I’m starting to broaden out and include more illustrations.”
In addition to designing and selling the invitation through the website, she competes for prizes in competitions with other graphic designers in the field. Mendizabal's designs have been winners.
"It's great because you are judged by your peers and they challenge you creatively."
Working her business around the kids’ schedule is a constant juggling act, but she's not complaining.
"When ideas start flowing then someone wakes up or you have to go pick someone up it could be challenging. But it’s rewarding that I can be home with my kids and stay in the workforce."
The best part, she added, is being able to make some income and "still be a mom."
"You’re modeling them and shaping them. It’s the most important job right now.”
Click here for more information about 24thanddune.com .