In this warm, light-hearted, inspiring interview, I’m joined by Michael and Charlotte Fritzius, the dynamic duo and co-founders of Exactly Zero, a clean-living company based in Saint Louis. We talk about how a cancer diagnosis for Michael became the spark behind creating clean products for their family – and how their personal mission morphed into a company that gives back by sharing those products with the world. In addition to their remarkable journey, we talk about the special role of family in their life and business, and their success secrets for navigating a partnership as a married couple. You’re going to love Charlotte’s passion for their work and Michael’s comparison of running a business to “running with scissors.”
Simply click on the play button to join us for this refreshing interview. Go on – you know you want to! You’re only a click away.
I first met Michael Fritzius through a friend in Saint Louis who knew that Michael and I shared a mutual interest in podcasting. (In addition to serving as co-founder of Exactly Zero — which I didn’t know at the time, Michael works with coaches to create their own podcasts through his company called Podcastify.me) Yes, dear readers, he’s THAT guy: an entrepreneur who can successfully juggle multiple companies at once. Mind boggling.
During an especially helpful podcasting consultation with Michael one day, I learned about his and Charlotte’s work building a company called Exactly Zero. Now, I was doubly intrigued. As a team, Michael and Charlotte were using a cancer diagnosis as a springboard to get amazingly smart about creating clean-living products (deodorants, lip balms, soaps, antibiotic ointments, and more) and selling them through farmer’s markets, subscriptions, creative partnerships, and online. Immediately, I knew they would be perfect guests for Tiny Sparks, Big Flames. No risk, no reward – I asked, they accepted. To this day, I’m over the moon. They said, “Yes!”
Amazing how much ground you can cover in less than 30 minutes, and we pack this interview jam full. In addition to their creation story, you’ll learn about the process Charlotte uses to reverse engineer the products they make, from the extensive research she does to the number of iterations she completes to get each product just right. You’ll also hear about the personal and professional strengths she and Michael bring to the business, what inspires and motivates them, and what it means to follow their purpose. Additionally, you’ll enjoy hearing what they do for fun and play as a couple and family.
My favorite parts of the interview center around their quick, witty repartee and the gentle, easy vibe of this special couple. You can tell they love and respect one another deeply, prioritize family over work unequivocally, and are committed to doing good in the world. You’ll love their responses to what they would like to accomplish in the next five years – and what’s next for Exactly Zero.
- Parents to four girls
- Set up by a couple of good friends and got married 5 months and 2 days after meeting
- “Neither of us has an MBA, but we’re business owners. How in the world did that happen??”
- They’re a home-school family and enjoy gardening. Their goal is a self-sufficient homestead.
Quotes by Michael + Charlotte Fritzius
“What we put in and on our bodies is important. Cancer does happen regardless of how careful you are but making your body an unwelcome host for cancer can be helpful.” – Charlotte
“Knowing that we have a hand in impacting thousands if not millions of lives over time is … like ‘boom’ — it’s a big thing. We didn’t plan on that originally, but now that we’re doing it, it’s like oh my goodness.” – Michael
“Sometimes I feel like we’re running with scissors. You know that feeling? It’s not like you’re going to slip and fall and hurt yourself. But it’s like oh my goodness – sounds like we need to make some merch – put some merch in our shop: “Runs with scissors.” – Michael
“We started very small obviously, but we were always very careful with our prices. And we’ve been told many times by customers: “I would pay a whole lot more for this.” But there are so many people who can’t pay more, so they’re buying products that could do harm [to their bodies]. Our goal is to make these products at an affordable price so that the general public can afford to live healthy.” – Charlotte