Frazee values, faith and a pickle container pivot life plans
By Lori Fischer Thorp
Katie Dretsch Williams is leading a life of following her faith, and her dreams.
Initially, those dreams including teaching. She credits God, as well as a Tupperware pickle container, with reframing that a bit.
“I’m very goal-oriented,” said the Frazee High School three-sport athlete and 2004 grad. Her parents Jack and Kathy Dretsch of Frazee supported that work ethic, as did the people of her hometown.
She became Miss Frazee in 2007, graduated in 2008 from the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D., did one year of missionary work, and then taught in Minneapolis-St. Paul for two years.
It was during her missionary time when she met Tallahassee, Flor. native Michael Williams, who was also a part of Net Ministry.
“He moved to Minnesota to date me,” Williams said. “He would ride the tram to work, and he hated when his nostrils froze.”
The turning point, she said, “was the year the (Metro)Dome collapsed with all the snow,” in 2010. “He convinced me to come to Florida to look at job opportunities and see how it would work. I put it in God’s hands. I asked to be offered a job in the middle of an interview,” she said.
The Florida job offer was extended, the couple became engaged and were married, and they’ve called the southern state “home” for 13 years.
“I never thought I would be a Floridian,” Williams said. “I thought I would be a Minnesotan for life.”
The family comes to Minnesota for periods in the summer and winter, said Williams, who has become a mom of three. To maintain their connectedness, each child has godparents in Minnesota as well as Florida.
While the journey from Minnesota to Florida life was a major transition, motherhood has led to other large steps.
“I taught here in Tallahassee for three years,” she said. Then, while her mom was there awaiting the birth of the Williams’ oldest child, “We were visiting daycares,” and Williams found herself struggling with the thought of returning to classroom teaching. Again, “We put it in God’s hands.”
“The day our daughter was born, my husband got a promotion and a raise, and it covered my salary change,” she said.
“I always wanted to be a teacher and always loved to teach kids…I never thought I would be a stay-at-home mom, but as a mom I’m still teaching my own children every single day,” said Williams.
The couple’s two older daughters attend a private school, and their son will soon turn 3.
Williams’ love of children’s books led to her introduction to direct sales. ”I was a book consultant for almost four years. I had success with them,” she said, “but not like I have with Tupperware.”
During that time, Williams said that with the arrival of the couple’s second child, she “suffered post-partum (depression.) I was really struggling with my identity.”
When a friend who was also doing book sales switched to Tupperware, Williams realized her identity was in front of her.
“I watched her success for a year. She had two free cars, free trips, and then Michael jokingly said, ‘I think you’re working for the wrong company,’” she said.
“All of our choices influence the next choices,” Williams said. “We can think we have it all worked out in our brain, and then God steps in.”
The final piece that influenced Williams’ career choice was a simple Tupperware pickle container.
“My mom bought my brother a Pic-a-deli container, but she bought me a silicone cookie sheet,” Williams said. “I was so frustrated with my mom’s choice that I decided to host a (Tupperware) party to get the pickle container, and 13 weeks later, I was a director.”
“In direct sales, there are uplines,” Williams said. Her “upline” Business Leader lives in Washington state, and the two have never met—yet. “Her personality is so ‘Frazee,’” Williams said.
There’s a strong reason for that, she said.
“Her grandfather was the Lutheran minister in Frazee, and her dad grew up right down the street from my dad,” said Williams.
He moved out of the area and passed away before he could revisit his hometown with his daughter. Williams hopes to connect in person with her at a future Frazee All-School Reunion.
Currently, Williams said, “We’re the number one ‘org’ in all of the US and Canada. That’s no small feat, she has taught us about connectedness, and that every person matters. I’m so grateful I ended up on her team.”
“I don’t believe in coincidences,” Williams said. “God has been so good to us.”
Her personal drive, which comes from her upbringing, has also served her success.
“Michael and I talk a lot about that. My work ethic comes from who my parents are, and where I grew up. My mom tells me, ‘I wish you wouldn’t work so hard,’ and I ask her, ‘Where do you think I learned that? You always worked just as hard,’” she said.
Williams leads 432 people at different sales volume levels.
“Some are discount shoppers,” she said, where they’re primarily interested in selling Tupperware to get discounts on the items they want to buy, “but then I do have people just like me who are wanting to earn a free car or replace an income.”
For some, she said, the income is vital to their families, “They need it to keep their lights on.” Others see Williams’ successes, which range from earning six trips in 2022 to a car (insurance and registration included, the earner pays only maintenance) and strive to meet it for themselves. “This isn’t just going to happen,” she tells them, “but I can teach you the skills to make it happen.”
“Social media is how I’ve grown my business,” she said. “It’s 90 percent of my business, but I love the in-person, too. I go to the park, people see my Tupperware car, and they become interested.”
She loves the connectedness.
“I have all of these amazing friends I’d never have, or I’d never have reconnected with. We can relate to each other because we’re all living the same life,” said Williams.
“If someone is at the top, they get paid more because they work more. The people below me control their income,” she said.
Her role of helping people reach their goals often leads to the last day of a month being “insane. We usually hire a sitter,” she said. “It’s been a fine balance of Michael and I finding what works, and our kids get to see that work ethic pay off.”
Williams’ boundaries include letting her team know, “If you need me, these are my work hours…if you have an emergency—and there are no emergencies in Tupperware—call or text me.” She said that most days when her husband arrives home from work, phones are put to the side and they concentrate on family.
“We know how to work hard, and also to play hard. Michael does laundry and dishes,” among many other household chores, just as the example Williams’ dad Jack Dretsch set. “Our children know Mom’s work matters, too.”
She said both sets of the couples’ parents (his live just minutes away from them) have been extremely supportive, including helping with childcare when she or both of them have had travel opportunities.
Highlights for the family this past year include getting to say, “Yes,” to their daughter’s birthday requests, “because Mommy had put in those extra hours. We explain, ‘Mommy has to work tonight, you’re going to hang with Daddy, and that helps us get to come home to Frazee more often,’” she said.
“Tupperware has really provided an opportunity for us to make more memories with people even though they’re far away, and make new memories with new people. Tupperware is the best in my opinion, they’ve just given us so many opportunities. They’ve been around for 76 years and they know how to keep people motivated,” she said.
Williams finds enjoyment in the long-term quality and popularity of the product.
“I would bet you money that someone in Frazee has a piece of Tupperware that’s 76 years old,” she said.
“I would guarantee you there’s a lot of people who have this (pickle container) in Frazee in their fridge,” and with product changes over the years, it might be purple or green. Whatever color or item, she said, “It’s fun. It’s just been a huge blessing,” and the work has supported her ultimate goals of family time and connectedness.
“I’m so fortunate to be able to stay so connected with my parents, and with Frazee as a whole,” Williams said. “I come home and it’s not like I’ve even been gone.”