By now you know I am obsessed with maintaining an organized wardrobe and sharing my know-how and resources, so others can have one too. This time, I have invited Kim Clark, founder and owner of Vanchic, LLC, a local image, styling, and closet organization consulting company, to share some some of her styling and organizing tips, as well as offer some insight on what it’s like to own her own consulting business.
How long has Vanchic been in operation?
Vanchic officially begun 2012, but I have been successfully organizing homes and closets as a side job for many years.
What led you to begin the business? I read on your site that you have a degree in theater, but what made you take the leap and go into business for yourself, rather than work for someone else?
I grew up living and breathing performing arts. People don’t give actors, singers and dancers enough credit. The amount of cut throat training and the bravery that performing required molded me into a well-rounded person!
…I’m from a family of entrepreneurs; my family inspires me to reach for the stars (or chandeliers as we say in the Vanchic world!)…
NYC and LA have massive fashion styling, image consulting and organization demand. The DMV area has been slower to catch on to the organization trend, which is why I wanted to start Vanchic in this prime, tri-state location.
People need help more than ever before. Stress levels of Americans are at record highs. Vanchic is a luxury service, but it’s the necessary solution to gaining an effective and stylish household. De-cluttering and re-organizing a space de-stresses clients because they will have an easier system that fits their specific lifestyles and habits.
Starting Vanchic has been rewarding, because I’m in the business of making people feel good. I go into my clients’ space and give them hope. I optimize what they already have and teach them tips on how to maintain a polished space. I truly turned my hobby into a business; I had the desire and knowledge for organizing closets and maximizing people’s homes, so this is quite fun for me!
What do you find the most challenging and rewarding parts of being an entrepreneur?
I love working for myself because I can set my own pace. Working for a company in a corporate setting can be limiting. The rewarding part of being an entrepreneur is the ability to be creative, constantly designing and thinking big.
What do you think the most important skills are for running a successful independent business?
Time management, attention to detail, having a specific rhyme & reason for every move, networking, organization, marketing/social media (understanding the importance of branding), consistency, especially with communication, discipline, and patience.
What’s the furthest you’ve traveled to fix up a space/consult?
My staff and I travel far and wide based on the clients’ needs. I travel to many summer vacation-home destinations, for my clients with multiple homes (like Cape Cod, Nantucket, Boca Raton, Hamptons etc…)
I’ve worked with clients that have thousands of shoes and multiples closets. I’ve also worked with clients that have tiny, studio apartments and limited space. When I edit and stage someone’s home or closet I custom design it to his/her needs. If my client has multiple homes, in multiple locations, with multiple closets, then typically I design by season. Yet, most clients fall under the ‘categorize & color coordination’ approach.
What is your organization method?
When I organize a room, I like to make a specific focal point or theme. I love telling a story with closets and rooms. I absolutely despise most organizers’ tips and methods because, who the heck wants a bunch of plastic storage bins with labels all over? That is not chic, beautiful or technically considered actual décor. It’s sterile and cheap. I de-clutter with a fashion forward mindset. I need my clients to feel like a weight was lifted off their shoulders. I re-organize their space and make it feel like home again. My goal is to reveal a client’s fashion identity and get them excited about their space. Coming home from work/life to a beautiful family should be the best part of the day. Why not make the space you live in refined and beautiful?
#1 closet organization tip (or, top 5)?
1. Everything must have it’s own place. If the hairspray sits on the middle shelf of your bathroom cabinet then, put it back in that same place every time you’re done using it.
2. If you buy two new magazines, throw two of your old magazines away. If you buy two new pairs of boxers, throw away two old pairs that have those dreaded holes/broken elastic.
3. Keep your high-traffic areas (the heart of your home), the neatest.
4. Tackle the big to-do’s first, get the grind work out of the way because it will inspire you to organize the rest of your home and get projects done quicker.
5. Have matching hangers!! Point blank, end of story. It makes your closet linear & unified.
How do you help clients become neater and stay organized forever?
We set up their organization so it fits in with their schedule and preference. I influence clients to be proud of their space and belongings. People need to train themselves to stop thinking organizing, de-cluttering and cleaning is a “chore”. We should be proud to organize our things; we spend thousands of dollars on wardrobe, furniture, décor, food and materials…why not treat them with respect.
The comment I hear over and over is, “Oh, no. I can’t believe I bought all these things, I could have a bigger savings account right now or I could have spent that money on other things I actually needed!” It’s a shock when people get a reality check of how much money is wasted on unnecessary things that don’t get used. Clients often tell me they save more money after I visit because I made them aware of their spending habits!
Maintenance is key! Promise yourself an easy, monthly, mini-maintenance schedule so you never even have to do a large, daunting spring-cleaning.