2016 was a huge year for Kuzak’s Closet! I was able to grow the business by 82% financially which meant a lot more organizing and project management for my entire team. So much of what we did this year was confidential so it’s a bummer that we couldn’t share with all of you but our ability to be discrete and work under the cover of darkness is why so many of our clients appreciate our services.
Running a business is the most challenging thing I have ever done and just when I think I’ve got everything figured out new obstacles are presented. The pros of 2016 were having a loyal staff which meant we didn’t hire or have to train new employees. Mixing a loyal and well trained team with our huge base of wonderful regular clients made for a very smooth year. The organizing business is based on referrals of happy clients so the sales process is seamless. Additional pros were the expansion of our estate liquidation business and private liquidation services. Our following for estate sales has grown so large that I resolved to be picky about which projects we open up for shoppers based on location, danger/risk, and value of items. By slimming down estate sales and expanding our other estate services the business became so much more manageable and I was able to have a bit more work/life balance. Not a ton, but a bit more.
The cons of 2016 were the demands on my time BUT for all great reasons. I had a client who wanted our services on retainer for 25-40 hours a week which might seem crazy but we managed to handle it as a team. I did more estate consultations than I did in 2014 and 2015 combined which meant lots of miles on the road. Meeting with families and seeing inside estates is always a treat but having tough conversations about value and expectations can be difficult. The costs related to running a growing business increased but I was able to stay on top of everything, good thing I’m organized! I’ve worked with some wonderful professionals to help me navigate the world of workers compensation, liability insurance, payroll, and taxes. I’ve had all of those things in place for many years but our exposure this year was extreme so things needed to be tightened up. Tari Vickery laid the fountain for this year and without her help I would’ve been pulling my hair out! The last con was loosing Kate, a professional organizer on my staff that had an opportunity to move back to Maui. She was amazing and helped balance the workload for Taylor and Tammy and I so we will definitely notice that when it comes to scheduling in 2017.
This year I was able to balance running a business with working at my business, a divide that I realized will always exist. I delegated more of the project management of organizing sessions and liquidations to my staff which freed up time to manage the new client intakes and the back end of the business. My goal for 2017 is to continue to build on the success of 2016. We have a huge client meeting in January that could lead to another client wanting us on retainer for project management which would be huge but that will mean that I need to focus on hiring another professional organizer to help with the work load and possibility a personal assistant to help with all of the details that consume my days. It’s going to be a busy year and I’m grateful for that but before I look ahead, I’m going to reflect on my top 6 types organizing projects from 2016.
I was reminded this year that I am really good at organizing closets. I love it and I love working with clients to thin out their wardrobes and have those “ah-ha” moments. With the growth of Kuzak’s Closet in 2014 and 2015 I felt the pressure to answer the phone and get back to emails while I was working with a client at a session. In 2016 I left my phone in the car and could do that knowing my team was handling their own projects and that business demands could wait until the end of the day. My staff remained the same this year so it was also fun to work along side Taylor, Tammy, and Kate at most organizing sessions and transform spaces together. This white walk-in master closet was a treat to organize. Our client let us have full control while she was at work so finding out she came home and did a happy dance in her closet was a thrill.
I also have to add this luxury walk-in closet to my favorites list. Our client was a hoot during our session and really let go of what she “might wear” so we could create a closet of outfits she would wear. Her confidence grew as the session went on and she was thrilled with the results. This was our first session of a full home reorganization plan that we tackled throughout the summer.
We organize more spaces for children than anything else and I love it! I remember the feeling I had as a kid when my room or playroom was in perfect order and my goal is to give children the same happy feeling. I know I was an odd kid but I imagine that the children we work with will have a lasting impression of our work together as they get older. Our client had all of the components to this darling playroom with a reading teepee and animal wall planned but we were able to help her put it all together during our session. With four children in her home, the addition of this functional play space was a value add.
This pretty in pink playroom was the result of a major purging session and another favorite on my list. Our client’s daughter had spread out into several zones in their home and we helped reel her in. We didn’t have to buy any products for this space which is common for most playrooms. We moved furniture from one room to another and repurposed bins to achieve a functional and pretty space that her daughter could enjoy and maintain. This project was with a client I’ve worked with for several years so it was a joy to transition the room for her daughter that I know so well.
August is was jammed with children’s bedroom and closet sessions. With the seasons about to change and school starting our clients were smart to hire us to help them get things under control. This precious bedroom belongs to twin 3 year-old girls who had us squealing with delight. Their mama is a super shopper with great taste but our session helped her curb the clutter and get the room back in shape. The biggest change which was the simplest change, removing a huge area rug that made it difficult to open the closets making maintenance and organization tricky.
This closet is a fast forward version of the previous. I had the pleasure of working with this cute tween and we powered through her bedroom and closet in record time. I told her she should go to sessions with me to coach my adult clients on the art of letting go! There is a section for everything from lacrosse gear to school uniforms, love it! It’s all about visuals at this age so I folded everything in a tri-fold so she could see logos and prints on all of her clothing.
Garages are also a very popular service at Kuzak’s Closet. I remember when I first started my business I had to work with clients 4-5 times in their garage to get the same result that we can get now in just one day. This year our clients didn’t just want their garage organized, they wanted them to be beautiful. Our partner Valet Custom Cabinets helped us with several beautiful projects but this one has to be my favorite. We maximized vertical storage with slat walls, omni tracks, and custom cabinets, bravo!
Relocations are one of my favorite types of projects because we have the chance to unpack and organize an entire home in just a few days. We helped dozens of clients move this year but our Mill Valley project had to be my favorite. We typically don’t go that far but it was referred by a client we worked with several years ago and I couldn’t say no. We worked for 3 days over Thanksgiving and the results of our work were so functional and beautiful. Our clients said “your service is like magic”, what a compliment!
Having the opportunity to take the stress away from a family during a difficult transition with a parent or family member is such a gift. Our Emerald Hills project had to be my favorite just because of the family dynamic, the over-the-top decor, and the opportunity to spend 3 days working as a team. We are often spread throughout 3-4 projects per day so quality time together is enjoyed by everyone. Not all of our clients want to have an estate sale and with this service we manage everything from shipping furniture, selling items, shredding items, disposing of items, and organizing items that are to be kept or moved. Our client went back to Boston and never had to come back after hiring us. When we were done the keys were given to the agent, the house sold in a week, and 10 days later the new owners moved in. Love it!
Well that was quite the recap of the year. I’m so proud of what I’ve created at Kuzak’s Closet and I can’t wait to see what happens next year! Happy New Year, Cheers to Organization, Health, and Laughter!