Karen, aka The Organising Lady, has built her business around her love of organisation. Turns out that one person’s chore is another person’s passion! She has over 25 years of experience as a professional organiser for a business, but then decided to go solo. She is passionate about home styling and creating comfortable, functional spaces. She offers her keen eye to her clients, promising to help them organise and simplify their lives. Sounds amazing, right?
Many people feel overwhelmed when their home is cluttered and their belongings start piling up, so Karen sweeps in and makes the process of purging simple and objective; sometimes we struggle to let go of items, even if they’ve been buried in our closets for years without seeing the light of day! In the end, Karen believes that less stuff feels good.
I recently invited Karen into my flat to help me with a massive wardrobe clear-out (see how that went here). We originally met at the beginning of 2020 at an event and I’ve been hooked on her Instagram account ever since.
Interview With Karen The Organising Lady
NakedPRGirl: Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
The Organising Lady: Born in the UK, a baby on the hip, my parents left England for a new life. We were £10 Poms, I was brought up near Sydney, Australia. We lived on a migrant hostel for four years without running water in our Nissan Huts, no kitchen or bathroom except on a block we had to walk to. It was tough, it taught me to look after things, make do and mend recycling was ingrained in me, we wasted nothing. My parents saved for a deposit on a new house. It was a dream when we moved. We also lived in Tasmania in a town with a population of 25!! It was 60 miles each way to school daily. We moved nine times before returning to England. I’d be given a box each time and told ‘everything needs to fit in that or you can’t keep it’…A clue to my job today perhaps?
Today I live near to Guildford, Surrey and have a 300 year old stone worker’s cottage with my wonderfully supportive husband David, we’ve poured all our love and money into it in the last 20 years – I have no intention of moving ever!
NakedPRGirl: What did you study? What was your first job?
The Organising Lady: I returned to the UK when I was almost 16. I avoided school here for as long as possible and only did one term before leaving. I wanted to earn money so I worked in Topshop for three months and left to join a band. I met a boy, we moved in, I was 17 and three months. I went on to sing professionally for a number of years, working the London pub and clubs. I was a voiceover artist and session singer for the BBC World Service and BBC Children’s TV.
I signed a seven year songwriting publishing deal with Blue Mountain Music (part of Island Records). Concurrently I ran a bakery business with my daughters father, manufacturing and selling to retail and wholesale. By age 26, the business had a six property portfolio including rentals. I walked away from this at the age of 30 because as financially wealthy as I was – I learnt no amount of money can buy you happiness! My daughter runs this business today, which I’m very proud of.
About The Organising Lady Business
NakedPRGirl: Tell me about your business, what is the idea behind it? What is your USP?
The Organising Lady: I set up The Organising Lady after years of working in start-ups and roles for other companies. I’ve always been employed by companies that allowed my natural entrepreneurial streak to thrive. I was fortunate that I was always well thought of and given freedom to develop and grow those businesses – the last of which hit The Times Fastest Growing list. It was exciting, but then it wasn’t – it was time to do something new again.
So the idea was to develop a business that allows me to use ALL my skill base to help others. I am a natural problem solver, I love people and I believe everyone can be confident and happy. It’s my job to figure them out – how they are living how they want to live, how much time and effort they have or are prepared to invest. In practical terms, there isn’t much I can’t help you with.
NakedPRGirl: How did you come up with the business plan? And name? Who did your branding for you?
The Organising Lady: My business plan was to get up and running as fast as I could! Obviously I had a great experience already. I sold everything I could on eBay to support myself for two years, I was determined not to have to get another job (I was ultra focused, and in the top 10% of private sellers of clothes shoes and accessories in the UK) I had a beautiful watch and I sold that also so I didn’t have to borrow any money.
My business name was coined by a client, I decided it was perfect after I heard the words ‘ it’s the organising lady at the door!’. I advertised locally, went to business clubs, hubs and got the word out on social channels. I talked to anyone that would listen! I made it my mission to meet a new person each week and to have several telephone meetings too. I got a website – learnt social media free and paid for which was daunting! I’ve recently rebranded and this is my third logo, I used a local graphic designer who has the patience of a saint, as does my website designer who I’m eternally grateful too. This time I decided to keep it simple and I’m glad I finally listened to my own good advice!
NakedPRGirl: What are your top tips to starting to declutter your wardrobe?
The Organising Lady: Hire a professional. A lot can be achieved in a few hours when you are paying for a service you tend to focus effectively.
I offer virtual organising video calls and this costs less than a home visit and works well for many clients.
Karen’s Organising tips:
- Organise one type of item and one area at a time.
- Make sure you set aside some uninterrupted time.
- Start small, set a timer for 30 minutes and go for it.
- Get items for donation out and gone ASAP.
- Going forward- make good housekeeping rules, like one item in, one or two items out!
NakedPRGirl: And tips on how to keep it organised?
The Organising Lady: Categories are key – the end.
NakedPRGirl: I often think that your wardrobe really links into your personal branding, do you agree?
The Organising Lady: Yes absolutely! Walking into a room and owning it is a mark of someone at ease with themselves.
The Organising Lady on Personal Branding
NakedPRGirl: What’s your personal style? Have you had to look at marketing yourself as a brand?
The Organising Lady: I think I’m glam casual, I usually wear jeans for work, but always wear my makeup, I like to feel groomed.
I love a great coat and a good trainer or boot. I’ve just bought the Donna Ida Sadie jumpsuit which is perfect for me at work. My favourite shop is TKMaxx I’m definitely into style over fashion. My dream is to own a Chanel bag.
NakedPRGirl: What tips could you give people on personal branding?
The Organising Lady: I call it finding your uniform. Once you have it, shopping becomes a pleasure and getting ready times are cut in half. Watch your confidence soar. I would get professional help if you can. It saves you time and money. If that’s not an option, follow some great accounts like Trinny Woodall to help you understand what to buy for your figure shape. Find your celebrity body shape and clone them in your budget.
NakedPRGirl: How do you use social media for your business? What’s your favourite social media channel? Do you have any social media tips?
The Organising Lady: Instagram is my second home. I honed my social business and social media skills here. I have two accounts and I was given advice to just have one.
I sometimes wish I had listened, as two accounts is hard going… I post Stories most days and aim for two grid posts per week. People are finding me now, so I don’t lose heart. Remember Instagram and Facebook are great places to document your skills and to connect with people.
The Organising Lady on the industry
NakedPRGirl: How have you seen your industry changing over the last few years? Where do you see it evolving in the future!
The Organising Lady: Professional organising is becoming more well known, most people know who Marie Kondo is these days. People are used to booking other personal services – I like to call myself a personal trainer for your home! I believe in the next few years hiring people like me to get you back on track will be commonplace.
NakedPRGirl: Who in the industry inspires you?
The Organising Lady: I don’t get a lot of time for TV, but I’ve enjoyed a few Home Edit programmes. Vicky from You need a Vicky is great – she’s practical and straight talking. I like that.
NakedPRGirl: How do you split your time between business and real life?
The Organising Lady: I’m learning still, so most evenings I do a bit of work on my social media. I work eight hours and weekends are for family and working at home. I love walking and try to get out every day for at least one hour.
NakedPRGirl: Do you have a motto or mantra that you live by?
The Organising Lady: Keep walking forward, don’t look back.
NakedPRGirl: Where would you like to be in ten years time?
The Organising Lady: More of the same… Walking on a sunny beach more often would be great!