Interview with Professional Closet Designer Tracey Shadley
This week I am pleased to feature Tracey Shadley of Organize A-Z. A member of NAPO, Tracey designs closets, garages, offices, pantries, laundry rooms, and many other types of organizing storage. She also sponsored the Space Planning and Closet Organizing editions of the Professional Organizers Blog Carnival!
How did your training and experience prepare you to become an organizer?
I worked for California Closets in Montreal for nearly 20 years. All of my training and experience comes from them.
How did you come up with your business name?
When I was moving from Montreal to Arizona, I had to create a business to get a Visa. Originally my company was a full-service organizing company, so I liked the play on A to Z with the AZ for Arizona.
How has your business changed since you first started out?
When I started 7 years ago, I was doing anything and everything related to organizing. As I became more well known in my town, I started to concentrate solely on Closets and Space. I’m busy enough with that to make me happy!
What would you do differently if you were starting your business today?
If I knew I was going to end up doing exclusively what I’m doing I would have chosen another name…one that had CLOSETS in it! LOL
How do you approach a new organizing project?
I offer a free in-home consultation where I measure the space, take a look at the wardrobe and needs and give the client an estimate. If they want to move forward to planning, I charge a design fee and deliver the plans with a quote. If the client chooses to move forward with me, the design fee is applied to the price of the closet. If not, the plans are theirs to do with as they like.
What other services or products do you offer?
I have an offering called “Virtual Closet Design”. The way it works is that you’re sent some forms to fill out (measurements and needs analysis), I will create the plans for you, and then you can build them yourself or have them built.
I’ve also recently written a book about Closet Organizing and Design.
Do you offer any products or services for other organizers?
I have an online course to teach people how to design closets which I created with Professional Organizers, Kitchen & Bath and Interior Designers in mind. It is fun and simple and could benefit the lay person as well.
Organizers can even take advantage of Virtual Closet Design for their clients – if they don’t want to do it themselves.
At what moment did you consider yourself successful?
I think I felt successful when I got my first word-of-mouth referral. It’s so nice to know that people are spreading great things about you and what you do!Word-of-mouth referrals show that people are spreading great things about you and what you do!Click To Tweet
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve discovered about running an organizing business?
It’s HARD. People know the value of what we do but don’t want to pay for it.
It’s not the same with closets. I think a tangible product is easier to sell than a service.
What is the biggest challenge you currently face in your business?
Awareness. I am a small business, so I have a limited advertising budget. I can’t compete with the big franchises that can keep paying to stay first on Google. I depend a lot on referrals. The good thing about referrals is that they are usually great leads!
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I’m always working in one way or another. My mind is always coming up with new ideas. When I can get it to stop, I’m usually doing yoga, binge-watching a show or hanging with my friends.
What else should we know about you?
I love what I do!
Thanks for sharing, Tracey!
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