It's hard to say where to begin but it's been almost a year now since Keep Calm and Tidy On was created. I needed a name for my business that I was starting as I began my journey to become one of a handful of KonMari Certified Consultants in Canada. At the time my life was anything but calm but at least it was tidy. Scrolling through social media I landed on a post that had the Windsor Crown with the Keep Calm and Carry On slogan changed to Keep Calm and Tidy On and it clicked with all that I was going through at the time; My dad's had recently passed away, I was looking to take charge of my career and embark on an entrepreneurial path, I had been spending hours everyday in my dad's hospital room in a city an hour away for weeks, but thankfully when I came home I didn't feel the stress of a home that was definitely being neglected. I came home to a space that had recently been completed using the KonMari technique and it gave me the greatest sense of calm and helped me reset for the few hours I was there and then leave again to be with my dad. So it worked for my mindset at the time and I ran with it.
Fast forward through to the completion of my KonMari training. I had worked with several clients, but most of them I knew either through someone or friends from social media. I now needed to take my business and market it and myself to the outside world. In the meantime I had started a side project on Instagram called Merchandised Maison. As I had completed my on KonMari journey in my space I had the time and clarity to execute long planned and procrastinated projects. Things like taking my spice drawer to the next level, restyling my bookcases, finally painting that piece of furniture. My business mentor Andrea (@savouryandstyle), loved the name, concept and branding potential of Merchandised Maison right from the day one, but I was so invested in Keep Calm and just becoming certified in The KonMari Method that I wasn't open to rebranding at the time.
But as I started to look at ways to market myself and my business to the rest of the world my past experience and skills kept coming up. I was in Fashion Retail for decades. As a teenager all my babysitting money was spent on Fashion magazines. As a student in high school and university I always had a Vogue magazine tucked between my textbooks. I fell into Visual Presentation after managing for some of Canada's iconic retailers and loved it. I was always a highly organized and orderly person, so to apply these skills along with my management experience just clicked. I grew my experience in merchandising and literally merchandised my way around the world.
Merchandising is just a part of me, and I knew even as I was sitting in New York City at the KonMari Training Seminar that these skills I had would translate completely to my new path in so many ways. Everyone's home is unique just in the way every retail store of a chain is slightly different in its size or layout. Every Store Manager has a different skill set and motivation, requiring different levels of training or support. A Buyer curates a collection and it's up to the Merchandising Team to make the collection layout effectively in real life. I coached Managers on the best practices for organizing Stock Rooms since a disaster of a Stock Room will inevitably lead to chaotic store front and poor customer experience. A new Store Opening was so similar to the approach I would take to help a client unpack and move into their new space. The parallels are so many and were so clear to me.
Every customer that walks into a store gets an immediate feeling on the space based on the energy created by the merchandising, just like your home speaks to you as you enter. Everything in a store needs a home, a home that it can be returned to easily and logically. It just translated so easily for me and I felt that same joy in transforming someone's space as I did in transforming a retail environment, but more importantly empowering and giving real skills to people that would change their surroundings.
On my increasingly frustrated search for ways to market myself I had my monthly mentoring meeting with Andrea to work out the details. I told her about my recent call with a highly regarded KonMari Consultant in Chicago, Kristyn Ivey, from For the Love of Tidy (@fortheloveoftidy). Kristyn said what I have read and heard from so many knowledgeable influencers out there; "be you" do "what makes you different from the rest." Well I knew what that was, it was merchandising and it was something I had already created Merchandised Maison. Andrea didn't say "I told you so", even though she could have since she knew it was right from the very beginning.
So there you have it. From a chaotic time I created calmness and started a journey that has brought me to bring to peoples homes an experience like none other. A bespoke, curated space that is created from a place of joy. One that can only be completed so throughly and without rebound by the magic of The KonMari Method.
So now I present you, my personal brand, my passion, Merchandised Maison.