The State of Sam: v. February 2018

Feb 1

Where to begin?

Oh boy…

Have I missed this blog and all of you! Hard to believe today marks February 1 and the entire month of January’s now just a memory. Yet, looking back at my planner / schedule – I can see exactly why the month appeared to fly. Your girl was swamped. There is much to update and it’s somewhat here. I couldn’t re-appear and completely unload. Let’s say, this is the first installment… from the amazing to the not so great. So sit back and be prepared for a Sam download. Yep, you’re in for a real treat.

And we are kicking it off on a HUGE note – I’m finally sharing my brand new business name and logo with you!

NEW BUSINESS NAME & LOGO

Yea…hello – this topic could be a blog post all its own. Truly, a series of posts. Can’t begin to describe the ups and downs I have been through in the last 18 months. I’m ecstatic to be standing on the other side of this wild and emotional adventure. One I am still paying for – but worth every single penny! Won’t bore you with the entire 18 month situation, but will share the abbreviated version. Maybe one day when there is more time I’ll write something a bit more in depth or share it in a video.

Back in 2010 when I was getting this dream started and conceptualizing a blog name, the name Simply Organized came to me. That name hit every target outlined on the dream list for the blog and eventual business. What I did not know at the time was that SO was taken. No, I don’t mean by other professional organizers – because it is possible to run a business as a DBA … and trust me, I’ve discovered there are a lot of businesses called SO. I’m talking bigger. I’m talking trademarked. The blog chugged along and grew.

By the way, it’s totally fine that the blog is named and will remain named Simply Organized, because it’s a blog – not a service offering business.

Fast forward to 2013 when I ran a fictitious business name in my county, it came back clear, and had the go ahead to run my business under an LLC with SO as a DBA. I had all my ducks in a row until…

I began working with my attorney on client contracts and other business topics. We started a conversation about trademarking the name for future business ideas. Low and behold, someone had the trademark. Not only that, but they live about 20 minutes from me (what are the chances??!!). And they do in fact offer the exact services I do. Even though it appears those services are being offered out of state, I was running in a very high risk area.

(Honestly, if any of my organizer friends are reading this and your business name is SO…YOU are at high risk too. The name is trademarked. The US Trademark Office. That means nationally and you are infringing. Just a side note / heads-up. You’re welcome.)

After crying for a week (or 5), I finally took the advice of my attorney and contacted an amazing brand strategist. My attorney referred me to her along with several others. After looking into each, I settled with her because she is a rock star. I won’t mention her name yet because at the time she was freelancing while working for another company. When she’s ready, I’m putting her on blast! So don’t worry – you will eventually know who she is.

Anyway, last year from July through December is a complete blur because not only was I working for clients, but also working intensely with the brand strategist and my attorney, while also preparing for the keynote speech in November. I can’t emphasize the stress and pressure during that time.

After months of digging deep (real deep) and working together, my brand strategist presented 6 potential business names. And her first suggestion hit my heart deeply…meet the new name…

Really excited to finally announce this!

SO Home.

Why do I love it so much? Obviously, the acronym “SO” is a tie back to the roots of where the business started. While I couldn’t keep the name, and I fully came to terms with that, this gives me the opportunity to keep something small from all the work I invested in building that brand. SO Home also has a deeper meaning – I want everyone I work for to feel as if their home is their comfortable, organized space. I love when they feel “so at home” after I’ve been there working to help them get organized or design a beautiful custom space / closet. It’s about them. Them feeling so at home.

This name also gives a seamless connection to The Simply Organized Blog. I’m in the process of setting up the new SO Home website, which will be a place for potential clients to poke around and contact me. The blog will remain where it’s at and client spaces will be shared on the blog from time to time. But if someone wants to hire me or see a more in-depth portfolio, they can find it all on the SO Home site.

The name is currently waiting approval in the US TM office – really really excited to get that paperwork in the mail informing me this baby is all mine. My attorney has been everything during this process. I’ve mentioned her before but it’s worth sharing again – Autumn Witt Boyd. Her site can be found here.

When we finalized the name, I went back to the sweetheart who designed my original logo, Kristy Robb. You can find her website here. She’s incredible to work with! I told her I was looking for minimal changes to the original logo or a play off what we started with. Within a few days I had several options to choose from. Here’s the final catalog of logos…but my personal favorite that I feel reflects the clean aesthetic of SO Home is #5…

Again, there’s a lot of details left out of this fun little escapade, but this gives you a glimpse in as to why the blog was quiet for periods of time last year. There’s more work to be done – small and big. Things like changing my business accounts to the new name, printing new business materials, getting new work shirts (coming soon – am working on it now) and it’s a big deal to get the copy on the new site down to a t and super tight. I’ll likely work again with my brand strategist to help make that happen and take some of the pressure off my back.

So there’s that! Would love love to hear your feedback!

BUSINESS HAPPENINGS

Speaking of this quiet blog landscape…this is due to an influx of new clients, projects and opportunities. I’m either running to new client consultations, designing various spaces or digging in / getting the work done…

My phone is backlogged with before and after projects to share. I’m slowly getting everything uploaded and look forward to many future posts with beautifully organized spaces to inspire you.

Here’s a couple to get you going…

ORGANIZED OFFICE CLOSET

( small clear drawers | medium clear drawers | large clear drawers | baskets | bins )

NEW GARAGE SHELVING

( elfa garage inspiration | utility board )

I’ve been grateful to have made new connections and partnerships over the last few months, like something amazing in the works with Better Homes & Gardens – but my new special best work bud is an interior designer who will seriously blow your mind. She’s blown mine and we became fast friends since we’re of a similar mindset / aesthetic. Her work is stunning and exceptional and it’s a dream to connect with her. We met while working in a home that she designed and decorated. Our businesses are a perfect complimentary match and we’ve been working together quite a bit. Also going out for girls nights quite a bit too. I’ve done everything from budget-friendly Elfa to super high-end custom closets in a 25k square foot home. Here’s a few closets to get you fired up…

NEW CLOSET

NEW CUSTOM CLOSETS

I’ve been literal heads-down the entire month of January either working with clients, designing spaces or making sure installations are going as planned. A lot of time has been spent in my office, but sadly not a whole lot of time for the blog.

Today I carved out time in my planner to sit down and write this for you. You guys know writing and sharing in here is my heart – it’s a passion and I’m not letting my busy schedule get in the way. I just need to plan the time, like today. Being here fulfills and re-energizes me. I need to make that a priority.

CONTAINED HOME

A new development in the Fall was joining the Contained Home program with The Container Store. It’s a dream come true for any professional organizer to be on board with a company we frequent so often. And there are many benefits as an independent contractor. I love my local store and all of their employees. There’s been a huge learning curve as with anything new or when you’re working with a big company and their processes. I’ve enjoyed some of the projects, but have to admit – the jury is still out as to whether or not I can continue being an independent contractor. There’s a lot of my time that isn’t paid for, which is sad because my goal is always to spend loads of time making sure the space someone is purchasing is exactly what they dreamed of. I’m not down for the count, but am hoping to work with someone at the company to not only make it better for me – but for all of their independent organizers. TCS is a great company and love their values / mission. This partnership is a great fit and one I hope I can continue to be involved in.

Last week I visited my first completed TCS Closet design. These closets are truly stunning!

So bottom line, this partnership has been keeping me fairly busy as well!

2018 YES & NO’S

When I’m busy / feeling overwhelmed / stressed / overworked / under appreciated (yes, there has been a lot of that), I take a moment to get centered and sort out exactly what it is I do…and don’t do.

As with every year in business, last year presented countless lessons. For example, I ignored red flags with a few clients and took them on when I probably shouldn’t have. Maybe definitely shouldn’t have. I saw the projects through to the end, but it was painful and drained me of a lot of energy. This year I am not doing that. Instead I’m listening to that strong gut of mine and offering referrals to other organizers when necessary.

One of my positive attributes is that I am a doer and go-getter…and if you plan on hiring me, plan on getting it done. There is no messing around. The downside to this quality is that I sometimes take on work / projects that are beyond my scope. I took on a few projects that could have been passed on to my handyman or another company. Could I do them myself? Absolutely. But it just added more to my plate that could otherwise have been passed along to someone else. This year I am definitely fine-tuning the scope and making service offerings very tight. I also continue to work through my pricing structure.

Another example was the amount of speaking and interviews I did. It was humbling to be asked, but did sorta throw me. My goal is always to create amazing work and focus on work with clients. I’m not a public speaker. Not trained in performance. I am not feeling the interview / speaking circuit right now…so I’m not doing it this year. Or I should say am doing it with minimal exceptions. I have 2 short interviews scheduled in the next few months – those were secured last year and both benefit my NAPO community. So I’ll follow through with those obligations. Otherwise, this girl is highly focused on doing great work, making huge impacts for families, building the portfolio, and doing more handiwork / installing myself. The speaking and interviews can come later in my career. Right now, I’m doing the work.

I ordered a new goal planner for 2018 and all of my yes’s and no’s are listed in the very front section of the book – ha! If ever in doubt, I refer to it and am immediately back on course.

2018 GOALS

On the topic of goals, I have many. I’m sure you’re all shocked to know this. Some small and some large. But one of the biggies is getting this business running tighter and more efficient. It’s easy to get that done…it’s about making the time to do it.

I’m also hoping to get more video content available for you. That’s going to take bringing someone on board because I can’t shoot and edit the videos in the minimal time I have. It would be easier to have someone follow me around shooting and then have that vision for the edit. So we’ll see how that pans out this year. I’m on the hunt – let me know if you have a great referral in the Bay Area.

I’m also hoping to share more DIY / home improvement videos. Again, this will take someone helping me. But when I share any sort of DIY project on IG Stories, I get a massive amount of e-mails and direct messages asking for more. Or people send me photos and videos of their spaces with additional questions. It’s been great to know that resonates with you so don’t worry – it’s on my list! My goal is to help people do more of the work themselves without having to hire someone.

Another goal this year is heading into product development. I have one product to begin with that will be the game changer of a lifetime…just unsure where to begin along this road. Thankfully, I have a few close friends who I have shared this with that are cheering me on…and helping. One of my best friends here in the area developed her own product which is now being carried at The Container Store. So super proud of her! Shared her hanger before but it’s worth another mention for sure!…

( luxe bag care handbag hanger )

All of the above said – and yet there’s more not listed – I am beyond proud of this little business. Last month has been my biggest to date. I worked with 17 families – and many of those families had multiple spaces that needed help. This month I already booked 9 new families and there are projects still ongoing from last couple months. There’s quite a bit of juggling. But couldn’t be happier – this business is the love of my life.

IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS

My first home improvement project of the year is underway. I took down the bizarre and off-centered cabinets over my washer and dryer in the laundry room…

I have a post coming soon as to how you can easily remove cabinets…

I also have a post in the pipeline about how to patch and re-texture walls…

This got a lot of attention with my IG community – especially when I patched over very large holes left behind after the demo.

I’m almost done in the laundry room. Will be adding new open shelving with bins and baskets. The cabinets made it tough to access anything. This system is going to be much much better all around!

WORKING MOM STRUGGLES

( desk | rug | drawers | desk under window | jeans | boots | sweater is from Zara )

As you can imagine, I’m running on fumes with the amount of time dedicated to this business. All day I run around working…then in the evening there has to be some amount of time responding to e-mails, sourcing products, making calls or working on designs. The kids have been feeling my absence and it kills me a little bit. I know it’s great for them to see a mom so passionate about her job – I wish them the same in their future careers. But it’s been an adjustment. They’re used to having all of me because I used to be able to focus all of my work during their school hours. It will get better – I’m in a growing pains stage. But doesn’t mean I’m not affected when I hear the sad stories about how much they miss me or wish I wasn’t working as much. I’m sure many of you reading along can relate.

If you would like to stay in closer contact between blog posts, I’d love to have you join me on Instagram. I generally post 1x per day and share the project I worked on that day…or what I’m up to. I try my best to share stories a few times per week as well. Please join us over there – we’ve built a fun and engaged community of fellow organizing obsessed friends!

Feels so good to hit the publish button on this post. I’ll be back soon with more!

xx,

Sam

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  1. Proud of you & all you’ve accomplished! Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

  2. Manuela says:

    Damn girl –you’ve been through the ringer and you came out a warrior! Congrats on all your accomplishments as well as the new business name! I’m an aspiring PO and I discovered you on Instagram a few months ago. I truly appreciate everything you share about your life as a PO. Your DIY content is so inspiring and empowering.
    I’m looking forward to following your progress with SO Home and I wish you all the best!

  3. Julie says:

    I work with attorneys in trademark issues among other things and actually I’m thrilled to hear you turned this around and made it work for you. So many people wait to make the change until they are sued and that’s such a mess. But you’ve turned a mess into a nice solution, kind of like what you do for a living every day. Love the new brand!

    • Samantha says:

      Oh wow – this is so so great to hear! Thank you so much…and I agree 100%. My attorney was guiding me along the way and I’m so glad I had her in my corner / was able to keep a level head thanks to her professionalism and opinion on the matter. It was so hard giving up the name. I still have hope one day to meet the woman who does own the mark…since she lives nearby…and who knows, maybe she will sell it to me. I can keep good positive thoughts! haha!

      Thank you again!!

      xoxo,
      Sam

  4. gee dodds says:

    I have followed you from your early days of blogging and really feel that you have always been that extra bit special. I am so excited for you and honestly feel these exciting developments could not have happened to a nicer, more professional organizer and person. I love your work and especially your home! Best of luck…

    • Samantha says:

      Oh my gosh – this truly melted me. Thank you so much. Your words are everything…just appreciate it deeply and I thank you for joining me here for so long!

      xoxo,
      Sam

  5. Laura says:

    I am just starting out as a professional organizer and your blog and Instagram have been such an inspiration—and so helpful! I can only imagine how difficult the trademark issue must have been but LOVE what you’ve evolved it to. Thanks for sharing your work, successes, and challenges!

  6. Norma says:

    Thanks for sharing! Much success on this new stage of your career, I am sure you will have it. I love your style and I am just so bummed that we don’t have a container store in my country because I would die for closets like the ones you design!
    As a working mom, I have also experienced times when my oldest son says he misses me, and agree, it breaks your heart. But also agree that it is a good example to show them just how committed and passionate we are about our jobs.

  7. Michelle F. says:

    You are so inspiring! Congratulations on the your new business name, and everything else you have accomplished!

  8. Jill Baldauf says:

    Great solution. Good, continuous branding and nice graphics I have a question about the Container Store Contained Home program. What is it. Those closets are gorgeous. Much nicer than any Elfa ones I have seen in the stores. What is the price point?

    • Samantha says:

      Hi Jill! And thank you for the comment!

      Contained Home is a program at The Container Store where they match customers with professional organizers – if they need an organizer or want help designing a closet. I’m an independent contractor with them – run my own business, but they send opportunities my way. It’s a great program for the customers!

      Which closets were you asking for a price point about? The TCS Closet or the closets from my contractor? Generally a custom closet runs from $8k – $30k…in this case, one of them is $30k. I know – crazy!

      Sam

  9. Carien says:

    Love your new name!
    Such an inspirational blog post, thank you xxx

  10. CubbyCaddy says:

    Hi Sam, just want to say your blog is very inspiring, I was actually reading your blog from your 1st to recent pass 3/4 days. It makes me start thinking to blog and organize my life as well. Thank You.

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