To start off 2021, I am focusing the first month of the year on organization – organizing our homes, our minds, our workplaces, our finances – our lives. Therefore it is appropriate that the first Small Business Sunday feature of the year be a newer local small business that specializes in organization.
Silent K Organizing is owned by Michelle Kneale. She is a professional organizer that services the Fraser Valley, Metro Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast. As a professional organizer, she goes into client houses, offices, barns, garden sheds (anything that is cluttered and in need of some organizing); and she discusses how to use the space, and what the clients decluttering preferences are. Then Michelle works with the client on sorting, disposing, and containing items. Together they decide on, and set up a system that will work for the client (items that they’ll realistically use and maintain). You can find Silent K Organizing on Facebook and Instagram.
What made you choose this type of business?
I feel like I’ve been doing this my whole life: every employer, family member, or friend I have has, at one time or another, asked me to help organize their closet, kitchen, garage, barn, work space, or help with packing and unpacking. I also always loved organizing my own spaces: it is often what I do on Sundays.
I’ve been working in live theatre for 15 years as an arts administrator, and dramaturg (think: creative counselor and editor for stage plays). Theatre is fun and exciting, but the workload is also intense, and the salaries aren’t great (the starving artist trope is real). So when the pandemic started, I acted on an impulse I’d been having to move on. One day, I was brainstorming with my oldest sister about my next steps and when she mentioned professional organizing, we both knew that was the one! Three months later, I launched Silent K Organizing.
I’ve used a lot of the skills and knowledge I’ve learned working in theatre and I think it gave me a leg up to run a business, and to develop a working style that is supportive and productive.
What is your favourite small business (aside from your own)?
Active Growing Services, I like the work they’re doing to build up soil fertility with long-lasting effects. They make gardens and crops more lush and productive with techniques that are healthy for the planet.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
For starting a business:
I spend a lot of time researching, and ask for advice from my new colleagues in this business or from mentors I’m building a relationship with– these things have really helped direct my progress.
For organizing your space:
People think you should start by buying all new storage containers, and that’s actually the second to last step– most people have already tried to organize before and will have containers to work with. Start by removing any items that you can easily identify for donation or the trash, then call me!
If applicable, has your business been affected by COVID19? If so, how?
Yes, the business grew out of the pandemic, really.
Now that we’re deeper into restrictions, obviously business has slowed a bit. I’ve recently started working virtually when we need to. It is far less satisfying than being a part of the progress, but it will keep us safe. And besides, I can help more people get their spaces working properly this way, and we can check up on how the system is working more easily.
What are your long term business goals?
I think long term, I would like to build the business to include administrative staff and organizers. I’m also working on some partnerships and prototypes with local makers to create environmentally-friendly storage containers. A lot of storage bins and trays are made of plastic, so I’d like to offer options that are better for the environment and the local economy. Don’t get me wrong, clear plastic bins and organizers can look amazing, but I can see potential for creating more options that are sustainably made.
What are you most looking forward to with the launch of your new business?
All the clutter I get to crush!
I might be nerdy about organizing: looking at a cluttered spot puts a grin on my face and I am instantly excited to get my mitts on it. But I think it helps the client feel more enthusiasm for the task and forget about any shame they might be struggling with.
What is your funniest/weirdest/most memorable experience with a customer or client?
The neat thing about this moment is that it happens with almost every client with varying intensity. Before we start, I like to prepare clients that we might unearth some embarrassing things in the process. When I add, “don’t worry, no judgement, and your secrets are safe with me,” I can see their shoulders relax and a wave of relief wash over them. Then we usually share a nervous giggle and get to work. It’s great.
A big thank you to Michelle Kneale for participating in this weeks small business sunday.
What a great way to start a new year off, but getting your home/work space in order. Contact Michelle for a free consultation.
If you are a small local business interested in participating in our small business sunday feature, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.