I have to admit that when Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin from The Home Edit agreed to participate in our Talk Shop series, I felt a bit star struck! I absolutely love following these ladies on Instagram and I’m a huge fan of their show “Master the Mess”. If you’re not familiar with Clea and Joanna, they are literally organizers-to-the-stars with clients like Reese Witherspoon, Mandy Moore, Emma Roberts, and Khloé Kardashian (no big deal!). In addition to being incredibly talented, they are also hilarious and so entertaining. It was such an amazing opportunity to get to chat with them about how they grew their business and their favorite organization projects to date. We also asked them for a few organizing tips to help us start 2019 on a clean slate. Read on below for the full scoop!

House of Harper Talk Shop: The Home Edit
House of Harper Talk Shop: The Home Edit
House of Harper Talk Shop: The Home Edit
House of Harper Talk Shop: The Home Edit

We’re so excited to speak with you both about your incredible company that has completely exploded. Let’s start with a little background. You both had experience with professional organizing before launching The Home Edit. How did both of you decide to pursue professional organizing as a career?

Clea Shearer: I actually went to art school. Before organizing, I worked in the fashion industry—which is why my organization approach comes from an aesthetic standpoint. I’ve always been extremely type-A and neurotic, so making organizing my career felt like a natural transition.

Joanna Teplin: I come from a more traditional organizing background. When I met Clea, I’d already owned an organizing business but on a much smaller scale. Clea brings the form, and I bring the function. It’s a perfect balance.

Is being organized a characteristic that is inherent for both of you? Are there any areas of your life where you don’t feel organized?

Clea: Absolutely. I remember inviting my next-door neighbor over to play school as a kid, but we never quite made it to the make-believe part. Instead, we’d end up putting all the school supplies in order. I’d also set aside time on spring break just to organize my desk and vanity drawers. Honestly, I think my daughter (Stella) is following in my footsteps.

Joanna: I remember obsessively arranging my collection of tiny penguin figurines when I was little, but by the time I went to college, clothes covered every surface of my car and dorm floor. I guess you can say I grew into my organization (and I’m thankful for that!)

Both: We tend to keep our items organized, but our brains on the other hand? Everyone is unorganized in one way or another. That’s where our phrases “Low Bar Lifestyle” and “Surviving Not Thriving” come from. It’s all about creating systems that simplify your life and setting the bar just low enough that you can accomplish all kinds of bite-sized victories.

We’ve heard that your brand was basically built in a day after a four hour lunch and subsequent text exchange. What were the signs that made you realize you had found the business idea and partner you’d been looking for?

Yes, the rumors are true! We met in 2015 through a mutual friend who suggested we go to lunch, due to the fact we were both recent California transplants who moved to Nashville for their husband’s job, had kids the same age, and had independently planned on having their own organizing business upon moving. We went to lunch, and 4 hours later, we were business partners. That same night, we came up with our company name, designed our logo, bought our domain, and registered our LLC. Organizers are nothing if not efficient. Looking back, it’s probably ill-advised to essentially get married after a matter of hours, but when it’s meant to be it’s meant to be.

Within a year you had big national press hits and celebrity clients. Was there a specific project or opportunity that opened those doors and allowed you to grow super quickly?

It was definitely a culmination of projects—Gwyneth Paltrow being one of them. Her pantry got us a lot of exposure. But also, some of our biggest opportunities have happened because of our Instagram stories. It’s how people got to know the authentic side of the brand and that proved to work in our favor and allowed us to grow more quickly.

Have you had a specific “oh my gosh, we’ve made it” moment?

When Reese found us on Instagram — which will never, EVER seem real!! She had her company Hello Sunshine reach out to us to discuss ways we might want to collaborate. At the exact same time, we were shopping a TV sizzle around. And the stars just aligned allowing us to have our show find its perfect home at Hello Sunshine.

You have a list of celebrity clients including Reese Witherspoon who produced your TV show “Master the Mess”.  Had it always been a dream of yours to work with celebrities? Were you (or are you) ever intimidated / star struck?

Well, yes. But we never thought it would happen! We started The Home Edit together three years ago as a way to transform the way people think about organization. Also, as a way to get our footing in a new city where we didn’t know anyone but our husband and kids. Thankfully, people seemed to accept us and our #LowBarLifestyle, and now here we are!

Is there anyone you haven’t worked with already who is on your dream client list?

Basically the entire cast of Schitt’s Creek.

How do the two of you divide and conquer projects? Do you have different skill sets and strengths?

Clea: In general, I bring more of the form or aesthetic to a project, while Joanna brings the function. It’s definitely a collaboration—it’s also a miracle that two people who are this neurotic could make such a great team. However, we each keep each other in line. Whenever I get distracted, Joanna yells at me. If Joanna starts getting frustrated, I yell at her. You know, just your typical business partners!

Your digital content is #housegoals and you have almost a million Instagram followers!! Has social media been an important focus for your business since the beginning?

Yes! It has. Instagram is the perfect tool to visually explain, share and promote our exact kind of business. We were the first to really use social media as a strong tool to grow our business and quickly came to realize that pictures of beautifully organized spaces seem to elicit a visceral sense of calm. Then Instagram Stories came along which document our “surviving not thriving” lives as moms, business owners, etc. — and they’re such a clear, honest contrast from our beautifully curated Instagram feed.

Your sense of humor and dynamic personalities make for pure entertainment on IG stories.  How do you decided what to share and what to keep personal on this platform. We love getting peeks into your personal lives!  And Roberta is our favorite story line.

We always joke that we live by the mullet philosophy— business in the front (our organization content on the feed) and party in the back (the more personal side of us in our stories).

How big is The Home Edit team now? Do you have any plans to expand cities in the future?

We currently have 7 employees in Nashville (which includes us) and two employees in LA. Since we are launching in NYC this spring, we are in the process of hiring two employees in the city. We don’t have any plans for additional cities just yet. But you never know!

You have your organization business, product line, TV show, blog, and book. Do you have any other growth goals for The Home Edit over the next 5 years? Is there anything left?!

Our main goal is to continue giving people the tools to bring peacefulness and order to their home. Also, to show people that organizing isn’t rocket science. If we can do it, so can you! So, however we can spread that message—a book, TV show, and beyond—we’re here for the ride.

What is your number one piece of advice to a client who is feeling conflicted about parting with personal belongings that they don’t really need?

If you can’t purge, store it. But don’t let it take up your valuable everyday real estate. If you don’t love it, need it, or haven’t touched it in a year—it’s time to make a decision. For those items that you still can’t decide on, stay in the groove and keep moving. You can come back to that item in the same edit session, just not at a later date. It will only be that much harder.

We are so excited about your book The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals. Tell us a little about the book and what readers can expect to learn.

We are constantly asked questions about organizing and how people can go about doing it for themselves, and with this book we can finally share our secret sauce! We are SO EXCITED to highlight the tools that bring peacefulness and order to your home. We want to help everyone finally wrap their head around not just what needs to go where but why, and we think this is key to maintaining your beautiful spaces.

Our advice appeals to the newbie organizer as well as the type A person who has a system in place. All can glean something valuable from the book, no matter where you are on the organizing spectrum! We bring our tried-and-true decluttering methods straight from our celeb clients’ closets and into your home. Anyone can totally do this. We think that people will really love our step-by-step tips to help build and ultimately achieve your organization goals. Bring on the ROYGBIV!

Now for a few fun questions…

If you could host a dinner party for anyone living or dead who would be there?

Clea: The entire cast of Schitt’s Creek

Joanna: Mark Cuban. I LOVE Shark Tank and any business related book.

Describe your personalities in 3 words:

Clea: Creative, meticulous, and loyal

Joanna: Non-judgmental, fun-loving and productive

What do you never leave home without?

Clea: My phone and always a phone charger

Joanna: Snacks. Lots of snacks.

Go-to self-care ritual:

Clea: Sipping a glass of champagne in my bathroom (the only place in my house people won’t bother me.)

Joanna: Drinking a cup of tea or eating candy under a comfy blanket

Favorite way to spend time with your family:

Clea: Going to the movies

Joanna: Snuggling on the couch

Best advice for balancing work and family?

It’s all about setting the bar just low enough that you can accomplish all kinds of bite-sized victories. Which is why we coined the phrase “Surviving Not Thriving” about our lifestyle. It’s not the same thing as being lazy. Not at all! We just believe that life is too short to feel residual guilt about not wearing real pants or making it to the gym every day. Baby steps over a low low low bar motivate us to keep on going. If that means saying no to “Muffins for Mom”, so be it.

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