Interview with Amélie Saint-Jacques, KonMari Consultant-in-Training
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Ever since I heard there was a KonMari training program, I’ve wanted to interview someone who has taken part in it. My wish came true when Kim Tremblay of Space For You introduced me to Amélie Saint-Jacques.
Amélie provides home organizing services in San Antonio, Texas as well as virtually. Read on to learn more about her and her organizing business.
Amélie, what made you decide to start an organizing business?
I had been a freelance translator for several years, then had to take a break due to restrictions on my visa when I moved to the US from Montreal. After I got a green card, I continued the break to have kids. I eventually realized that organizing is something that I love doing and that I’m good at, so it made sense to do it professionally.
How did your training and experience prepare you to become an organizer?
Besides watching organizing shows on TLC or HGTV and reading all about it? I took some courses offered by NAPO and am currently a KonMari Consultant-in-Training.
What made you choose the KonMari program over the many others out there?
I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo’s first book, shortly after it came out. So many things in there made sense to me: keeping only things that make you happy; acknowledging the importance a specific object has had for you while at the same time accepting that it no longer serves you, and therefore letting it go with gratitude instead of guilt; organizing things by category rather than strictly by location, so that you see exactly what you have; saving sentimental objects for last. And, most of all, changing your outlook so that maintaining the pared-down version of your belongings becomes second nature.
It really resonated with me, and I saw how popular it was in general (#1 New York Times Bestseller, over 1.5M copies sold in 30 countries, etc.). I have since read her other books and watched her Netflix show (also a hit with the public). I had been thinking of becoming a KonMari consultant both because it’s something I really enjoy and because it is popular with the general public, so I thought it would be a good investment.
Some of my other readers might also be interested in KonMari Training. Can you tell us a bit about the program?
In order to become a certified KonMari consultant, the first step is to read the book and apply the method to your own belongings. Then, you have to attend one of the KonMari certification courses at a conference. Pre-pandemic, there were typically two each year (one in North America, one in Europe or Asia). Since I have small children, I couldn’t leave for a whole week to attend, but the pandemic actually gave me my opportunity: I attended a virtual conference over several days, from the comfort of my home.
The next step in the process is to complete at least one tidying festival with a client (there are additional requirements, such as having between 2 and 5 clients in all, completing at least 30 hours of tidying, etc.). The whole time, we are supervised by an evaluator, with whom we check in after each session and who gives us feedback. Once that is completed, there is an exam, and an interview after that. Getting certified and joining the group of official KonMari consultants means that our name and coordinates appear on her website when people are searching for a consultant near them. The more hours we complete, the more experienced our title (from Green to Master).
It’s taken me a while to complete a tidying festival, mostly because of the pandemic – I couldn’t work in-person for a long time, and unfortunately my target audience doesn’t enjoy virtual organizing. But now that I’m fully vaccinated, I look forward to getting back out there doing what I love!
How did you find your first client?
I found my first paid client via a Facebook group I belong to.
How are you marketing your business?
What professional associations or other organizations do you belong to?
NAPO, NAPO-Austin Chapter
How do you approach a new organizing project?
For me, the most important thing is to discuss the client’s expectations. What do they feel is not working in their space, what do they envision, what their budget/timeline is, etc.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve discovered about running an organizing business?
That so many people still don’t know that “professional organizer” is a job! I remember Julie Morgenstern being a famous organizer 25 years ago, and while I don’t necessarily expect the general public to be able to name a famous organizer, it’s been a reality check to realize that some aren’t even aware of the profession.
What is the biggest challenge you currently face in your business?
Currently, I’m just starting out, so my main challenge is getting the word out there about services that I offer. Things had just started picking up before the pandemic, but now it’s like I have to start all over again!
What’s your favorite organizing product? Why?
I’m a big fan of clear acrylic boxes in general: they keep things contained, yet still visible.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Besides taking care of my children, I cook/bake a lot. I also love to read and knit.
Would you like to be interviewed for Your Organizing Business?