Meet QC Design School graduate, Sara Jones! Tell us a little about yourself, Sara.
I live in Vancouver, BC, and can never see myself leaving because of my unending love of the Vancouver Canucks. I’ve been a season ticket holder for 20 years and spend many evenings during the season at Rogers Arena or watching [hockey] on TV.
I’m a wife, and also a mom of an 8-year-old boy who loves to be in sports. So, when I’m not organizing spaces, I’m organizing my schedule to get him to his activities! Being organized at home helps me out tremendously because then we aren’t searching for equipment or jerseys as we’re trying to get out the door.
Oh, and I also love coffee and basically any show on Bravo!
Why did you decide to become a professional organizer?
I’ve always loved to organize (my mom will say I was born this way) and I know that being organized makes my life easier. It helps calm me. So, I want to share that with others and show people how being organized can save both time and money!
What made you decide to pursue your certification training online – and how did you hear of QC Design School?
I love the online option; how I can do it on my own schedule and work it around my schedule of being both a mom and wife. While doing a Google search and lookin at my options, I discovered that QC Design School had a professional organization certification course.
From there, I decided that it was time to take on this new challenge!
Why did you ultimately choose to enroll with QC Design School? (E.g., What was it about our school that won you over, compared to other online design schools out there?)
I had previous experience with QC when I took QC Event School’s Event & Wedding Planner Course (and earned my International Event and Wedding Planning Professional™ (IEWP®) certification) back in 2011. I’d had a great experience with this sister school, and easily chose them again this time knowing that I would get the support I needed, as well as feedback from trusted professionals.
This year, you officially became a QC Design School graduate from our our self-paced, online Professional Organizing Course. Congratulations! What was your favorite part about this course? Additionally, what was the most challenging part?
I learned a lot of great information, and was given tools I can use over and over again in my future career. I loved being able to work on the course in my own time and not feel pressured with deadlines (which also, strangely, may be the most challenging part)!
As a perfectionist, I had to get to the point where I stopped working on the assignments and making changes, and forced myself to hand them in… Otherwise, I could have worked on them for ages!
You’re also currently enrolled in QC’s Aging in Place Design Course as well. In your own words, how would you describe Aging in Place design? Furthermore, why are you interested in adding this service to your business?
Aging in Place design is an exciting service to be able to offer! It gives people more options to choose from regarding where they will live as they age, while also taking into account any health concerns they may have or develop. Using organization techniques and/or renovating, the goal of Aging in Place design is to create a safer space to live in as you age.
How has your experience in this Aging in Place Design Course been so far?
It’s been great! I’ve learned a lot about how to design for people who are in different stages of their lives, as well as people who may be dealing with health concerns that will affect their way of life moving forward.
How would you describe your style as a professional organizer?
I’m definitely not a “one size fits all” type of organizer. Yes, I’ll come in with tips and tricks, and give suggestions about how to fix any problem areas. But I want to work with each client and individualize the plan for them and their specific situations. After all, this will lead to better success rates for the clients staying organized once my time with them is done!
What does your professional organizing process with clients look like?
After the client has decided they would like to hire my services, I will meet with them to look at the space/spaces they want to start with. From there, we discuss the current frustrations they have with it, as well as what their end goal is.
Focusing on the goals of each client and creating something just for them is most important to me! It allows for more success in keeping up with the organized space.
Which types of professional organizing services does your business, Create Organization, currently offer clients?
I offer decluttering and organization services, as well as packing (and unpacking) services for moves and renovations. I’ll also help declutter and organize areas of homes that people are looking to sell before the open houses, so that they can show off all the space they have. Additionally, I will also help with getting rid of donations, garbage, and recycling – and will help sell items that clients are looking to get rid of.
Additionally, you also have a secondary business – Create Weddings and Events – that provides wedding and event-related services. Tell us more about this!
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been a certified event and wedding planner since 2011 (with QC Design School’s sister school, QC Event School). As such, I offer a full range of services – from full wedding planning to day-of coordination services. My favorite thing about it is taking all the pieces of planning and fitting them together to create a cohesive, organized wedding day!
Do you remember what your very first professional organizing project with a legit client was like? Tell us about it! What did you learn from it, what went well, etc.?
Starting out, I organized for lots of family and friends (the best source to start with!). I did make money that way, but once I started booking clients that came from referrals, I really started to feel legit. I was confident that I was going to be able to make this into a full-time career for myself!
Truly, the best thing about it was that we achieved the goal that the client had set for us. Sometimes, the goal will feel small, or as though there’s an obvious solution. But what I’ve learned is that oftentimes, the client has been living with the issue for so long that they can’t actually see a way to fix it.
So, me coming in with fresh eyes – and my training – can make a big impact pretty quickly!
What are your business strategies when it comes to: finding/attracting clients, marketing your business, networking, etc.?
I’ve hired a company to create a website for me and give me an SEO strategy. This way, people searching online can easily find me! Also, I’ve joined a few groups and have been networking with other women-owned businesses. I also use Instagram and TikTok to share room transformations and tips about professional organization.
Lastly, word-of-mouth is incredibly important – and first-hand referrals are what I’m especially grateful for!
You’re located in Vancouver, BC – a massive city with a popular of approximately 2.71 million. With so many competitors in and around your area, what makes YOUR business unique?
I like to think that there is room for ALL of us in the professional organizing business! We each have our strengths, different areas we focus on, and areas of expertise.
One of the things I really want to focus on, though, is organizing for smaller spaces. I’ve lived in apartments for about 20 years. So, I really understand how important each inch is in a smaller space and how being (and staying) organized can help in everyday life.
It also feels that when you look on social media, all you see are large, walk-in pantries and huge closets being organized. I want to make sure that people who don’t have those also can get help becoming organized, too!
What do you love MOST about professional organizing?
Changing people’s lives! To some people, that can seem like a little bit of overkill… But by helping my clients get organized (even just in small ways), they can save time by not searching for things around their house.
Furthermore, they can also save money by knowing what they have (and don’t have). This way, they won’t go out and buy doubles just because they can’t find something. Professional organizing can allow people to come home to a more calming space where they can actually relax!
Which area of the home is your favorite to declutter and/or reorganize and why? What about your least favorite?
My favorite area to declutter or reorganize is any area that will make the biggest difference in my client’s day-to-day life.
Now, not that I would say they are my “least” favorite, per se – but garages typically take a lot of time. You have to plan them on nice weather days (meaning, no rain and not too hot). Otherwise, you normally don’t have enough space to really pull out and go through everything when you can’t properly empty the space.
So, garages are mostly just the most difficult organizing service to provide.
Who are your professional organizing gurus/sources of inspiration and why?
A few years ago, I started following an organizer in Alabama whom I discovered through a podcast that I always listen to (after she’d organized for one of the hosts). She was the first account that I started following (@house.peace) and I really loved her approach to organizing!
Then during the pandemic, I, like so many others, became obsessed with The Home Edit and watching their Netflix show. When I couldn’t do much outside of the house, they gave me lots of inspiration to organize more areas around my own apartment.
What advice would you give to aspiring home designers and other QC Design School graduates who dream of starting their own business?
Start with friends and family! Provide design services for them so you can create content (like before and after photos) for your portfolio. Then you’ll be able to show potential clients the difference you can make!
I also think taking a course, such as any of the ones offered at QC Design School, is also important because you can learn from pros. Professional training makes you work through hypothetical scenarios before you encounter them with real clients, allowing you to be prepared. Plus, it shows potential clients that you’re serious about what you do because you have been investing in both your education and your business.
Speaking as a QC Design School graduate, why do you feel it’s important for home designers to have professional certification training?
For me specifically, it was important to have professional certification training for two main reasons. Firstly, so I could learn from other professionals in the industry. Secondly, so that when I’d be speaking to potential clients, they could take comfort in knowing that this is a job I take a lot of pride in.
After all, I was willing to put time and money into becoming certified, in order to become the best industry expert I can be!
Overall, why would you recommend our self-paced, online training as a QC Design School graduate?
To date, what’s been your proudest moment so far as a professional organizer?
Finishing my Advanced International Organizing Professional (AIOP) certification and becoming a QC Design School graduate was definitely up there! It felt great to know that I had put the time and effort into becoming the best organizer I can be and had accomplished the first step.
What’s in store for Create Organization the rest of this year and beyond?
I recently had my website go live after working with a company on creating it. I’ve joined a few networking groups of women in business and am working on marketing myself outside of my friends and family circle. Also, I’ll be finishing up my Aging in Place certification so I can begin to add that to my list of services as well!