Amber: Hi I’m Amber Ambrose and this is The BusinessMakers Show. My guest today is Marcie Baker Turrin of Ship Shape Houston and she is going to tell us how she organizes tings in peoples’ lives to make them happier in their home, the place they want to be all the time.
Marcie: Yes, definitely.
Amber: So I gave a little overview, a little teaser there, but what is Ship Shape Houston Marice?
Marcie: Ship Shape Houston is a boutique organization where we handle everything having to do with your home, basically from soup to nuts.
Amber: I’ve never heard that before.
Marcie: We do professional organizing, interior redecorating, home staging when you’re getting ready to stage your home. We do move management to make moves simple and smooth and easy instead of the giant headache that they usually are, and we also handle senior downsizing, which is a big, big part of our business these days because so many peoples’ parents are aging out of where they’re living and deciding to move to independent living and stuff and it’s becoming a very large part of our business.
Amber: How did you get into doing this for a living?
Marcie: So the hilarious story about this is – and I always give my mother great credit because she has every right to say to me where were all these organizing skills when you were living in my house and your room looked like a disaster area – because I was not born organized. Some people are, I was not born organized. It was about 1988, I was in college, and I was late with all of my papers, I was always making excuses to my professors. And it wasn’t because I wasn’t doing the work; it’s because I wasn’t getting it done on time because I was so disorganized and it was just one of those things where I just had this epiphany.
There was no internet then – amazingly there was no internet – but there was no internet; there weren’t books or Oprah that you could say help, my house is crazy, help me out. And I just started trying things. I tried a lot of things that didn’t work and I tried a lot of things that did work. And I’ve always had a large group of friends and I’ve always been into entertaining and people would come over and be like what happened here? This place looks incredible. So people started asking me to do it for them; they were like hey, come on over to my house this weekend, I moving in, can you help me get organized? And I was like sure. I had other jobs; I had other careers that I was very excited about and that were very gratifying and rewarding, but after 15 years literally of people saying you really should do this for a living I started doing it for a living.
Amber: After 15 years.
Marcie: I’m a slow learner.
Amber: So how long has Ship Shape Houston been around?
Marcie: Ship Shape Houston became officially in existence in 2002. I started with just professional organizing and since then I sat for my CPO designation which is Certified Professional Organizer designation. I also went to New York and studied with Lauri Ward of Use What You Have Decorating and became an Interior Redecorator, part of the Interior Refiners Network. And people started asking me to decorate their houses and then they started asking me to help them stage it to get sold and so I added that on. And then people said I really need help with my move, can you help me with that? And I said sure.
Amber: So it all kind of falls under the same umbrella of just getting your stuff put in the right places and getting rid of clutter.
Marcie: Exactly and making it look beautiful because it’s really not just about the making it make your life better in terms of it being organized or making your life more beautiful in terms of making it decorated or helping your house sell or making your move easier, it’s about what it brings to your life in terms of just making. Life is so stressful, why should the inner sanctum of where you sleep and where you eat and where you do all your family stuff – that should all be the place that nurtures you and makes you feel happy. When you walk into your house it should look like you and your family instead of looking like the tornado that my house used to look like.
Amber: That my house currently looks like probably right now.
Marcie: We can talk.
Amber: When the cameras are off. So what is your favorite part – of those services that you do what is one of your favorite services that you provide?
Marcie: I would say it’s very gratifying to help seniors when they’re in the situation of being so afraid of leaving the place that they’ve lived, often with their partner who sometimes has passed away. And it’s such an emotional journey and the kids are feeling all of that and there’s so much stress involved in going back and forth of do we keep, do we not keep? Does Mom want to go? Does Mom not want to go? I really like to just hold everybody’s hand and just sort of help them through the process because it is a giant, giant shift and making it as calm and as smooth and as enjoyable as possible is really my main goal.
Just to take things that people normally dread and make them into something that they are shocked to find that they really enjoyed it. Like organizing is something people hate, they’re like oh my God. So I have a background in sketch comedy and I like to bring humor to the situation and I really just like to take things that people hate and make them enjoyable. Because there’s so many things like that and there’s ways to make it better if you have the right kind of guide.
Amber: I want to get more into the senior downsizing that you were just talking about; how did that come about? And I would imagine that’s probably a growing service for you right now.
Marcie: Very much so. So what happened was a client of mine said you’ve done such an amazing job for me and I’ve been talking about you to my mom for years and she and my dad are moving out of their house where they’ve lived for 60 years and they have mountains of stuff. And me and my siblings are totally overwhelmed and afraid to even start with them because they have emotional attachments to things and because we don’t want to have any familial drama.
I said that’s the best thing about having someone come in from the outside who understands what you’re dealing with is I don’t have any emotional attachments to everything and what I’m here to do is not to help your mom and dad throw everything away, I’m here to help them decide what they really love. Because it’s really all about surrounding yourself with what you love and what you use; whether it’s organizing, whether it’s decorating, whether it’s senior downsizing, whether it’s move management, it’s all about surrounding yourself with things that you love and that bring joy to you and things that you use because a spatula is something that you use but it probably does not bring joy to you.
Amber: Sometimes it does, depends on what I’m making.
Marcie: I love it.
Amber: Brownies – spatula makes me real happy.
Marcie: I could so see that; must have the brownies. So it’s really about surrounding yourself with what you love and what you use and that’s common thread that really runs through all of the things that I do. And that’s really my goal for everybody is that they should look around their house and feel joy because they’re surrounded by things that they love; that are meaningful to them, that tug at their heart and make them feel happiness. Or, you know, they’re useful.
Amber: So what are your clients like?
Marcie: Everything from somebody moving apartments – sometimes I have clients who call me and they say my kid is moving to their first apartment and I want you to come help me with that all the way up to multimillion dollar mansions, 10,000 square feet, we’re designing and organizing and decorating the whole space.
Amber: So primary focus on the residential market.
Marcie: Probably mostly would say residential; I’m probably 80% – 85% residential and the remainder some sort of corporate, mostly small business.
Amber: And I would imagine word of mouth is a very big thing for you.
Marcie: Very much so. Almost from the start that’s how my business has grown, so I’ve been very fortunate in that my clients have been great advertisers for me and they still continue to be 15 years in. That’s how I get 95% of my business I’d say.
Amber: Speaking of 15 years in, what do the next few years look like for you?
Marcie: I’m looking in to, at the suggestion of several clients who have seen me kind of project manage big projects that they’ve had – I’ve clients who when I’ve started to stage their house they needed electrical work, they needed wallpaper repair, they needed plumbing work done – and I’m looking into getting my contractor’s license to be doing some general contracting work. So I’m really excited about that.
Amber: That’s great. Well Marcie, thank you so much for joining us and once again I think you also have is some practical tips on the things in your home should be the things you love and the things you use and those are the two measurements.
Amber: Very simple so just remember that everybody. And thanks again for joining us Marcie Baker Turrin of Ship Shape Houston, once again this is The BusinessMakers Show and I am Amber Ambrose.
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