Erin Condren knows chaos. But instead of running for the hills or accepting a life of continual disorder, she turned the game around with a super successful and stylish line of organization essentials for people who want it all. And when you look at organization as something to celebrate, like Erin does, beautiful things happen. We caught up with this #girlboss to chat about being a professional organizer, a mom and an entrepreneur, all while staying true to your brand and to yourself.
B+C: Give us the deets — how did you get into creating an uber successful line of organization products?
EC: I’ve always loved organization and especially have always gravitated towards the physical act of writing things down. We launched the LifePlanner™ the year the first iPhone came out, so it was definitely risky to think people would be inclined to schedule their lives on paper, like me, instead of virtually on an app. But they did overwhelmingly! That was really the launchpad for introducing organizational items that make scheduling life more fun and celebratory. From our chore chart to our checklists, Erin Condren aims to make organization more stylish and personalized.
And that goes for physical organization, too. I love our colorful desk set, which holds paperclips, pencils and other desk essentials in a colorful box. We’ve teamed up with Staples and will be featured in 400 stores across the country come June, so I hope this gives people who may not know about the brand the opportunity to see it in person.
B+C: You’re a mom to twins. How do you keep things from getting too chaotic?
EC: It really is a juggling act, and sometimes the balls drop. The key for me is having an incredibly supportive husband and close family and friends nearby. At first, I had guilt about not being the “room mom,” but my kids are very proud of what I do and understand that I can’t always be everywhere. My own mother always worked and was a professor of early childhood development. I was so lucky to have her advice, assistance and inspiration with respect to my business when it was really soooo hard to “do it all.”
B+C: How do you stay creative?
EC: The Erin Condren community is so inspiring! I’m constantly impressed by how our customers use the products, and that fuels us to be creative and reinvent. I look to outside industries to see what they’re doing with color, print and texture, and dissect how that could be implemented in our creations. I rely on our social media channels (@erincondren on Instagram and Erin Condren Design on Facebook) to see how members are using their products. I was seeing these innovative gals using our designer washi tape as adorable envelope liners for their personal notes. So clever!
B+C: Where do you draw inspiration for your thousands of designs? Is it a team effort?
EC: I have a background in fashion, so I get a lot of inspiration from what I see on the runways, and I think that translates nicely into our products. Butterflies were having a moment, and we had a butterfly design. Rose gold is hot in jewelry and home accessories so we developed a Rose Gold LifePlanner™. Our team is extremely creative, and we absolutely collaborate on designs. We are a design house at the end of the day, so color and patterns really are the driving force behind our products.
B+C: With your company now being global, how do you keep your brand authentic?
EC: As my company has grown, I’ve strived to ensure that I am still as actively involved as I was back when it was a one-woman operation. While logistically things have changed — I’m not responsible for shipping out each and every box myself, and we don’t operate out of my children’s playroom — I still feel that I’ve done a great job keeping the brand authentic to my design aesthetic and my personality. As my personal style has changed over the past 10 years, so has the brand’s style. I have an amazing team of talented designers who I rely on to create these stunning patterns, but the vision is still entirely true to what resonates with me, and I think that has translated globally.
B+C: Your product lines help women stay organized and on track. What’s your trick to managing your schedule?
EC: Developing a time management system is imperative to finding balance in a career and personal life. My motto has always been, “let’s get it done so we can have some fun!” I like to strategize on Sunday by outlining my family’s week ahead. That is why the LifePlanner™ has always had a weekly layout. You head into Monday with a game plan, ready to tackle the tasks at hand… and hopefully with more time for fun!
B+C: Your products allow folks to be less digitally-dependent. So for the app lovers and smartphone addicts out there, why should they make the switch to hold-in-hand organization methods?
EC: There’s something tangible and rewarding about writing things down in a calendar or planner that just doesn’t resonate the same as if you were putting them into, say, an app. The act of writing, color coding and seeing your week or month ahead helps you feel especially organized and prepared. As a very visual person, it is SO helpful to see my goals and priorities in front of me, and it makes achieving them that much easier!
B+C: What advice do you have for women thinking about starting their own business or side hustle?
EC: Don’t give up on your dream! We all set goals, but a goal is a dream with a deadline. Being an entrepreneur can be tough. It will involve endless work hours and not much sleep, but if you’re pursuing your dream, all those sacrifices are worth it. It takes thick skin and never-ending commitment. But continue to dream and work hard, and you’ll find that things start to come together.
B+C: If everyone in the world could have one Erin Condren product, what would it be and why?
EC: There are so many wonderful products on our site that it really is difficult to pick, but I would have to say the LifePlanner™. It’s our best-selling product, and it really is the cornerstone of this whole business and key to personal time management. It makes scheduling your to-dos so much more than just list-making and truly makes it possible to do more than schedule each day, but celebrate each day!
Do you still use a planner to stay organized, or have you become completely digital? Tweet us your pick @BritandCo!
(Photos via Erin Condren)