The Container Store Changed My Life
Updated: Jan 9
I divorced in 2009 and with my eight-year-old daughter began the adventure of being a single mom. Since earning a bachelor's degree in Music Education in my 20's I spent the next thirty years earning a modest part-time income as a performer, private violin and voice instructor, wedding coordinator, and Personnel Manager and Librarian for a regional symphony orchestra - all at the same time.
Being on my own it quickly became clear that I was going to need additional ways of bringing in money. I didn't really want to work in retail, but The Container Store kept coming to my mind. Growing up in Dallas I was a shopper at the first Container Store on Preston Rd back in the late 1980's. I still use the Elfa drawer units I purchased there over thirty-five years ago! I thought, "That could be a fun place to work".
In 2011 I applied and was hired here in Fort Worth. At that time The Container Store (TCS) was still privately owned by co-founder Kip Tindell. Because of it's core principals and employee-first culture it was truly a great place to work. We were on Fortune's List of "100 Best Companies to Work For" for 17 years in a row.
As employees we were trained on all the amazing organizing products, best selling practices, great customer service, working the register, merchandising - there was a LOT of training. And each person was trained on multiple tasks so there was variety during your shift. All that training empowered you to jump in wherever you were needed and gave you the feeling that you were a valuable member of the team.
At that time Elfa was the only closet system TCS offered. When I was invited to train as an Elfa designer I was hesitant at first because I didn't know if I could do it. I remember the first day of training. It was pure exhilaration - I had SO MUCH FUN. I couldn't wait to design for customers. During my seven years with TCS space designing was my most favorite thing to do.
My second favorite thing about working at TCS was helping customer's solve problems. I loved having someone come in with a quirky space that they just couldn't figure out how to organize. Or someone with a vision for what they wanted their space to look like, but didn't know how to get there. It was so satisfying to see someone's demeanor change as we came up with exactly what they needed to solve their organizing dilemma - how their eyes would light up as they said a sincere thank you.
It's funny looking back that even though I used my organizing skills in my arts management positions I didn't understand the larger possibilities. It was just the way I did things and it helped me get those jobs. But my years at TCS honed those skills and brought me confidence and a new vision of what I was capable of doing.
Although professional organizing emerged as an industry in the mid 1980's, it didn't gain momentum until around 2005. But it was TCS that first introduced me to the idea of being a Professional Home Organizer. It was the first time I had heard of this as a profession. Over my seven years with the company I watched the job position evolve through different iterations as TCS looked for the right business model for their brand. And, at the same time (helped by the hugely popular book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, in 2014, by Marie Kondo and her subsequent celebrity status) I saw the Home Organizing Industry grow exponentially in the broader culture. In 2021 the market size of the Home Organizing Industry was approximately $11.4 billion and still growing. Professional Organizing had become a recognized business.
As I continued working now five jobs to make ends meet I felt like there must be a better way. I began imagining what my perfect source of income would be like. I created a set of seven career goals:
To work less and make more
To enjoy what I do
To use my unique skill set
To have a great schedule
To be in a great location
To work with people who loved and appreciated me
To impact others for the better
In 2017 I was burned out and still struggling financially. I was ready to start a new life chapter. After all I had learned at TCS I knew I would be a great organizer. I had the skills, I enjoyed working with people, and I loved seeing that transformation. It was time to start my own organizing business. I took a leap of faith and Bee and Peacock Organizing was born. It hasn't always been easy, but I have manifested a successful organizing business that I am proud of. I have happily checked the boxes on all seven of my goals and am focused on the next set!
You may be thinking that I've drunk the Container Store Kool-Aide. No job or employer is perfect and I assure you there were some negative experiences at TCS just like there are in any workplace. At the time of this post I do not have an affiliate relationship with TCS and am not beholding to them in any way. My reason for writing this is purely one of appreciation for all of it.
As I look back over the past eleven years it is impossible to underestimate the impact The Container Store has had on my life. Beginning with Kip Tindell and Garrett Boone founding a revolutionary new store in 1978, to actually getting hired, to the employee-first culture I was lucky to experience, to the exceptional training I received, to the amazing array of organizing products I was exposed to, to the opportunity to hone my customer service and problem solving skills, to the life-long connections and friends I have made, to the concept of a new career - it's all remarkable.
I believe the Universe guides us onto the paths that fulfill our dreams. I could not have seen it then, but getting hired twelve years ago was a profound step on the journey to this current moment of success and also to the future successes I am excitedly anticipating. Thank you Kip and Garrett for your groundbreaking vision. Thank you Corporate and Distribution staff who made sure I got paid and had products to sell. Thank you Managers and colleagues who gave me a chance and contributed to my betterment.
And now as a customer I'm in the store several times a week shopping for clients. It's fun to say, "I used to work here - it was a great job!" And I mean it. Thank you, Container Store. You're still helping me create those transformations I love so much.