Marie Kondo has mastered the timeless art of tidying up since childhood, which has proven to be a viable source of income and a rewarding profession.
“I became captivated by the craft of organizing at the age of 15 after reading The art of throwing, a bestselling book in Japan at the time,” she says. “I started to explore storage more seriously and read every book on the subject that I came across.”
Today, Kondo – who is estimated to be worth around $8 million – and her husband Takumi Kawahara, who has a knack for networking and growing businesses from the ground up, are looking for new ways to uplift and to expand their KonMari business.
“We both love to work and even in our private offline moments, our conversation tends to be about the KonMari business,” admits Kawahara. “As we have evolved as business partners, we have also learned to work better together based on each other’s strengths.”
With demand for home organization products expected to grow 3.8% annually, Kondo’s gentle and thoughtful approach to redesigning our living environments adds depth and clarity to the often stressful process of taking charge of our property.
In 2021, the market was valued at US$11.8 billion, which is unsurprising considering how hybrid work arrangements are causing many of us to re-evaluate our lives, including appearance. of our environment.
The story behind KonMari
Unless you’ve read his iconic book The magic of life-changing storage: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizingyou may have guessed that Japanese heritage is firmly rooted in the foundation of the KonMari brand, but maybe you weren’t aware that Kondo worked as a Shinto miko for five years.
The rituals and behaviors that accompany the experience of visiting a shrine are at the heart of what the brand truly stands for – treating spaces with respect and care.
“It all started when I enjoyed my visits to the Shinto so much that I decided to work there,” Kondo shares with CEO magazine.
“My time at the Shinto shrine helped me become the dedicated storage expert I am today and the experience has inspired many thoughtful details and practices of the KonMari Method.”
Embarking on a road less traveled early in life, the foundation of the KonMari Method was born when Kondo had a sudden revelation that sparked an idea that would later underpin his business.
“I had a moment of realization after a particularly long and difficult tidying up session, where I passed out on the floor,” she explains. “That’s when I heard a voice telling me to look carefully and closely at objects, and that’s when I realized that instead of looking for reasons to Discard an article, I should look for reasons for dungeon them.”
As a 19-year-old university student in Tokyo, Kondo took the leap to start her own business as a storage consultant.
As simple as tidying up may seem, she doesn’t hesitate to reveal that “it took years of experience and research working closely with different clients to fully develop the KonMari method”.
“I feel like every big opportunity in my career has come at exactly the right time and I consider myself very lucky,” she shares.
However, like all great things in life, Kondo believes his continued commitment to his mission plays a big part in his global success. “I feel that I have become the person I am today thanks to the effort and time I have put into the craft.”
Fast forward to 2022 and the entrepreneur and mother of three has come a long way.
“My time at the Shinto shrine helped me become the dedicated storage expert I am today and the experience has inspired many thoughtful details and practices of the KonMari Method.” – Marie Kondo
“Those early days of tidying up set off a domino effect that opened the doors to becoming a global business author and business owner,” she notes. “The entrepreneurial passion and persistence, along with the support I found in the team we developed along the way, has evolved into the success of KonMari Media.”
It was her passion for reading that eventually led Kondo to publish her first (multilingual) book in 2010 titled The magic of life-changing storagewhich helped spread awareness of the KonMari Method and attracted future opportunities.
“My books and television programs, Tidying up with Marie Kondo and Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo on Netflix, helped me create a global platform to further impact people’s lives through tidying up,” she says.
A year after launching KonMari Media in 2015, the couple introduced their certification courses to make a bigger impact globally.
Today, they have 850 professionally trained and certified KonMari Consultants working in clients’ homes, offices and personal spaces in 60 countries and six continents.
“Consultant Certification Courses help ensure the KonMari Method is taught and performed correctly, and it presents a unique way for people to expand existing streams of income or create new streams of income as consultants” , explains Kondo.
If that’s not enough, KonMari.com is an organizer’s dream with a tasteful, well-curated collection of self-care and organization products.
Kondo’s bare, natural aesthetic lives on through the “Japanese Heritage” category on the website where you’ll find an array of treasures designed to enhance daily rituals and routines.
“KonMari Media always strives to celebrate Japanese heritage, whether by honoring specific Japanese holidays or promoting products made in Japan,” Kondo said.
“People love our collections and curated items on KonMari.com because we are thoughtful and intentional in what we offer,” adds Kawahara.
Kondo’s intention has always been to introduce the KonMari Method to as many homes as possible. And although the spotlight has always been on her, Kawahara’s contribution is undeniable, as the engine of the brand.
The KonMari method first appealed to women in their late 30s and 50s, although in recent years millennials have come to understand the phenomenon of “sparkling joy”.
“Our shows on Netflix, our partnerships and collaborations with The Container Store and Shutterfly, and our social media activations have increased awareness among younger audiences, especially millennials,” notes Kawahara.
Unsurprisingly, as many have found themselves at home during the pandemic, new audiences have been drawn to KonMari for advice.
“They turned to KonMari either through Netflix shows, Marie’s books, KonMari.comour social networks or through our partnership with The Container Store,” he adds.
“It has opened us up to more audiences and is something we hope to continue as people also prepare to return to the office.”
When asked what’s on the horizon for the brand, Kondo and Kawahara sneakily reveal that they have some exciting new projects in the works.
“We are constantly thinking of ways to reach new audiences, both as an individual brand and through collaborative partnerships.”
Developing a business while raising a family is certainly not an easy task, but for Kondo, being a mother has reinforced her second occupation in life.
“I like to think that the lessons I learned – and are still learning – as a mother have helped me be a stronger business leader and a mentor to other women in business” , she says.
She also points out that “as a company, we had difficult conversations, and having a clear vision of where I wanted to be and where I want the company to be helped me to stay focused”.
When CEO magazine When asked what their secret is to nurturing a career and family life together, Kondo and Kawahara admit that it hasn’t been easy.
“It’s been a learning process to understand how to balance work and life when you work and live with your partner, but at the end of the day Marie and I know that our family comes first,” he shares.
Meditation, clearing her space with a tuning fork and crystal, and tending her vegetable garden are some of the ways Kondo maintains a sense of balance. “My passion for the Earth is evident in my philosophy of storage – the belief that all objects have energy and deserve to be cared for and respected.”