Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Barber.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve always been a fan of keeping things organized — I just function better when the spaces around me make sense. A friend turned me on to Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I was intrigued! My husband got me the book as a present, and I devoured it. I couldn’t wait to apply her philosophies to my own possessions. And then, I found out I was pregnant — hello nesting! This news turned my excitement at a new project into an immediate need to make space in our small Heights bungalow for this new little person we were about to welcome into our lives.
After completing the whole program laid out in the book, I was hooked on this new life style of being more mindful and appreciative of everything around me. It also prompted reflections in me that made me realize, I was looking for a natural next step in my career. Having spent the past decade as a fitness instructor, I knew I loved working with people and helping clients achieve their goals. It made sense to me to now help them bring some healthy habits not only to their bodies but to their homes and lifestyles over all. When I found out Marie Kondo had begun KonMari Consultant certifications, I jumped at the chance and flew out to San Francisco for a 3-day conference. That experience solidified my decision to launch my own business and bring this life changing method to the people of Houston. As soon as I got home, I began sharing my experiences with others and quickly had a growing list of clients!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s been an all sorts of terrain road — smooth, bumpy, twists, turns and the occasional off-roading experience. I chalk it up to that’s just life trying to balance starting a business, working part-time teaching fitness, being a wife, a mother to a toddler, and also expecting our second child this summer. The biggest struggle has been finding time for it all and also the time for self-care. I find I have to be extra intentional about my schedule and really apply my organizing skills to prioritizing my time. I avoid multitasking as much as I can and instead concentrate on dedicating parts of my day or weeks to one facet of my life or another. I put a lot of energy towards being present at any given moment. If I’m having a date night with my husband, I’ll often leave the phone in the car. If I am with my son, I try to focus on being with my son. If I’m with a client, I’m with that client. Of course, some days that is easier said than done, so I also practice a lot of self-compassion if everything on the to-do list doesn’t do that day or if I fell short of my own expectations. I regularly remind myself I am just doing my best, along with everyone else.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Simply Maven – what should we know?
Simply Maven is a company with a mission to help others create the life they envision for themselves, working from the outside in. Primarily, I work individually with clients in their homes to declutter and reorganize their possessions, with the ultimate goal of helping them declutter and organize of the other areas of their lives. I also lead workshops on the benefits of decluttering and organizing to educate others on my methods and to inspire them to take some initial steps towards change.
The majority of what I practice is based on my training as a KonMari Consultant. The KonMari Method™ was created by the now quite famous tidying consultant Marie “KonMari” Kondo, best know for her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and her unique folding methods. The method promotes focusing on what to keep rather than what to discard, and in doing so invites participants to explore their relationships to their surroundings, their values, and what it is they most desire from their life.
I intentionally have dubbed myself an “organizing coach” vs. a professional organizer, though there is, of course, a lot of overlap. The distinction for me lies in the idea that the “work” is really done by the client to create the space and life they want. Rather than focus on doing the organizing for my clients, I work to set goals, educate, inspire and guide them to find the path to a more organized life themselves. I focus not only on what kind of home my clients are wanting but what they want their daily lives to look like? What experiences do they want as a part of their daily routine, and how can decluttering and reorganizing their home help create a path towards that.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Oh geez—it takes a village for sure. I have an overwhelming amazing long list of supporters and cheerleaders who have really been the wind beneath my wings ha! To name only a few… my husband for doing more than his fair share of bedtime routines and dinner makings as well as so so much more. My parents for being a sounding board whenever I’m navigating choppy waters. My rockstar friend Alicia Gray, owner of Gray Gardens Granola (who first told me about the book, to begin with) and has been my girl boss cheerleader every step of the way. Many of my amazing DEFINE body and mind coworkers, fellow instructors and clients, who inspire me every day with their strength, grace and perseverance in the pursuit of their own goals and dreams. The super awesome team at Lululemon Houston Galleria, who asked me to be their ambassador back in November. They have not only supported me as a fitness instructor but have also been wonderful at encouraging me in my path as a business owner as well. The mentors at the Women’s Business Center, are such an incredible resource and always know how to light a fire in me to get things done. And then, a big thanks to my two-year-old son, for reminding me to live in the moment, not take life too seriously and the importance of laughing every day.
- Organizing Workshop: Less Clutter, More Joy (various dates/times) $35
- Individual Coaching: 3 Hour Home Organizing Session $300
- Individual Coaching: 5 Hour Home Organizing Session $475
- Individual Coaching: Three 5 Hour Home Organizing Sessions $1000
- Website: www.simplymavenhtx.com
- Phone: 832-525-6508
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @simplymavenhtx
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simplymavenhtx/
Payton Ruddock, Ruddock Visuals