Whitney Gray, owner of Whit’s End, is a KonMari certified organizing consultant and part of The Venture Center’s Spark! 2021 cohort!
Spark! is a small business accelerator in Arkansas that aims to jumpstart small businesses and entrepreneurs across the state with access to free, quality resources, training and mentorship.
On this deep dive with Whitney Gray, she spoke to us about entrepreneurship in Arkansas, the impact of tidying up, and the role an ADHD diagnosis had in the origin of her business.
Read below for a shortened transcription of our conversation, and watch or listen to the video above to hear the whole thing!
On the KonMari method of organizing
Gray: The KonMari method comes from this book right here, “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, you can find it at your local library or Amazon, or go to the local bookstore, that would be better. But, the KonMari method has a series of rules that you follow. One of which is don’t start storing things before you finish decluttering. But you go through your home category by category instead of room by room. So it’s just a whole different approach to organizing, but it’s really more of an overhaul than a bandaid fix.
On the role of ADHD in the origin of Whit’s End
Gray: After my son was born, I realized I had ADHD. It wasn’t just a little bit of a new mom overwhelm. It was full-blown ADHD. I even had a friend say, “Oh, girl, I thought you knew you had that!”
So at first, one of the biggest problems I faced as an entrepreneur in this business was, holy cow, how can someone like me go help someone else? And the reason I thought I was equipped to help someone else is because I did it on my own. I completed the KonMari method and I thought, you know, if this method is something someone like me can complete, then other people can do it too, and I’d love to be the person that teaches them about it and helps them just transform their life through tidying their homes.
It’s not just tidying your home, it’s tidying and decluttering your mind and your heart and your soul and your time. It’s all of those things, but I’d definitely say that ADHD is a strength in this business because it gives me the superpower of creativity and spatial organization. And I have a big heart for those that also have ADHD and anxiety and depression and all those things.
I’ve been through it myself, so I can empathize with them and help them out at a very compassionate level.
On the personal impact of organizing
Gray: Just being invited into someone’s personal space like that really does my heart good because it’s, that’s what I’ve always wanted to do is help someone else. You know, in my old job, I always felt like I was telling people no all the time. And I wanted was to be a help.
Now I get to do that and I’m invited into a very intimate space with someone, that is the messiest part of their home and their life. And they tell me all kinds of things that they’ve gone through. You know, we’re not just talking about if this sweater is in or not, or if this pot or pan has scratches on it, or if the cup leaks, we’re talking about – maybe they lost a parent last year, and this has been really hard, and this cup belonged to my dad and I don’t want to get rid of it. That type of thing.
On the Spark! program
Gray: I thought it seemed like an amazing opportunity for someone like me who feels like I wanna be a great business, but I’m lacking the business knowledge. Like how do I pitch, what’s a sale, like what’s marketing, what’s a LEAN canvas – I still don’t know! I thought it would be great for me to learn the business ins and outs, have some support, and in turn that makes me feel a lot more confident as a business owner. That’s what I want the world to see. It’s not like this scared, you know, Whit’s End, “All I know how to do is organize a pantry.” Like, I’m a business owner! So I want to show up like that.
Huge thanks to Whitney Gray for sitting down for an in-depth conversation with us and being part of Spark! If you’re interested in more about Spark! Or The Venture Center’s other programs, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to stay in the loop!