I had the total pleasure of gathering with some friends at one of my favorite homes in all of Nashville, belonging to the lov-er-ly Stephanie Conner, to celebrate two great organizations: The Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation and The Container Store. The fact that this post also includes an interview with The Container Store Senior Buyer, Brooke Minteer, makes it instantly one of my favorites EVER to write.
You see, The Container Store opens this Saturday. [PAUSE.] Okay, I’m back. I just needed to get off my chair and do a little jig and then go out to my porch and SCREAM. I have been waiting since 1996 (the year I called The Container Store and begged that they consider franchising to me, a recent college grad) for this oh-so-amazing store to come to Nashville. They turned me down, but a mere 15 years later, here they arrive at The Mall at Green Hills. I mean, Davis Kidd (Nashville’s beloved bookstore that formerly occupied this same spot), I miss you and all, but I’ll do some therapeutic shopping to get over it, and be organized at the end of the day to boot!
Back to The Minne Pearl Cancer Foundation: 10% of ALL sales on November 5th and 6th will go directly to this jewel of a charity. I saw an alarming stat this past weekend: 1:2 men and 1:3 women will experience cancer of some sort in their lifetime. That is startling. TMPCF exists to help people diagnosed with cancer and help them during their journey; they reach people across Tennessee and all over the world. To find out more, click here.
So, I showed up to Stephanie’s having no idea what was in store. There were lots of women, all wearing fabulous shoes or boots, and all talking closets. It seemed the one thing that had everyone’s attention was the state of their closets, their clothing and their accessories. The beautiful closet on display only added to everyone’s angst about their own personal closet catastrophes.
The conversation made me wonder if anyone has a perfect closet? First of all, if you do, we want to hear from you. We’d love to do a post on an inside look of beloved closets throughout the south. But, it also made me wonder what the buyers for The Container Store have on their own “must have” list for closets? And, how many options does this mega store of organizations offer? And, and, and… so many questions… Well, I spoke with the Grand Poobah of Purchasing, Senior Buyer Brooke Minteer, and this is what I found out:
During the holiday season they have about 10,000 products, as they add about 2,000 products to the store for their Gift Wrap Wonderland, including boxes, bins, tags, wrap, stocking stuffers and more. Many of the wrappings are exclusive to The Container Store with coordinating patterns found on bags, totes, and tins.
But, don’t let that 8-10 thousand number overwhelm you! Much of that large number is made up of parts for the many organizing and storage systems (modular) offered, including elfa. (If you don’t know what elfa is, click here and be enlightened.) Employees receive 280 hours of training a year to ensure they are able to help out everyone from the most organized to the least (which includes me). And, the employees are trained that the best solution is not necessarily the most expensive solution. There are solutions that might be $2.99. Many solutions fall into categories of better, best and exceptional, allowing you to decide the amount of money spent while still solving your problem.
Brooke has lived with elfa décor for over 15 years and can’t imagine not having it. Having just moved into her new house, priority #1 is installing this system, which has become the cornerstone to The Container Store. Elfa makes each morning easier, given that we all start our day in the closet. Since people interact with their closet twice a day, having it organized, not chaotic, makes a huge difference. We couldn’t agree more.
I asked Brooke what her two favorite accessories to the elfa system in her own closet are:
- “The gliding shoe shelf allows me to go shopping for my shoes, in my own closet, each day.” The design allows her to group flats, wedges, and heels (by height) together. Simply pull it out and pick.
- Brooke loves the modular, clear plastic drawers that come in 3-4 sizes. They fit perfectly on elfa shelves, and hold everything – handbags, sweaters, shirts, you name it. Smaller ones hold Gal Pal (click here if you do not own this – you need it), hosiery kit, shoe horns. Because they are modular, they fit on top of each other.
“We just launched three brand new distinct collections for closets – less than a month ago. They were designed with three different customers in mind and are all inspired by Italian cities, as who doesn’t want a bit of Italy each day in their closet?! The Milano, a black and white graphic collection, Firenze, a green and cream-colored collection, inspired by art, museums, wine and frescoes, and Como, inspired by Lake Como, with beautiful blues.” (but no George Clooney to go along with it…)
These three are part of The Container Store’s “exceptional collections.” (You won’t find the terms “better, best, exceptional” as ways to search for items online, but employees all seem to be trained in this way of thinking, as I’ve heard this mantra many times. It makes sense. Take trash cans, for example. TCS carries a range of options, from the plastic “better” choice that won’t fall apart, to the “exceptional” German stainless steel variety, with all the bells and whistles.) Worth noting is “exceptional” shoebox storage, with room enough for shoes to stand side-by-side (with both a toe and a heel facing you for a true look at your shoes) and comes equipped with a magnetic closure and a clear slot for a 4×6 photo – or a window to your shoes. The best of the best, in other words.
Another favorite new item of Brooke’s? The Handbag Storage Bin. After seeing the success of their magazine files, the team asked, “What if we made that same product deeper, wider and larger, to store sweaters or handbags?”
So this well-loved product
was reconfigured and imagined into this new, sure-to-be embraced product:
Great things to know about The Container Store whether you are a seasoned organizer or a novice to the concept: if you have a problem, simply ask an employee. Remember they get 280 hours of training a year to help you save time and save space. Saving time and space defines the products offered here. Try to bring measurements of the space needing attention, as this helps them help you.
Brooke made me aware of a couple of other services offered that I did not know about:
- CLICK & PICKUP shopping: shop online, but pick it up at the store. (Hello, brilliant…)For more details, click here. And, yes, the Mall at Green Hills store will have shopping carts!
- A gift registry was just launched and is perfect for engaged couples or parents-to-be. With recommendations throughout the registry on everything from how many hangers you will need to how to organize a drawer, today’s brides and parents-to-be have a great resource for gifts and advice. For details, click here.
Before I would let Brooke hang up (she is the senior buyer, after all, and I was going to pick her brain as long as I could!), I asked her for two great tips for holiday organization. She had two that I didn’t expect and I completely agree with:
1) Guest Room: With out-of town guests coming, stay in your guest room one night and realize what it needs. A beautiful assortment of hangers is nice touch. Make your guest room as comfortable as a hotel, with little things like a luggage rack and extra toiletries, and even homier with a hamper and a jewelry tree. But, stay one night and use the bathroom and you will notice what’s missing. More tips for your guest room can be found here.
2) Holiday baking: gather up all your supplies in a tote, cart or box. This becomes your “holiday bag.” This saves all the time of pulling ingredients and supplies and putting them back each time you have time to bake. Think measuring cups, teaspoons, baking sheets, oil, flour, spices – all of it! With all this saved time, you might actually get through that list of homemade goodies. Think about all the time we waste gathering, gathering and gathering! For more holiday tips to keep you sane, click here.
We are so looking forward to more tips throughout the year and we’ll be sure to start including ideas on organizing into StyleBlueprint with some regularity.
For further inspiration, be sure to check out The Container Store this weekend, opening November 5th. With 10% of the proceeds going to The Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation, the good cheer will keep spreading.
If you haven’t had enough of your StyleBlueprint fix today, check out Heidi in SB Louisville. She must have been reading my mind when it came to wondering what is up with all the facial hair on men lately… read here.