Today we’d like to introduce you to Shaniece Jones.
Shaniece, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I am a certified Virgo at heart so I love to tell people that this business was in me since I was a little girl. Just looking back at my childhood, I can recall lining up my Calgon scented sprays and lotions in a row and by height and color and at the beginning of the school year, organizing my binder with the different color dividers and folders. It was always important for me to have everything neat and organized. My mom never had to tell me to clean up my room, I couldn’t even leave for school without making sure my toiletries were lined up and properly put away and making sure my bed was made. At that age, I never knew that what I now consider a gift was a gift then. During class, when I would finish my work early, I was the kid that would want to alphabetize the VHS’s or organize the books. It wasn’t to be a “teacher’s pet” but it was truly because it would bother me. Fast forward many years and looking back, it was the common thread and gift that I brought with me in every environment I stepped into, from my first jobs at F.Y.E (music store, For Your Entertainment), Kids Footlocker, The Children’s Place, and Coach in which I worked simultaneously while in High School, I had a work-study period two days out of the week (but, that’s a story for another day) to College where I was a pre-med Biology student, and during my corporate career. It became clear that it could be a business while I was working at a hedge fund in Greenwich, CT, and was simultaneously interning for an ATL stylist and while working backstage during NY Fashion Week.
When I was a little girl, I was intrigued by fashion, maybe a bit obsessed with it, but I would take the bus to the mall to sit in Walden Books which is like a Barnes & Noble in Connecticut and I would flip through all the fashion magazines and just dream of working in fashion or being featured as a model in one of the magazines. I loved shopping and found a way to do it on the $20 my mom would give me to go to the mall – this money had to cover my bus fare, $1 menu McDonald’s/Cinnabon, and I would find a shirt deep in the sale racks and find a way to bring my mom a $5 gift card to Walden Books or FYE. I knew how to stretch $20! But back to when I realized that it could be a business when I was at the hedge fund, I had a friend at the hedge fund who was the only other African American there, that encouraged me to just take a chance and reach out to this stylist. It would be a job that I loved combining shopping and fashion. She literally believed that I had what it took and since we made a pretty nice salary at the hedge fund, I could use it to fuel my dream. I reached out to a Celebrity stylist in ATL who was styling all the hottest rappers and artists in ATL as well as just about all of the housewives. I was just asking if I could intern for her, doing market research and anything else that I could do while I was in Connecticut. Long story short after much persistence, she gave me a shot and told me that if I did well she would fly me out and bring me on jobs with her. I moved up the ranks quite quickly and within a month, I was using my vacation time and on a flight to my first editorial shoot. After a few of these opportunities, I text her one morning when I got into the office and said “man, I wish I could get fired and come work for you full time” I kid you not, in less than 60 minutes, I was pulled into a meeting and was let go because they were downsizing my department – investor relations and had just previously let go my direct boss who was the Head Of Investor Relations. I called her immediately and she was like “shut up, Shaniece! Well go cry and get it out, call me back, and let’s figure out the next steps.” The craziest thing is I wasn’t even sad. I was like wow, this is my first layoff ever! So within a month, I was packed up and was in ATL. I was her lead stylist assistant, managing the business side and prepping for jobs. Then she told me how she got her start after being laid off from Jeffrey’s and how to close the organization led to her first client. We had to go do this client’s closet and then another clients’ and at the time The Container Store’s Elfa system was hot and high in demand, so not only was I designing the closet but also organizing it. I fell in love with it, it was right up my alley, so she would eventually start sending me out to do these jobs. I told her then that I wanted to make a business out of this, but I procrastinated and only did the jobs that came through.
Fast forward a few more years and I am back in LA and have worked with different celebrity stylists, as a showroom manager for a startup, WHO YOU ARE, and still consistently working for West Brands for four years (Kanye West company) directly with his Creative Director & Stylist. Working 4 jobs in high school definitely gave me the tools to handle multiple jobs at once but it was during all these positions and having to be in some of the most immaculate closets, where I found my love for closet organization. So I started organizing clients’ closets just through word of mouth, no one knew that I really did it but business would come because someone else seen someone else’s space. It became my happy place and a safe place that I created for my clients. I officially started my business in the middle of the pandemic, it made sense for me to stop hiding in the background and actually come forth and start helping people since we were all home and actually had to face our clutter. It was the perfect time to gain and feel a sense of control when everything in the external environment felt out of control. The closet is where I get to connect with them, give them an opportunity to be transparent given some of their statuses’ it’s often hard to trust that it won’t make it to the media, and also give them an opportunity to gain control over what they may have not known is controlling them through the process of editing.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I wish I could answer this and say yes, but that would be a total lie! Many of the struggles that I had to face along the way was loss which ultimately turned into a great fear of mine. It held me back from stepping into this business as whole because of the limiting belief that if things were actually going great in my life that I would lose something, so I would delay and slow the pace of how I wanted to build the business.
In 2005 during college, my brother was murdered and then in 2007 my older sister suddenly passed a few days after watching me walk my first runway show at a hotel in Queens, NY. I developed debilitating anxiety and panic attacks followed with a deep depression. These didn’t go away right away and I refused to take anti-depressants that doctors tried to prescribed because I wanted to do things natural and I believed that God would pull me through. It was during my time in ATL, where anxiety and panic still had its hold on me, to the point that driving because the greatest fear but I had to work so I would have major anxiety when having to drive to location. However, it wasn’t until after many sessions with a hypnotherapist and doing a major closet job that I started to get back to myself. In hindsight, I began to see me bringing control in the closets of my clients helped me bring control and order into my internal environment, of course coupled with therapy. It sort of became my form of therapy.
The loss didn’t end there, while I was living in California, my mom experienced a stroke which completely shook my world, it was during the time that my friend and I were building our styling duo business. This brought back the anxiety and caused me to begin settling into whatever came my way in terms of jobs and not really pushing to create a business, so I sat on it again and procrastinated. It was an up and down journey with my mom that passed away four years after her stroke and it was when I got back to LA after her funeral, during an amazing gathering that my friends put together where we released balloons into the sky, that I called out my promise and how I would honor her and I remember saying that “I would not settle in love, in life, and I am going to make you proud. Get Rich or Die Trying” my mom had this thing she would say to me, of course, I want you to be closer but live your life Shaniece, and I made a decision that I would do just that. In the midst of all this, I was laid off twice. It was the second time that I vowed that I would never allow someone to pull the rug from up under me again like that and definitely not two times, so I got to work and begin providing a service to stylists as well as doing closet organization.
Losing my mom, who I wanted to become successful enough so she could stop working and have less stress, didn’t happen but became an eye-opener for me. It showed me that the more I sit with something instead of taking action, I will always be at ground zero dreaming and hoping instead of building. I watched my mom live check to check and worry about bills, develop high blood pressure and before she could even do the list of things I found in her bible, she passed.
We’ve been impressed with Shaniece & Company, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Shaniece & Company is a closet organization business on a mission to help people gain control of their clutter and ultimately of their life. I always say that after working with me you will never look at your closet the same. It is ultimately the space that keeps our secrets and holds the story to our lives. It’s the place where we go cry, pray, scream, and that holds the skeletons aka secrets, the things we don’t want people to see or know about us. The moment that I get into a closet, I can see what my client values the most and together we uncover the things or part of their lives they are holding on to but is no longer serving them or blocking them from the very thing they are hoping to receive. I have worked with very high profile individuals from celebrities to executives and what makes this important to know is that they trust me with this sacred space which means they trust me. I create an environment for them where they can just be themselves, with no judgment, and where they don’t have to worry about something reaching the media. I specialize in closet organization!
What sets me apart from the others organizers is that I have niched down to this specific category of the closet, not trying to organize your entire house because I believe that what we do in the closet will be a ripple effect to all these other areas. Also, I sometimes incorporate an element of visualization/hypnotherapy if they aren’t already meditating to help with the editing process which is often tough for many. I focus on the client first and then the space. I care about what they value the most and then just like an editor, I translate their values and vision into a well-merchandised space that will give them the benefits that all organizers promise which are the peace, calm, clarity but also control over the space and the system to keep that space maintained. When setting yourself apart from the other organizers, it’s really about who you are, your companies values because the rainbow method, kondo method, minimalism, and other methods aren’t new.
I am most proud of the fact that I am trusted in the most sacred spaces of my clients. I want people to know that with me you will get transparency, honesty, an environment of trust, quality, and most importantly you will have enjoy the process. I like to make it fun!
Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
Oh my, there are so many who deserve credit from a simple smile to pouring wisdom into me.
Theo Thomas Serafin – my friend from the hedge fund that pushed me to try out for Miss Connecticut, who encouraged me to get my certificate from F.I.T in NYC to encouraging me to reach out to the ATL Stylist
Shun Melson – The ATL Celebrity stylist that took a chance on a crazy girl from Connecticut. That trusted me to help her grow her business and trusted me with her celebrity clients which gave me the experience to do what I do now in excellence.
Lauren Messiah – Personal Stylist and friend, who gave me my first executive position as the Chief Operating Officer and also let me do her client’s closets. She is the friend who has always seen more in me than I have seen in myself. She is one of my greatest cheerleaders who wants me to truly be successful in life and in business. She is the friend that listens and then kicks my a** when I am sinking into bad habits like procrastination and getting unfocused.
My mother, Sandra Stephenson, who told me to live my life and to have no regrets. She was also my image of strength.
Renelou Padora – My boss at West Brands who opened doors to opportunities in the fashion industry as well as gave me a tough skin for the fashion industry. She became a friend and a mentor.
MAJOR. -my friend that I call my brother. He seen my gift and trusted that gift. He gave me my first solo styling opportunity with a recording artist and since that first time has become my brother, my family.
Harmony Samuels – my BFF and right next to Lauren Messiah has been cheering me to step into this gift. Believing in me reminding me that I have everything that I need to do it and do it on a big scale. Also, that he is right there next to me.
Sarah & Toure Roberts – for loving me, supporting me, covering me, teaching me wisdom and business.
Tracey Lomrantz Lester – My mentor that has truly become a friend.
Thank you all for trusting my gift and being a part of my circle of trusted counsel! To my family who has allowed me to be the different one, lol, it paid off, so grateful for you all especially for instilling in me how to make a heavy situation light and always to laugh, love, and serve.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.shaniecejones.com
- Instagram: @Shaniecemjones
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Declutter-Beyond-The-Closet-with-Shaniece-Jones-114386073754888
- Youtube: www.youtube.com/shaniecejones
Image Credit: The Carter’s Touch: Darius Carter (Brown) Other 2 in Black (will get name), Chris Byer