Marie Kondo’s decluttering mission begins with Japanese culture

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Marie Kondo is a Japanese storage expert known for asking “does this item spark joy” when organizing homes. His first fan base was in person, based on his consulting business in Japan. Then, his audience expanded globally after his first book, The magic of life-changing storage, has been translated into 44 languages ​​and became a New York Times bestseller. Now her audience follows her online. She currently has 4 million Instagram Followers and two Netflix TV shows.

Kondo, 37, didn’t start his career online, but had to navigate a changing world. Her method of tidying up has since evolved into a lifestyle brand based on self-discovery and fulfillment by living in a home with only objects that bring joy. Fans can even become certified tidying consultants by taking classes in the KonMari Method, Kondo’s organization system. His craft as a ranger transforms frantic purging into a mastered craft, one meant to bring harmony not just to a house, but to its inhabitants as well.

Kondo emailed the Observer’s Rachyl Jones about building her brand and translating to social media.

Where did you learn the art of decluttering?

I was very close to my grandmother from an early age. Her thoughtful and considerate way of tidying up and taking care of her home inspired me to cherish what I own and to live with intention and care. As a teenager, I started researching organization, reading every book I could find on the subject, and really immersing myself in the world of decluttering. I then started my consulting business as a university student and that’s when I perfected my storage craft.

Could you tell me how the KonMari Method is influenced by Japanese culture and ideals?

When I was younger, Shinto shrines became a very important influence on my life and the development of the KonMari Method. I was visiting my nearby Shinto shrine so much that I decided to work there. There is a particular etiquette around driving in a Shinto. Many of these behaviors and rituals became ingrained in the KonMari method. For example, when you enter a Shinto shrine, you are entering a sacred space, so you should calm your mind, offer respect, and be prepared to enter the sacred area. I feel the same when entering a client’s home; home is a sacred space and practicing a thoughtful greeting when entering a home shows your respect and concern for the space in front of you.

You published a book in 2010, around the time Instagram was created. Which came first: the in-person or online fan base?

When I started my professional tidying career as a university student in Tokyo, I was just helping out my friends and family at home. It eventually started to take off so much that the waiting list of clients I had was going to last me six months of work. From there, I’d say the in-person fanbase came first. I published my first book in 2010 and it didn’t hit the US market until 2014.

How have you used social media to advance your career?

It’s an effective way to connect with my audience. This allows us to hear from followers, discover their inspirations, see what products they love, and learn what makes them feel connected to the KonMari brand and philosophy.

When the KonMari method started to become more popular, Instagram helped create a sense of community. It was a great way to keep my followers informed and connect on a more personal level. Instagram features like stories and in-app purchases also help make connections more impactful.

Could you describe the type of people in your target audience?

Our followers (who are mostly women) come to us from all over the world, but are united around a common love for storage. Their personal design and product preferences cover a wide range. Some lean on bright colors and can’t get enough organizing tools. Others prefer muted tones and a few accent pieces.

We often hear people associate the KonMari method with minimalism, but it’s actually quite different. I want people to embrace the bright colors they love, cherish the objects that make them happy, and commit to decluttering all aspects of their lives – all with the goal of living a more intentional, joyful life. . I think those who follow us really understand this concept.

What advice would you give to creators looking to take their brand to the next level, like writing a book or starring in their own TV show?

As a creator, it’s important to stay supportive and compassionate on your journey. When I started KonMari Media, our goal as a company was to organize the world by simply developing the most effective tools to help people choose joy and complete their tidying adventures. Today, that goal has evolved to help others choose joy. When your job is to pursue something you love, don’t give up, you never know what opportunities may come your way.

This interview was originally published in The Creators, a newsletter about the people who power the creator economy. Get it in your inbox before it goes live.

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