Leslie Raycraft is extremely organized. And entrepreneurial. The busy mom and trained pharmacist founded POSH (Personal Organization Solutions for the Home) in March 2016.
Leslie told Innovation Destination Hartford about her entrepreneurial journey and what it means to launch a startup.
“I was always entrepreneurial. I’ve always wanted to start my own business and I’ve always loved to organize,” she says.
“As a pharmacist, you have to be detailed-oriented and organized. I’ve organized in the pharmacy and at home. I do it everywhere and I love doing it, so why not make it a business?” she adds.
“I help clients declutter and organize their spaces, allowing an increase in productivity and efficiency in people’s lives. Offices, kitchens, pantries, bedrooms, basements, attics, sheds, craft rooms, photos, etc. When people get organized they not only save time, they save money,” she emphasizes.”
When the last pharmacy Leslie worked for got bought out, she thought to herself, “This is as good a time as any.”
In an effort to get involved with the community and start networking, Leslie searched online, found and joined The Breakfast Club, run by Melissa Bouchet. The local meetup group is designed for committed networkers who are each an expert in their own (respective) field.
“What’s great about The Breakfast Club is that it only includes one person from each industry—one real estate agent, one loan officer, etc.—so you’re not competing with anyone within the group,” she explains.
Leslie sees plenty of opportunity for collaboration—and she’s open to it as well. She’s been engaging with moving companies and people moving into assisted living-types of facilities.
She also began attending local open house viewings to meet real estate agents and talk to them about how her services can help get people’s homes prepared for sale through decluttering, organizing and even helping them pack.
WHAT MAKES THE STARTUP UNIQUE?
What really stands out about POSH is that it is unique to each person, notes Leslie. “With every scenario I go into, every person has a different need. I’m solving it like a puzzle, fitting pieces together and figuring out the best solution for each person,” she says.
She definitely has a passion for it—as evidenced by her organizational work in IDH Website Curator Nan Price’s home office. “She has the unique ability to handle the very personal aspect to it. Getting rid of clutter is a very personal thing, and I never felt judged or intimidated,” says Nan.
Leslie acknowledges that “People are always so embarrassed.” But she encourages her clients by telling them, “Everybody’s got clutter. I’m not there to judge, I’m just there to help—and it’s no big deal.”
She adds, “Having that outside person helps people look at it from a different perspective. I’ve always been told I make it easy for them to make a decision to move something forward or give it away. Sometimes it’s just about asking those prompting questions to make people really think about the item: Do I really need it, use it, love it?”
Leslie also does something really unique with kid’s artwork from school. “Anyone who has had a child go through the school system in the last 10 to 20 years knows how much art comes home,” she acknowledges. “No one wants to throw it out, so it goes into the attic or in the back of a closet.”
Leslie takes pictures of the artwork and then uses the pictures and pieces of the artwork to create a beautiful scrapbook for the client. “At that point, the guilt is relieved and the masses of artwork can be recycled!”
TAPPING INTO INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS
Leslie’s dedication to helping others also includes a commitment to giving back. She connected with Sara Salomons, Director of Development & Communications at Journey Home, a Hartford-based organization creating innovative solutions to end chronic homelessness in the community.
“When I’m helping someone organize, I’m always thinking of other ways things can be used, to repurpose it if possible. I don’t want to just throw things in the trash. Anyone can just throw something out. I want to find the next home for it,” she says.
“When I tell my clients about the impact they can make in the community by donating their items, they’re more apt to give up their stuff,” explains Leslie. People feel better knowing their possessions are going to help someone. Journey Home is a perfect solution.”
She recently spent five hours on a Sunday morning reorganizing the storage units for Journey Home along with a small group of dedicated volunteers, her three kids and husband included. Now everything has a dedicated place and is easy to find. The clients can walk in the unit and pick out what they need.
This is just the beginning for Leslie. Her one-year goal?
“I would love my phone to be ringing off the hook. I would love people to just keep referring me, word of mouth being the best form of advertising.” she says.
“I love working with people,” she adds. “Everyone has a story to tell. I feel that I learn as much from my clients as they do from me.”
Learn more about POSH (Personal Organization Solutions for the Home).
Find out more about entrepreneurial women participating in the Women’s Business Roundtable through the University of Hartford Entrepreneurial Center:
- Beth Bolton, Owner/Pastry Chef at A Little Something Bakery
- Jennifer Gaggion, Owner Design Your Monday!
- Latoya Gibbs, Owner of How Bazaar Fashion
- Marlene Kurban, Founder Kurban Consulting
- Naranchimeg Mijid, Founder of the Connecticut Center for Innovative Entrepreneurs
- Jennifer Moreau, Founder Moreau Designs