We’ve all seen them, and we all know what happens when we see them. We float into a semi-dream state, with our subconscious calling out: “Yes! Yes! I want one of those!”
What exactly are we seeing?
We’re focused on a full-page, color picture of the closet of our dreams. It’s filled with adjustable shelves, rows of perfectly displayed shoes, racks of hanging blouses, enough drawers to house every sweater ever owned, along with charming compartments for lingerie. A beautiful chandelier hangs from the ceiling, and a few silver-framed photos provide a finishing touch.
Okay. You’re right. They’re not all that opulent, and they’re not all closets. There are also home offices, pantries, laundry rooms, garages, and more. Sometimes, when it comes to closets, it may be a reach-in rather than a walk-in large enough for a king-size bed! The bottom line is: You may order as many bells and whistles as you desire, but the ultimate objective is always, always organization geared to making life easier and more enjoyable.
Jay and Lisa Hemby own the Closets by Design/DFW franchise in Addison, purchasing it slightly more than two years ago.
“My college degree is in industrial engineering,” Jay said. “And I spent 25 years as a business consultant with an eye toward organization and productivity. Lisa has managed many home remodeling projects. We decided we wanted a business of our own — one to complement our skillset, to help people improve their lives, and one that had a local footprint.”
Jay and Lisa began looking. They found several businesses for sale, including Closets by Design.
“It was owned by the same couple for 19 years,” Jay said. “It had a strong client base and an excellent reputation. The service territory was the entire Dallas-Fort Worth area, which meant we had plenty of room to grow.”
And grow they did! They doubled their business in less than 24 months, with 30 designers on staff and 15 trucks. New customers comprise about 85% of the business, along with a strong repeat percentage.
“Many of our customers will move to new homes, but they can’t live without that custom-designed closet, office, garage, pantry, or laundry room once they’ve had it. Many new home buyers today ask us to work with them during the build stage, making these spaces an integral part of the home’s floor plan. Looking ahead like this provides tremendous value for eventual resale,” Jay said.
There are, of course, other companies offering closet design, but Closets by Design is the only one in DFW to have consistently operated its full-line production facility for over 20 years.
“We have a completely outfitted shop where all custom components are made on-site,” Jay stated. “All of our projects are custom. Nothing is put together out of a box, and we can respond quickly to our customers because we do so much on-site.”
Jay continued, “There are many things you don’t realize about a niche business like this one until you’re a part of it. For example, needs vary and lives change from one season to the next. We may design storage for a nursery, but those needs change when a 6-year-old becomes a teenager. Apparel for a 6-year-old will have different space requirements than that for a high school junior! That’s where our expert design consultation and product adjustability come into play.”
He added, “Our sales and design staff are one and the same. A designer goes to the home and discusses the customer’s needs, including an inventory of what will be used and/or stored in the space. The design is drawn and reviewed with the customer in the home. He/she then selects the components and the configurations that allow the customer to complete their dream space.”Jay currently has 80 employees and needs more in every sector – designers, installers, and manufacturing workers. All key employees from the previous owners remained on board, which provided a solid foundation for the transition.
COVID-19 slowed the business for several weeks, but there was never a complete shut-down since it was considered part of the construction industry. “During the pandemic, with people refraining from dining out, traveling, and other leisure activities, much attention was alternatively focused on home remodeling,” Jay said. “Home offices became critical, and many people plan to continue working from home.”
More than 75% of US homeowners completed at least one home improvement project since the pandemic began.
“My greatest rewards come when people tell me how these projects, from small to large, change their lives,” Jay revealed. “Those changes come because the new organization removes a mental burden they didn’t even know they had. Lisa and I enjoy organizing people’s lives, one closet at a time!”
972.361.0010 | www.ClosetsByDesign.com | 4125 Billy Mitchell Dr., Ste. 100A • Addison, TX 75001
photography by What’s That Guy’s Name? | PHOTOGRAPHY BY GUY T