Proving that every cloud has a silver lining is 24-year-old Deng Mei, a young entrepreneur from China who is making the most of her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). She has managed to leverage the frustrating condition to her advantage, using it to set up a successful business that helps wealthy people organise their wardrobes.
Deng Mei recently made headlines in Chinese media for her job as a professional wardrobe organiser for wealthy clients in the city of Chengdu, China’s Sichuan Province. Although she credits her previous jobs as salesperson at a fashion boutique and as a nanny as inspiration for her unusual business, the young entrepreneur admits that her obsession with tidiness also helped a lot.
She first came up with the idea for the unique service towards the end of 2014, during a babysitting job. “I have a little bit of OCD,” she said. “I love cleaning my room. I can’t bear to see a mess. I was helping a client organizing her wardrobe out of my paid hours because I couldn’t stand it. Then my client said: ‘Why don’t you turn this into a business?’”
Deng Mei decided to take the suggestion seriously, and has managed to serve over 100 clients since early 2015, most of whom are now her regulars. Her clients are usually wealthy people who dislike organizing their own wardrobes, or simply don’t have the time to do it. “You can’t imagine how messy some of their rooms can get,” Deng Mei revealed. “I often can’t find room to stand.”
“Chinese people have the tendency of being impetuous,” she added. “All they think of is how to earn more money. They don’t seem to care what environment they live in.”
Deng Mei charges her clients 100 Yuan for every three feet of closet space cleaned. She’s able to finish most jobs within three hours, but the truly hopeless cases have taken her as long as nine hours to complete. Some wardrobes have been so bad that the owners don’t even allow her to take ‘before’ pictures for her records. “One of the most extreme cases I can think of was to help a rich client organize two walk-in wardrobes,” she recalled. “They were so bad I had to spend two days to complete the work.”
In the future, Deng Mei plans to expand her business to include a school of organisation, where she will teach people everything that she’s learned. “I don’t want people to come and learn wardrobe organizing so they can make it a business,” she said. “I want people to do that so they can understand how to better create a living environment for themselves.”