Whether you’re a closet company owner/operator or a designer/salesperson who works for a closet company, learning more about design is a challenge.
If you happen to be part of a larger team, there’s always the option of learning from each other. As new projects flow through, you’re able to ask questions about how others have handled this scenario. It’s a valuable way to be resourceful and get “hands on” learning to level up your skill set (so if you’re lucky enough to be in this position, stop hanging out in your own world and be friendlier with your co-workers).
But what if you’re not part of a larger team? What if it’s you and a spouse/partner? What if everyone has multiple additional job responsibilities and little time for teaching you design? How do you get A) any training or B) more advanced training?
Here are my suggestions:
You can search “The Google.” That will take you down all kinds of rabbit holes. Most provide some benefit, but don’t follow industry standards for dimensions or space planning. And much comes from the perspective of “organizing” versus “designing.”
And the “designing” angles have historically come from the world of cabinet makers and architects, not closet designers.
If you venture over to YouTube, you can find a wide variety of videos showing anything from gorgeous, Hollywood closets to DIY installation and organization approaches. You can also find some fun “Closet Design Reviews” and interviews with Top Shelf Design Winners on my YouTube channel (youtube.com/DeniseButchko).
You can search Amazon. You’ll find a variety, with many focused on the DIY market and the installation process. You’ll also find copies of the two books on the topic that I’ve authored - “How to Design a Walk In Closet” (gumroad.com/l/dTHQ) and “The Consumer Guide To Closet Design” (gumroad.com/l/vhxv).
There are some guidelines about closets that you can access if you’re a member of the NKBA but keep in mind, the kitchen and bath industry works in 3-inch increment widths on their cabinetry. That’s very different than closet industry standards.
You can (and should) join the ACSP (Association of Closet and Storage Professionals). Membership here gives you access to hundreds of people who have been involved in the industry for years.
As a member, you can access the private LinkedIn group and research or ask questions there. And when (not if) you decide to go the annual conference, you’ll have the opportunity to leave with your own informal “team” of people you can call on for help because the networking is so awesome.
Seriously. I’ve been attending this conference since 2007, always searching out anyone who had a passion for design that was in attendance. And now I have a group of fellow closet designers all over the country (and even one in Australia!) who I can call if I have a design or sourcing question.
Regarding the ACSP, we’re working on offering more webinars that address design issues so we can support the efforts to have designers become either Registered, Certified or Master closet designers. All with the intention of elevating the level of this profession.
Another networking/learning opportunity is with the NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association). They have local chapter meetings across the country and you can attend as a guest. Get on the email list of your nearest chapter and see if any topics are of interest. As part of the NKBA’s Chapter Education program, I’ve preached the gospel of good closet design to many chapters across the country and had closet designers in attendance.
I draw a lot of design inspiration from kitchen designers and interior designers. Sometimes they hire me to do closets for their clients and sometimes I train them in design.
As I noted earlier, I offer training and consulting in a variety of forms. It dawned on me about 10 years ago that getting additional training in closet design if you were not part of a large organization was a real challenge.
That prompted me to create and offer “Closet Design 101,” an online and live coaching course that I’m honored to say many closet designers from independent cabinet and closet companies have taken (butchkoandcompany.lpages.co/new-closet-design-101/). This course, as well as the others listed on my website, count towards points needed for ACSP certification.
So keep an eye tuned to the ACSP’s next activities and upcoming webinars to see if we’ve got some closet design related topics.
And if you’d like a copy of my favorite “must have” closet design tips - you can get it for free by clicking here: butchkoandcompany.lpages.co/5-closet-design-tips/
You can download via email and following that you’ll receive different insights and videos about different closet design projects that I hope will be helpful as you continue to grow your closet design expertise.
Also, take a moment to share what design challenges you need solved so this industry can grow a stronger voice and professionalism.