I’m optimistic that we are going to be able to travel again soon and one of the issues I have when I pack is that I will often forget something at home or forget how I paired the outfit. I try to take pictures on my phone so when I get to my destination I’ll know what I planned to wear, but that doesn’t help with the forgetting pieces at home.
Enter The Hanger Valet. As soon as I saw The Valet I thought it was genius. The Hanger Valet is a clothes and outfit organizer that keeps everything-clothes, jewelry, undergarments-together in one spot, making getting dressed that much quicker and easier. The adult size Valet features four clear zippered pockets for small items like accessories and jewelry. The large back cloth zippered pocket is ideal for discreetly storing undergarments and intimates. I actually put my undergarments in one of the front pockets and put a pair of shoes in the back pocket. The child size has two front pockets with zippers and one large pocket in the back.
I had the opportunity to speak with Erin, the founder and creator of The Hanger Valet and why she created this product is a story that will resonate with a lot of us! She also shared some great advice on getting started with your own business.
How did you come up with the idea for The Hanger Valet?
The Hanger Valet was born out of necessity to keep my kids on schedule with minimal fighting and negotiating in the morning. At the time I had a kindergartener and a preschooler that needed to be at school within 15 minutes of each other. In addition, I was returning to work as a consultant. Every minute of the morning counted. I started planning my kids’ outfits ahead using a hanging shoe tree. Inevitably they would come downstairs wearing Wednesday’s shirt with Friday’s bottoms. And it would be a huge fight to get them to go change.
Once I started hanging their outfits up, they were able to keep the outfit straight. But I still needed a space for the accessories and socks. After searching for what I needed and not finding it, I created it.
It seems silly but it took me a few months to realize how helpful picking outfits out ahead for myself was. After I started doing it too, the mornings were so much more streamlined and provided so much more headspace.
How long did it take from the idea stage to the final product?
It took longer than I expected due in large part to me working to self fund the concept from prototype to manufacturing.
I got the idea in late 2014, enrolled in a program to learn about the cut and sew industry in 2015, went through more than 10 prototypes and then received patent-pending status in early 2020. And then of course launched at the beginning of a pandemic. Not great timing but you would be surprised at how many people crave organization and a sense of control during a time that feels very out of control.
Has it helped keep your kids/family organized?
I might be partial, but honestly The Hanger Valet has been a life saver. The days and weeks where we don’t all plan outfits ahead are the days and weeks where it feels like we are chasing the day rather than owning it.
Having the outfit ready and waiting for you not only means one less decision in the morning, but it also helps with laundry and shopping strategically for items you need and will wear.
It’s also a game changer for travel. This summer we stayed at a lake house for a weekend. Since I am the absolute worst at living out of the suitcase, I brought the HV along. It made unpacking a snap and everything stayed neat, tidy and organized leaving more time for relaxing and fun.
Where is The Hanger Valet made?
The Hanger Valet is made in the United States, right here in Cleveland, Ohio, by women-owned and operated manufacturers. Supporting female businesses is a priority to me (along with responsibly recycling our scrap fabric).
Where can I purchase The Hanger Valet?
The Hanger Valet is sold on the site, thehangervalet.com
Do you have plans to expand your products?
I do! We are working on a shoe bag now to make it even easier to coordinate an outfit at home or away. We are also making some zipper and closure adaptations to the original so it can function for memory care patients, people with special needs and people with arthritis or other physical challenges.
What is it like starting a business during a pandemic?
There is never a perfect time to start a business. Sometimes you just have to leap and grow your wings on the way down. I launched in April and by November The Hanger Valet was featured as a Clever Item in Real Simple magazine. The feedback on how helpful it is for people warms my heart. It is not an exaggeration when I say that this journey has been wild and I could not be more grateful to each and every customer that chose to be an early adopter of this product.
What advice you would lend to someone interested in creating a product or do something in the cut and sew industry?
First, never be afraid to make a call and ask a question (that includes a call to me). You don’t know unless you ask and the worst case scenario is you don’t get your question answered and you move along to the next person. Second, I would highly recommend enrolling in the Factory 45 class where you will get a front seat to learning all about the cut and sew industry. It’s a bit of an archaic world and it is beyond worth it to be able to understand what to do and what not to do.
Aside from loving this product, it makes me so happy that Erin is supporting female owned and operated businesses. As a former teacher of students with special needs, and just as a caring human, I also love that she is creating product for individuals with special needs and physical challenges! When I see someone thinking about the needs of others in their business it makes me want to support them even more!
Hopefully you know that I am a very honest person and wouldn’t share or recommend anything I didn’t believe in. While The Hanger Valet was gifted to me, I was the one who reached out to Erin as I though it was such a great idea. It’s very well made and so lightweight, which is important for travel. If you use it at home for your kids it will give them such a sense of independence and make your mornings so much sweeter. However you use The Hanger Valet, it will absolutely change your life for the better!
From today through February 14th, 2021, use the code NOTBORED for 5% off your first order!