We’ve all been there– that moment when winter abruptly changes to summer in the blink of an eye, and all of the sudden you’re feeling the woes of not having the right kind of clothes that you suddenly need.
Or that other moment when your closet is overflowing because you’re trying to store all of your clothes for every season, but you soon realize it’s starting to wear down on your emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing. In times like these, the struggle is all together real, and they usually lead to you throwing away tons of clothes, stuffing them under your bed, or wearing a flannel in 90 degree Texas weather because you can’t get to your summer blouses. This month’s Member Spotlight is on a member who’s as inventive and influential as they come, and his new brainchild, Clouset, was created to alleviate all your wardrobe woes.
Clouset is a mission-based company, and their mission is to simplify people’s lives in hopes to make them happier and, along the way, change the way they both transport and store their clothes. Clouset is currently a two-man show that’s run by serial entrepreneur and Common Desk member, Ryan Ball, and his better half / wife, Whitney.
Let's take a little tour of Ryan's Clouset. Shall we?
Minimizing wardrobes is really popular right now. Did Clouset kind of stem from that?
Clouset didn’t necessarily derive from minimalism, but it does work hand in hand with it, and I for one, am a big believer in minimalism.
There’s a study that’s been done where people were given both the choice between apples or oranges and the choice between apples, oranges, pears, bananas, and multiple other fruits. More people chose a piece of fruit when given two options than they did when they were given several. The moral of the study? We as humans get overwhelmed, and having too many options affects how we make decisions.
Studies also show that in many cases, having a minimized lifestyle makes a huge impact on your personal wellbeing. I’m a huge fan of minimalism, but I simultaneously love really cool things. However, every time I purchase something I really like, I’ve noticed that something else I like inadvertently gets pushed out of the picture, to the point where I don’t want to keep any of the things I now have. This is why I try to operate on a minimalistic level. But I know that minimalism isn’t for everyone, which is why Clouset kind of meets both types in a perfect place.
“Having too many options affects how we make decisions.”
Where did the idea for Clouset come from?
The original idea is kind of different than what the end product actually became. I was skiing in Tahoe, waiting in the line to get on the lift. I looked down at my outfit to see my gloves, helmet, mask, goggles, and of, course, my retro onesie from the 80s that, apart from skiing, I’ve only ever worn to a coffee shop because I thought it’d be funny (anyone who knows Ryan personally won’t surprised by this). So I realized that I have all of these things that I never get to wear that take up a ton of space, and I store them year round where I keep everything else. What if I only stored what I needed for each season? The idea immediately struck me as having some potential, and as I fleshed out the idea, adding an on-demand aspect soon followed.
So it’s an on-demand service. How exactly does it all work?
Our entire system runs off of our mobile-friendly website (we don’t have an app). Step one is to get on the site and check if our service is in your area; if it’s not, just shoot us an email and we’ll get your area added! Next, create your account and choose which package you want. As soon as you sign up, we get a notification on our end of the site that immediately tells us to start putting together a “drop pack,” which is all of the Clouset bags and packing info you’ll need to get started, and then we get that to your house or apartment as soon as possible.
The rest is pretty straight forward– once you’ve received your Clouset gear, it’s up to you to pack up the parts of your wardrobe that you’re wanting to store (disclaimer: they don’t take just anything that comes from your closet– only clothing items allowed!).
You can pack as much as will fit into your Clouset bag, which is designed so that no one besides you ever touches your personal belongings. Once you’re all packed up, head back to the site to say “ready for pickup!” You can leave specifications on where the Clouset folks can find your Clouset bag and what time of day you’d like the pickup to happen. After that, you’re done! Your clothes are stored in the Clouset, and all you have to do is say the word when you want them back. Clouset doesn’t have a time limit for how long they’ll store your things, meaning they will keep your clothes as long as you want them to (and as long as you’re paying)!
Clouset is a month-to-month flat rate subscription, and there are multiple different packages. You can take a look at their offerings here!
Do you take clothes donations?
We’re not a donations service, but if a subscription’s card fails multiple months in a row and the subscriber has failed to pay, we’ll donate the clothes rather than continuing to store them.
Clouset is in the early stages of business. Do you have a clear vision for who your ideal clients are, or will you let the market decide?
We’re going to let the market ultimately decide, but, starting out, we’re targeting people who are 18-35. We really think that Clouset will be a hit among college students, because A) student housing typically have very limited storage and B) moving your entire college wardrobe home for 3 months and then packing it all up again to go back is too home for a few weeks is too much of a hassle. Clouset can simplify those pains in big ways by giving students a secure place to keep their things over the summer– all they have to do on move-in day is click a button and their wardrobe will be delivered right back to their new dorm room or apartment.
Clouset’s also ideal for fashion bloggers and influencers who don’t have the space for the number of clothing items they regularly cycle through, for moms who need to store baby clothes in-between pregnancies, and then last but not least, people in multi-family units, because Clouset makes sense for anyone who just doesn’t have the closet space they wish they did.
Tell us a little about your personal background. Have you always been an entrepreneur at heart?
I was definitely born into the life of an entrepreneur. My dad is a developer and business owner; he’s got a bunch of different businesses and projects all over Louisiana. And then my mom’s dad was a huge entrepreneur in Cuba– he had casinos, hotels, and the biggest electrical engineering firm in the country. He left due to Castro taking over and ended up eventually partnering at a big electrical engineering firm. So yeah, being an entrepreneur and taking big business risks is definitely in my blood.
So, because of the family history, I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was a little kid. My early endeavors included a lemonade stand, lawn care business, and even owning a snow cone stand. I got my first loan from the bank to get into the Sno Ball business (as we call it in Louisiana), and I did that for three summers and even had a few partners in it until we exited. I went to college at SMU for mechanical engineering and mathematics. I didn’t really want to go into an engineering role– I wanted to do something more entrepreneurial. After that, I worked for a media distribution company, making everything from film to software; this exposure to software products is what really got my entrepreneurial wheels turning, and shortly after, I came up with my biggest entrepreneurial endeavor to date, “Mesh,” which is a social planning app that helps people coordinate travel plans. Now, I’ve added Clouset into the mix and do a little consulting work on the side.
How did you end up at Common Desk?
I had known about Common Desk for a while, since Nick first started it; we knew some of the same people from SMU. I had been to other spaces, but Common Desk was a no brainer. It’s always just fit my style.
What has the city of Dallas done to grow your ventures?
Once I got out of college at SMU, I realized that I was very much in a rut of doing the same things and seeing the same circles in Dallas, which almost pushed me to leave. But instead, I realized that a city can be a very different place depending on who you’re hanging out with and where you’re spending your time; so I changed things up, which really changed my perspective on Dallas. This also happened to be around the time that Dallas was really going through a big renaissance, with areas like Deep Ellum, Oak Cliff, and the Design District starting to emerge– these neighborhoods have kept a ton of cool people here. Now, there’s a large pool of talent in Dallas. Our community is still young, and I’d like to be a part of growing Dallas to become like Austin, San Francisco, and New York when it comes to entrepreneurship. There’s a lot of money in Dallas, we just need a better system for connecting the money-holders with the ideas. There’s a lot of potential here, it’s a good place to do business, it’s centrally located, and I’ve learned to like it a lot.
And last but not least, how can we get started using Clouset?!
Getting started is simple, just head over the website and start registering! Use the Coupon Code deathbeforedecaf for a first month free!