Fans of America’s most beloved organizers—Joanna Teplin and Clea Shearer, cofounders of the Home Edit—have the duo’s mutual friend, Leah Hasson, to thank for their partnership.
When Teplin and Shearer moved with their families to Nashville, where their husbands’ jobs are based—Teplin in 2013, Shearer in 2015—each had her sights set on starting an organizing business. Hasson suggested they meet each other. Teplin, however, was…not excited. A self-motivated entrepreneur, she wasn’t interested in teaming up with anyone. “Joanna’s motto in life is: no new friends—I have my family, friends, husband, kids, I’m good,” Shearer says of her business partner (who as followers of the Home Edit will attest, has since become as close to Teplin as a sister).
Shearer, meanwhile, was ecstatic at the idea of meeting Teplin and finding a potential business partner. “I’ve never met a stranger; I’ll talk to everyone,” Shearer says. “When I heard about Joanna, I was like, this is fate—this is 100 percent going to happen.”
After some cajoling, Teplin agreed to have lunch with Shearer. “Truly the minute I met her, I thought, This will totally work,” Teplin says. “Lucky Joanna, because seriously, good thing she was wrong!” Shearer adds, as both laugh.
That sort of light-hearted banter is just one of the reasons their company that ensued, the Nashville-based Home Edit, has become not only an international organizing sensation, but a social media sensation as well. Teplin and Shearer’s expansive client list includes Reese Witherspoon, Mandy Moore, Molly Sims, Dwayne Wade, the singer Jessie James Decker, and more celebrities, several of whom will be featured in their new series, Get Organized with The Home Edit, which premieres on Netflix with eight episodes on September 9.
When the two launched the Home Edit soon after that fateful lunch, neither woman envisioned the business spreading beyond Nashville. Five years later, following the publication of a best-selling book—The Home Edit—and another on the way September 15, The Home Edit Life; the development of a product line in partnership with the Container Store, as well as sales of original THE merchandise; a 2018 TV series entitled Master the Mess and now the Netflix show; and the hiring of teams in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., New York, Miami, and more (even amid a pandemic), their expansive growth still stuns both women.
“From day one, we homed in on doing things differently,” says Shearer, who along with Teplin also judged this year’s Garden & Gun Made in the South Awards. “We wanted to have our own distinct style and truly be the gold standard in organizing, but we were never like, ‘Let’s have locations all over.’ Truly, pie in the sky, not at all did we expect all of this to actually come together.”
Nor did they expect their fans to follow them as much for their personal lives as for their organizing advice. The Home Edit’s Instagram account has more than 1.7 million followers, with sections devoted to topics ranging from “organizers” to “Sutton,” Shearer’s seven-year-old son, whose antics she posted so often on Instagram’s stories feature—to the enthusiastic response of viewers—that he now has his own tab.
“Our Instagram stories are much more focused on our life,” Shearer says (each woman is married with two children, one daughter and one son). “We also recognize that some people only go to the feed, and some only watch stories. But we never anticipated anyone would care about our personalities.” Their personalities, though, are evident throughout their work, whether they are organizing Busy Phillips’s pantry using their plastic container and storage bin expertise, or arranging a family’s bookshelf from red to black, showcasing their love for rainbow coordination, or sitting in bathrobes on side-by-side twin beds in a hotel room, chatting with their Instagram followers: Shearer, an L.A. native, sipping champagne and offering her candid thoughts and sardonic, comedic wit; Teplin, a Chapel Hill, North Carolina, native, munching on bags of candy while laughing and returning Shearer’s banter.
When the pandemic halted their travel in mid-March, the duo paused their business entirely. By mid-June, they started organizing again, in Nashville and Los Angeles. The work and travel break allowed them to brainstorm the ways in which they wanted to grow their company, including expanding to the aforementioned cities (eleven total, nationwide) and introducing virtual services.
“We’ve never been paused for that long before,” Teplin says. “So [we took] the time to re-strategize how we do things, how we interact with the client, how employees can be socially distanced, all of the stuff that needed to go into it. And we had the bandwidth to do it—that was enormously helpful.”
Living relatively close to one another in Nashville helped. “Growing up in L.A., I don’t know that I would’ve had the confidence to try and create my own business in such a big, bustling place,” Shearer says. “Nashville gave us that confidence, because it’s such a welcoming environment. Everyone felt so supportive, and it seemed like a place we could really get our footing. We’ve stayed because we love it.”
When Shearer says “we,” it’s unclear whether she’s referring to her family, Joanna’s family, or her and Joanna. But all, in essence, are the same. Their kids have regular playdates, and the two couples always spend New Year’s Eve together. And the two readily admit that, when playing the newlywed game, they are more successful with each other as partners than with their respective spouses. The two even have plans to retire together one day—and live in a hotel together. All thanks to one fateful lunch date.