The quest to spend her days doing something that she was passionate about and providing a service to her community, led Shiran Symonds – mother of two – to create and found her own business. The Oasis Co. provides space improvement and professional organising services for homes and offices, with a focus on your wellbeing and a regard for your personal taste.
Shiran has lived and worked in four countries in the last 8 years and now calls the Inner West home. Here, Shiran tells us about why and how she started The Oasis Co. and how you can benefit by using her services.
Tell us a little about yourself
I’m a professional organiser and interior decorator and I’m on a mission to create beautiful spaces that generate a sigh of relief.
I have always loved organising everything around me: events, calendars, spaces, holidays…I’m all about the small details that make a huge difference!
It took me a while to realise that not everyone took to organisation as naturally, or loved it as much as me! My love of organisation, coupled with experience as both an events and project manager led me to create The Oasis Co.
What did you do prior to starting your own business?
Most of my experience has been in the not for profit sector, where I worked as an events and project manager. This experience helped me to gain valuable skills such as keeping to a budget and making the best use of any given resource. Try to imagine creating decorations for a fancy event using close to no budget!
I am now utilising these skills for my client’s benefit as well – when buying storage aids I plan it carefully to minimise unnecessary waste and when planning the layout of a space prior to execution, I always take into account what the customer already possesses at home – any jars or boxes we can recycle? Any furniture we can repurpose? etc.
I also recently completed my MBA after taking some time out after the birth of my youngest daughter.
What inspired you to start The Oasis Co?
For years, I envied those people who knew what they wanted to do when they grew up. A doctor, a dancer, a pilot. I was always a generalist, and never had a good answer to this question. It was only a year ago that I suddenly had my ‘a-ha’ moment, which allowed me to embark on a new journey as a business owner doing what I do best – organising.
I was having dinner with a close friend, and we talked about the fact that it is so rare and incredibly lucky to get to do what you love every day and call it ‘work’. I remember thinking to myself: ‘shouldn’t we all be blessed enough to spend our days doing what we’re passionate about while delivering a service to our community?’. That conversation planted the first seeds to what later became The Oasis Co.
As a mum to two little girls under the age of 5, I know how hard it is to build a career, further your studies, look after family members, run errands, and manage a household. I realised I can help busy parents regain their time (and sanity!) and create an environment where it’s a pleasure to be. An Oasis to come home to…
Please tell us about how someone would engage your services and take us through the steps that follow.
The first thing I do when someone enquires about my services is to schedule a quick chat on the phone to better understand the project in hand, to learn about the family and the living situation. I then explain what is included in my services and answer any questions that they may have. The purpose of this conversation, is to set expectations with the potential customer, so that they feel comfortable with the process and I learn how I can best tackle the task for them.
The second stage is a quick home visit, where I can visually see the space, the amount of items we need to deal with, take measurements and start planning and researching best storage solutions in line with the agreed budget.
The final stage is the hands-on organisation day – where I declutter, sort, organise, decorate and transform a space!
Describe the benefits your services bring to someone’s home/work space and their life?
The process of decluttering and creating an inviting environment has far more benefits than simply creating more space and clearing out the mess. As a result of a clutter-free home, we actually know what it is that we own and are able to find those lost items. We have more time to just sit and rest, or indulge in a hobby, we’re excited to invite friends over, we are more relaxed etc. A chain reaction that I’ve noticed in my customers, is that it inspires them to organise other parts of their homes and maintain the order, and it gives them a sense of gratefulness towards the things that they decided to keep.
What are your 3 top tips for busy parents on keeping the house organised?
1. All you need is less
The first tip, and the most obvious one, is to simply own less. Letting go of things might be a hard process and not everything old, broken or forgotten needs to be donated or binned. However, with careful selection of the items you keep, it will be easier to maintain your home, and eventually simplify your life. At the end of a busy day, we all want to come back to an environment where it is easy to function and fun to interact.
2. A place for everything and everything in its place
Mess is an important part of life. Building a fort out of cushions, blankets and toys with your kids on a Sunday afternoon, baking home-made pizza for dinner and letting your toddler help spread the tomato sauce, creating a beautiful card for grandmother’s birthday using paint and glitter (oh yes, I went there…). Mess is not the enemy. We need to have fun and it’s not always neat. The key is to know how to quickly and easily get things back to the way they started. When you know where to put things, and what item belongs in which drawer, box or shelf, it’s easier to quickly organise any mess!
The third tip is to put systems in place that will maintain the order over the long-term, and will encourage other family members (even the little ones) to participate in organising. My four-year-old daughter now hangs her bath towel on her designated hook that I placed behind her bedroom door at her height. The hook has to be pink and sparkly of course, and she won’t necessarily think to do it on her own but it’s only a matter of habit, and whenever I ask her to put away her towel she knows where it goes and she can do it herself. Placing a hook at her height involves her in the system, and she can take part in the mission to organise the house.
Which areas of the house are the most difficult to keep organised?
The garage, it’s a curse! You have the space to store, so you keep stuff, just in case. Only to eventually run out of space and find it hard to let go of things and declutter. Did you notice it’s much harder to let go of things we own than to not have it in the first place?
Also kid’s bedrooms. We want them to organise and pack up after themselves, but we forget to provide them with the right system or storage solution. Organising is a skill, not a trait – and anyone can do it with a little bit of guidance.
Having lived in four different countries, what do you love about living in Australia and the Inner West?
Australia has the full package. Good people, great weather, natural beauty, endless opportunities.
Sydney’s Inner West, specifically, with its multi-cultural community, is full of character and colour, there’s never a dull moment. Countless cafes and little eateries, op-shops and antique shops, markets and parks…it really doesn’t get better than that!
Favourite places in the Inner West?
Too many to mention, but the jewel of the crown in my eyes will always be Newtown. We used to live on the south end of King Street – years before we had kids – and my favorite activities were just walking up and down the street, buying fancy pastries on the weekend, lazing around in Sydney Park, watching a movie at the local Dendy, spending hours browsing books and cards in funky gift shops…
I still visit all my favourite spots, only now we watch Frozen 2 in the cinema, we cycle or scooter at the park, we buy chocolate chip cookies (or anything with a unicorn on), and we spend 5 minutes at gift shops and more than half an hour in Chemist Warehouse!
Visit The Oasis Co website, to find out more about the services provided.