August 9, 2023

Designing Happiness: How YouCopia Transformed Our Homes and Hearts

An Inspiring Journey of Innovation and Impact, from the Garage to Global Success.

Discover the charm of an organized, serene, and joyful home with YouCopia, a company that takes decluttering to a new level. Born out of the belief that homes should not strive for perfection, but for happiness and comfort, YouCopia crafts practical, innovative, and long-lasting organization solutions that aim to give every household that 'woo hoo' feeling.

Their journey began in a garage, with a simple yet effective organizer for herbs and spices, known as the SpiceStack. It quickly gained traction among consumers and marked the starting point of YouCopia's transformation into a company that now boasts a range of nearly 100 unique home organization products.

At the heart of YouCopia is Lauren Greenwood, the co-founder and president, who propels the company's mission to enhance people's lives by bringing organization and joy into their homes. Today, YouCopia isn't just a brand - it's a vibrant community that’s passionate about introducing calm into the whirlwind of daily life with quick wins that make living at home easier.

In this article, we explore the YouCopia journey, its core beliefs, its evolution, and how it continuously reshapes the home organization industry with its creative, user-friendly, and high-quality products.

Lauren Greenwood, Co-founder and President of YouCopia


Lauren Greenwood: Hi Chris, it's great to connect with you. How are you today?

Chris Choi: Hello Lauren, it's nice to meet you too. I'm doing well, thank you. I'm really looking forward to our conversation. Are you ready to dive into some questions I've prepared for you?

Lauren Greenwood: Absolutely, Chris. Let's do this!

Chris Choi: Perfect. Let's kick things off by getting to know you a bit better. Can you share a little about yourself, YouCopia, and what ignited that spark to get started? And how has your entrepreneurial journey changed over time? 

Lauren Greenwood: Sure. I'm Lauren Greenwood, the president and co-founder of YouCopia. Our mission at YouCopia is to enhance people's lives by offering practical, fun, and simple-to-set-up organizers to declutter their homes. Back in 2009, I teamed up with my father, an industrial designer, to sell a spice bottle organizer known as the Spice Stack. The success of this product inspired us to launch YouCopia and broaden our product line to continue helping consumers tidy up their kitchens. 

Today, we offer nearly 100 unique products, have a team of over 20 people in Chicago, and manage everything - from product design and development to sales, marketing, finance, and operations - under one roof. We've expanded beyond my initial expectations, and I attribute part of this to growing up in a family of entrepreneurs. I took the leap without overanalyzing: you have an idea and you create a business around it. I started young, so the risks were minimal. 14 years later, we’re still going strong. 

Chris Choi: That's really inspiring, Lauren. I'm curious though, when you first launched, what was your approach to marketing your products and how did you attract your initial customers? How has your marketing strategy evolved since then? 

Lauren Greenwood: YouCopia didn't start as a digitally native brand. Given my father and business partner Mark's history in traditional retail, our initial approach to selling and marketing products was conventional. We engaged sales reps, attended trade shows, and that's how our first retailer, Bed Bath and Beyond discovered us. 

However, we later recognized the power of ecommerce and social media. We began selling through a third-party seller on Amazon around 2015 and invested considerably in our ecommerce business and marketing capabilities over subsequent years. By the time the COVID pandemic hit in 2020, we were well-equipped to handle, and benefit from, the surge in ecommerce sales. YouCopia today is a far cry from what it was its first ten years. We transitioned from a traditional selling approach to a more digitally-native mindset, which has been a game-changer for us. 

Chris Choi: That's really insightful. So now, would you say your primary focus is on ecommerce, operating via platforms like Amazon, Shopify, and the like?

 Lauren Greenwood: A significant portion of our sales now come from ecommerce. We also partner with some retailers like Target and The Container Store, but their own ecommerce sites have grown increasingly important. Our digital sales penetration in an omnichannel environment is quite high as we prioritize driving those sales through the retail site. 

Chris Choi: Got it. Given your shift towards online advertising, what's proven to be your most effective channel over the past five years? 

Lauren Greenwood: Amazon has undoubtedly been our most effective channel, particularly during the pandemic. We also utilize social advertising and Google, but they don't yield as high of a return as we see on Amazon. However, as the market evolves and becomes more competitive, we might need to reassess our strategies. 

Chris Choi: It totally makes sense. Can you shed some light on your sales when you shifted focus towards ecommerce? Did you notice an immediate spike, or was it more of a gradual increase over time? 

Lauren Greenwood: It was more of a consistent increase. Building those capabilities and ramping up investments over time leads to more sales, more reviews, better rankings, and improved advertising conversion. It's a self-reinforcing cycle. However, we did experience a dramatic surge during the pandemic. 

Chris Choi: That's fascinating. And when it comes to the products, considering you have almost 100 of them, did your father design all of them? And do you manufacture all these products in-house? 

Lauren Greenwood: Yes, my father Mark has been involved with the design and development of every product that YouCopia sells. We have other designers and a robust team who contribute substantially, but Mark's passion for product design is one of our advantages. We don't outsource from other countries; we only sell products that we design and develop ourselves. This ensures a certain level of quality and consistency across products, and it helps us deliver added features and benefits beyond standard market commodities. 

Our goal is to make consumers feel that someone considered their needs and designed something special for them when they purchase a YouCopia organizer. 

Chris Choi: Your commitment really shines through. I mean, anyone who visits the YouCopia website can see that it has its own unique style - it's really clean and stands out from the crowd. I can tell you've put a lot of work into creating your brand. But with so many competitors out there on the web, how are you planning to keep up this distinctiveness?

Lauren Greenwood: Well, competition is definitely fiercer than ever, but that only makes us more motivated to improve and innovate. Our brand differentiation comes from our products and our customer-centric philosophy. We are committed to offering solutions that are practical, aesthetically pleasing, and unique to the consumer's needs. The products we design are easy to set up and use. They help people declutter and organize their homes in a way that is both satisfying and fun.

In terms of our marketing and branding, we try to convey these values through our visual branding, our messaging, and our interactions with customers. It's really about creating a brand experience that is as delightful and satisfying as the products themselves.

We also value feedback from our customers and try to incorporate it into our design process. We want our customers to feel heard and valued. This helps us build a loyal customer base and encourages word-of-mouth recommendations, which is a powerful marketing tool.

Chris Choi: That's truly customer-centric and a testament to the success you've achieved. As a successful woman entrepreneur in the business, do you have any advice you'd like to share with other women who aspire to start their own business?

Lauren Greenwood: Absolutely. I would say, first and foremost, believe in your idea and your ability to make it a reality. Don't let fear of failure stop you from pursuing your passion. Failure is a part of the process, and it is through our failures that we learn and grow.

Second, surround yourself with a team of people who share your vision and can bring diverse skills and perspectives to the table. Building a business is not a solo endeavor. It requires collaboration, communication, and mutual respect among team members.

Finally, never stop learning and evolving. The business landscape is constantly changing and, as an entrepreneur, you need to be adaptable and open to change. Keep challenging yourself, stay curious, and don't be afraid to take risks.

Chris Choi: Those are truly valuable insights, Lauren. Thanks for sharing. And for our final question, where do you see YouCopia in the next five years? Any new exciting projects or initiatives you can share with us?

Lauren Greenwood: Well, our vision for YouCopia in the next five years is to continue growing and evolving. We are always seeking opportunities to improve our existing products and introduce new ones that meet our customers' changing needs.

In terms of new projects, while I can't reveal too much right now, I can tell you that we are working on some exciting projects that will take our commitment to home organization to the next level. I'm really excited about the future of YouCopia and can't wait to share what we have in store.

Chris Choi: Sounds exciting, and I'm sure your customers are eagerly looking forward to it too. Thanks so much for your time today, Lauren, and for sharing your inspiring journey with us.

Lauren Greenwood: My pleasure, Chris. Thanks for having me.

Key Takeaways

  1. Embrace Unconventional Beginnings: YouCopia's story serves as a reminder that impressive endeavors don't always need traditional starting points. No matter how humble the beginnings, dedication to your vision can yield remarkable results.

  1. Focus on a Niche and Excel: YouCopia's success lies in identifying a specific need—easy-to-use organization tools for home—and addressing it effectively. It demonstrates the power of understanding your target market's needs and providing unique, valuable solutions.

  1. Adapt and Evolve: The company's shift from conventional retail to e-commerce shows the importance of being open to change and ready to adapt business strategies to stay competitive in an evolving market.

  1. Quality and Uniqueness Matter: By designing and developing their own products, YouCopia ensures they deliver high-quality, functional, and unique items. This reinforces the idea that value and differentiation should always be prioritized over mass production.

  2. Drive Business with Purpose: YouCopia is a purpose-driven business aiming to make homes happy and comfortable. A clear mission can not only guide business decisions but also resonate deeply with customers, fostering a strong brand identity.

Stay Connected

We hope you enjoyed this deep dive into the story of YouCopia, a brand that puts a smile on your face while bringing order to your home. But the journey doesn't stop here. 

YouCopia is continuously innovating and designing new solutions to improve your life.

To stay updated on their latest offerings and get practical tips on organizing your home, make sure you follow YouCopia on social media. Engage with their posts, share your organizing success stories, and become part of the YouCopia community.

Follow YouCopia on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest today!

Stay organized and keep the joy flowing in your home. Let's continue the journey to happiness with YouCopia together.

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