1-800-GOT-JUNK? CEO Built Business on Tidying Up, Long Before Marie Kondo

February 6, 2019

By Carlo Versano

Before there was KonMari, there was 1-800-GOT-JUNK?

Brian Scudamore started the junk removal service as a way to pay for college, using his pickup to haul people's unwanted and unloved things from their homes. Since then, he branched out into house painting (WOW 1 DAY PAINTING), moving (You Move Me), and home detailing (Shack Shine) ー a thriving home improvement business under the umbrella of his company, O2E Brands.

Scudamore, whose new book "WTF?! (Willing to Fail)" documents his struggles and successes as an entrepreneur, told Cheddar that it's especially important for business leaders to highlight the ways in which they've stumbled now that social media seems to add a patina of success and happiness to everything. Nobody seems to post photos showing themselves in the midst of making a mistake, the CEO said.

"I've had plenty of dark days," Scudamore said, including bouts of depression and anxiety attacks as he worked to get his business off the ground. "I did fail a lot in the early years."

He advised entrepreneurs toying with their big idea not to worry about catching lightning in a bottle. Instead, tweak, iterate, make it better. Scudamore thinks of his stable of brands as children, he said. Sometimes they stumble and as the parent, he has to pick them back up. And, just like a parent, he still makes mistakes, too.

Scudamore's main business of junk removal has been lifted by the popularity of Marie Kondo, her book and subsequent Netflix ($NFLX) show, in which she urges people to tidy their homes by asking themselves whether items "spark joy."

While the concept is trendy now, a similar mindset has been around for decades. The success of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? is indicative of a "keeping up with the Joneses" problem in our consumer culture, Scudamore said, where we keep buying and collecting without giving much thought as to what we already have.

Does that make Scudamore the original KonMari evangelist?

"Marie Kondo's got it figured out," he said.

For full interview click here.