Decluttering is a huge trend today, as people across the country are taking to their closets, garages and living spaces to pare down and simplify their lives. For Lucy Milligan Wahl ('10), this activity has always been a passion, and her time at UCLA Anderson turned out to be the launchpad for her professional organizing career.
“I believe so strongly in Anderson, and how the school's unique combination of academic rigor, entrepreneurial exploration and collaboration among like-minded people prepares students for the rest of their lives”
Before enrolling in business school, Wahl worked in fundraising and the performing arts. She planned to continue on that path but discovered other opportunities while pursuing her MBA. “I’d really never thought of myself as an entrepreneur,” Wahl said. “But when I looked around at my peers at Anderson, I thought, 'If they can do this, why can’t I?'”
Wahl brainstormed business ideas with friends and family, looking to find something she would excel at and continue to love. Organizing came up repeatedly, so in 2013, she launched LMW Edits, a home organizing company, in San Francisco.
Wahl’s mission is to help people live simpler, happier and less stressful lives through practical and creative home organization. The industry has received a lot press lately, fueled by the explosive popularity of Marie Kondo’s books and Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Wahl sees the movement as a reaction to societal pressures.
“The current spotlight on home organizing shows us just how much people are struggling with the demands of modern life,” Wahl said. “We are taking on so much more than people and families have before, and we have so little preparation for how to balance all the competing priorities in our lives.”
“I had a strong vision, but getting through the nitty-gritty of running a business day to day has been an eye-opening experience,” Wahl said. For now, she handles all aspects of the company herself, including bookkeeping, marketing, client management and, of course, the organizing service.
Wahl credits UCLA Anderson with preparing her for a career on her own, compelling her to challenge her preconceived notions about her career path. “I see my time at Anderson as a watershed moment,” she said. “I was forced to push my boundaries and try things I never had before, and get comfortable with both failure and success. Most of all, I value the relationships I took away.”
Wahl said it’s important to her to continue to have close ties to Anderson and support the school. “I believe so strongly in Anderson, and how the school's unique combination of academic rigor, entrepreneurial exploration and collaboration among like-minded people prepares students for the rest of their lives,” she said.
Wahl gives to the Anderson Fund, which supports faculty research and teaching and helps the school provide the best possible student experience. She’s also a member of the Dean’s Society, a leadership group of alumni and friends who support Anderson with their annual gifts.
“I came to Anderson seeking a community, and I found it," Wahl says. "So to me, it's only natural to want to give back.”