A year after moving into your apartment, your wall art is still sitting in packaging on the floor and boxes are languishing in the hall closet.
"Unpacking sucks," in the words of Lauren Bush, one half of a married couple that wants to charge New Yorkers money to sort through their boxed belongings and set up their new home.
"What if you could leave for work the next day and come home and everything would be unpacked? It really could be that easy. That’s where the idea was born," said Bush's husband John-Morgan, co-founder of Unpackd.
The idea for that pilot business came to the Bushes — who have no familiar or political connections to the former presidential family — at a black-and-white themed party they hosted in their new Manhattan apartment in July. The occasion: their 30th birthdays and their return to New York City, after moving to Boston in 2014.
John-Morgan and Lauren Bush (Credit: The Bushes)
"All of our friends kept remarking on how quickly we had set up our new apartment and how lovely it was," said Lauren Bush, whose one-bedroom in the Sugar Hill district of Hamilton Heights was fully decorated within two weeks of moving in. "And I was totally joking and said, 'Well, I’m going to start a business where I come into your house, I unpack your boxes and style your stuff while you’re at work during the day — and nobody laughed."
The Bushes had always had entrepreneurial ambitions, John-Morgan said, but they didn't expect to be selling home-styling services.
Market research suggested they create for themselves a niche between the city's professional organizers and interior designers, arranging at ostensibly affordable prices the items New Yorkers already own with an emphasis on aesthetics, rather than order.
"We’re not fancy-pants designers," said John-Morgan Bush, a classically trained French horn player and college professor. "We’re just real people who put your living space together quickly and affordably so you can enjoy your home."
"We think it’s a much needed service in the city, and we really hope that people love our style," said Lauren Bush, who has a background in politics and a bachelor's degree in art history. "Eclectic" is the word she used to describe that style.
The Bushes' bedroom
The high-school sweethearts plan to charge from $200 to $1000 for their curation services, depending on the size of a customer's space. For extra, clients can pay the Bushes to rustle up new art work for their home. They can also commission an original portrait of themselves or their pet by a nationally recognized portraitist who has painted the couple's dog Domino.
The Bushes had three inquiries about their service as of last Friday, John-Morgan said.
Unpackd is likeliest to appeal to anyone relocating to the city for a new job, but it remains to be seen if someone who can already afford to pay for home styling would choose them or opt to splurge on more expensive services.
The Bushes fledgling business won't be scheduling clients until they have finished filing paperwork with the state and formally established their company. They expect it to be up and running by next month if all goes according to plan.
”Lauren and I think everyone should know how fabulous you are when they walk through your door," John-Morgan Bush said.