Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin have built an empire with some help from Reese Witherspoon — and Roy G. Biv

September 21, 2020 03:32 PM
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John Shearer/Netflix

Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin spend their days getting intimately acquainted with the contents of celebrities’ closets, refrigerators and junk drawers. Sometimes they stumble upon a rogue Grammy; other times, a kid’s baby teeth. But the Tennessee-based moms and founders of The Home Edit are unphased by it all.

“We’re like doctors. We’ve seen everything,” explains Teplin in this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now. Adds, Schearer, “With an underwear drawer, you know what’s coming. Where you always proceed with caution is the nightstand drawer...that has some stuff.”

The business partners and best friends have become the go-to home organizers for dozens of A-list clients. And this month, they brought their talents to a new Netflix series, Get Organized with the Home Edit, in which they conquer chaos for everyday families and stars like Reese Witherspoon, Eva Longoria, Khloe Kardashian and Neil Patrick Harris. (Witherspoon and another former client, Molly Sims, are executive producers.)

"It's wild. We'll never get over it. We'll never get over any of this, honestly," says Teplin.

Five years ago, however, their lives looked very different.

John Shearer/Netflix

Both had recently moved to Music City because of their husbands' jobs and were unemployed coming off a handful of career upsets. Teplin, 41, had launched and then shuttered several one-woman businesses, including a wedding invitation service and a greeting card company. Shearer, 38, had been turned down for her dream job at a home organization company. 

Then a friend who knew they both had a gift for creative categorizing introduced them. “I reached out to Joanna and was like, ‘This is fate. This is perfect.’ And Joanna was like, ‘No.’” Shearer recalls with a laugh. Teplin begrudgingly agreed to a lunch and everything changed.

“The minute that I met Clea, I was like oh, I get this. One hundred percent this will work, and we will be lifelong partners, and live in side-by-side houses when we retire,” Teplin deadpans. They talked for hours, creating a business plan, establishing each others’ strengths, and securing social media handles with their new company name in one day.

John Shearer

“Honestly, we never asked each other, ‘Do you want to do this?’ It was just like, ‘Okay, so we're doing it,’” says Shearer.

They knew their playful style (think rainbow-order bookcases and hand-drawn labels in Shearer’s loopy script) was perfect for Instagram and made a plan to get a handful of high-profile clients to let them organize their space and then share their work on Instagram.

Luckily, Teplin had an in: “Christina [Applegate]’s daughter and my daughter had gone to preschool together and we became good friends.” Through Christina, they met Selma Blair and their network of actors and influencers started to grow.

In her shoe closet, country star Jessie James Decker—who gave herself the nickname “Jessica Messica”—got the rainbow treatment, which they say makes putting things away intuitive.

They flew to L.A. and tackled six organization projects in seven days. “That definitely was the very first milestone. We were like, we're onto something,” recalls Teplin.

And their previous shortfalls only fed their determination. “In those early days, we were working ourselves to the bone," says Shearer. "We would just go like 12, 13 hours in a row. We were on fumes, but it was like we had to prove something to ourselves.” 

Teplin (left) and Shearer in the middle of cleaning out Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's twins' basement playroom.
Jenna Peffley/Netflix
Burtka, Harris and their daughter Harper, 9, show off the newly organized space.
Jenna Peffley/netflix

Social media played a huge role in their success — Shearer is the IG whiz, Teplin is banned from their account — and they now have 1.6 million followers, many celebs among them.

“Reese found us on Instagram and started watching our Stories,” explains Shearer. “I will never forget getting a call from [her production company] Hello Sunshine. I was driving to Target and had to pull over. I said, ‘I'm sorry. This can't be real. This is not happening. Reese Witherspoon doesn't know who we are.’"

Soon they were working with Mandy Moore, Dwyane Wade, Dan Levy and countless others. And Shearer admits, they did occasionally get star-struck: “There have been moments where it’s surreal. To be pulling up to Gwyneth Paltrow’s gate and be like ‘Hi, It’s Clea from the Home Edit’ and it opens. I’m like, ‘Are they letting us in?’”

Eva Longoria and her son Santiago in his closet, where a third hanging rod was added to display more of his tiny wardrobe.
Christopher Patey/netflix

Clients also appreciate their discretion. “You are dealing with people's very personal things: their bathroom products, their photos,” explains Teplin. “The fact that someone is letting us into their space is something that we do not take lightly. They need to trust us.”

Adds Shearer: “And it’s not just private things, it’s private moments. We get close to their kids. We're there sometimes during family dinner.” 

WATCH THIS: Molly Sims Shows Off How the Home Edit Organized her L.A. Family Retreat

The pair also pride themselves on keeping it real. Their projects may be pristine, but their lives are not.

The moms of two (Teplin has Miles, 9, and Marlowe, 6; Shearer has Stella, 9, and Sutton, 6) credit the “the best, most supportive, hands-on husbands in the world" for their ability to meet the demands of their business and joke that they run on caffeine and champagne. They sell a t-shirt on their website that reads "Surviving Not Thriving."

Teplin and Shearer with their kids, from left, Marlowe, 6, Miles, 9, Stella, 9, and Sutton, 6.

It’s this mentality that also sets them apart from Netflix’s other tidying guru, Marie Kondo. Where she promotes minimalism and mindful purging, “Joanna and I come in like bulls in a china shop with our bags and bins. I’m usually a sweaty mess,” jokes Shearer, who notes Kondo “absolutely paved the way” for them. 

Adds Teplin, “There are probably going to be a lot of people who watch our show and are nervous we're not going to finish, because we were nervous that we weren't going to finish!”

WATCH THIS: See the Trailer for Get Organized with the Home Edit on Netflix

The show is just the latest addition to a rapidly expanding empire that also includes two books (the second, The Home Edit Life, is out Sept. 15), a collaboration with The Container Store, and a forthcoming line of cleaning products.

“The whole five years has been like, this isn't my life, no. We don’t want to take anything for granted.” says Shearer."

And they have no plans to slow down, says Teplin: “Both of us are the same in that way: Foot on the gas and press all the way down.” 

Get Organized with the Home Edit is now streaming on Netflix.