Count the appearances of the word "home" in a description of the life
of Pam Socolow, who lives in Mount Kisco with her husband, Brian, an
attorney in a Manhattan law firm, and their two children, Kevin, 10,
and Katie, 7. Pam is an at-home mom with a successful home-based
business, Family Facts (www.family-facts.com),
that sells a multipurpose home-life organizational tool. And to top it
off, she's just finished supervising a home construction project,
nearly doubling the size of the suburban home where all this takes
Pam's product, Family Life Organizer, is a three-ring
binder divided into tabbed sections for Calendar, Contacts, Kids, The
Good Life, Home and Auto, Healthcare, and Finance. Accessories include
pocket folders, business card holders, and printed forms to keep track
of medical information, auto maintenance, school and camp notes,
activities, babysitters, restaurants, and more. It is, says Pam, "a
resource center for the whole family. It replaces the messy bulletin
board and the cluttered refrigerator door."
One thing it
doesn't replace is the personal organizer. "It's not a day planner, not
an address book," she explains. "It's big; it stays at home. And
everyone can access it."
The Organizer was born out of an
innate ability to create order, and of personal need during a period
when Pam, whose professional background is in media planning, was
struggling to balance parenting and a part-time job. "It started with a
form to plan our family's meals and shopping lists."
began noticing that friends relied on her for information. "They knew I
kept good track of things," she says, "so they'd call me with
questions. And then it hit me: I could make an organizer to help other
people. And I've never looked back!"
That was in late 2003. Since
then, Family Facts has become a profitable business. The Family Life
Organizer has garnered national attention, starting in 2004 when Real Simple
magazine named it Product of the Month, and most recently winning
iParenting Media's 2006 Excellent Products Award. Pam is currently
featured in two of HGTV's Mission: Organization shows. The
company has shipped over 5,000 Organizers, which debuted at $44 and now
cost $19.95 each, to customers across the country. It has been sold in
Barnes & Noble since August.
As for Family Life's
headquarters, where else would they be but in Pam's home? Last year she
moved her office from a guestroom to a larger space in the basement,
where stacks of refill pages and pads line floor-to-ceiling shelves,
the walls are adorned with family photos, and a colorful tapestry
behind her desk aptly (though ungrammatically) declares, "Everyone
needs their own spot." "UPS comes every day," says Pam.
the benefits of working at home, she notes, is that she has been able
to oversee a construction project that has been ongoing since May and
is now nearly complete. The Socolows bought their house, a
four-bedroom, center-hall colonial, in 1997, immediately after it was
built. Their renovation, which took place along the rear of the lower
level, involved gutting and expanding the kitchen, extending the
adjacent family room, and adding a mudroom, pantry, and laundry room.
lived here for almost 10 years, so we knew what we wanted to change,"
says Pam. And she couldn't be happier with the results. "This is my
vision," she says, her arms sweeping from the double-hung windows that
take in a forest beyond the lawn, to the newly installed side door from
which she can watch her children play. "I have an emotional attachment
to my kitchen," she adds, gesturing toward its carefully chosen
cabinets, countertops, appliances, and color. Of course, all the
details of the work have been recorded in the Home and Auto section of
the Socolows' Family Life Organizer.
In their new kitchen is a
small alcove with a granite countertop specially designed for that
Organizer, a nook where family members can go to add information or
retrieve what they need to know. And from what Pam says, it'll be a
busy corner. "The kids bring me notes from school and say, 'Keep it in
the Organizer,'" she says. "Brian is very organized; he wasn't an easy
convert. But one day he e-mailed me something and told me, 'Print this
out and put it in the Organizer.' With that, I knew he was on board
family organizer, $25
PROBLEM: You have important contact numbers taped to
the refrigerator (on a sheet where you also scribbled
a pizza order), and your famili's vaccination records
live in an accordion folder in the basement... somewhere.
SOLUTION: The Family
Life Organizer is a fully equipped binder: It has tabbed
sections with ready-made forms for your family's school,
health, home, and auto information. Plus there's a
phone list for important contacts—like, um, Domino's.