Does this 'spark joy?': Marie Kondo's new store draws mixed reaction

Marie Kondo may have rocketed to international fame by showing people how to get rid of items that don't "spark joy" and de-clutter their homes — but now she has an online store selling a tuning fork and quartz crystal for $75 US and a cheese knife that'll set you back a cool $180 US.

In Toronto, some certified Kondo experts, referred to as "KonMari consultants," say it could seem like a contradiction — but they don't necessarily think it's a hypocritical move.

"I have mixed feelings only because I'm a minimalist," said Michele Delory, one of the consultants CBC News spoke to. 

"But I'm not hating on her business decision."

Seth Wenig/The Associated Press

"Many people have asked what I use in my everyday life. This online shop is a collection of my favourite things and items that spark joy," said Kondo in an online statement, noting people can still acquire "meaningful objects' after tidying.

"My tidying method isn't about getting rid of things — it's about heightening your sensitivity to what brings you joy." 

On her website, Kondo says the items were chosen for their "ability to enhance your daily rituals and inspire a joyful lifestyle."

But still, news of the store sparked online criticism, with some people saying Kondo's teachings are at odds with selling non-essential stuff, like indoor shoes for $206 US and dish soap that costs $9 US. 

Delory says she was surprised by the online store and she understands the criticisms.

But Marie Kondo is a "brand," she says, and her business is evolving and responding to fans.

The KonMari tidying method isn't actually about getting rid of things, Delory notes — it's about only keeping things that make you happy.

KonMari

The store doesn't align with her own values, but from a business perspective, it would have been silly for Kondo to not to start selling the items, said Ivanka Siolkowsky, the most highly-certified KonMari consultant in Canada. 

There are currently five such consultants in Toronto, all trained in Kondo's methods. They are certified to help tidy people's homes, but don't gain anything from promoting or selling KonMari products.

Siolkowsky is also a minimalist — she hasn't gone shopping in two years — and she won't be encouraging her clients to buy Kondo's wares.

But Marie Kondo's personal method was "never about minimalism," said Siolkowsky, and these products might "spark joy" for someone else.

Some excited to buy

KonMari consultant Anne Papaioanou, however, is excited to buy merchandise from Kondo's store. 

Elaine Fancy

"I truly believe that she uses the best quality for her items," said  Papaioanou. "And I value her opinions on things."

Papaioanou isn't a minimalist like some of her colleagues. But she doesn't impulsively shop anymore, and says she looks for quality over quantity. 

Submitted by Ivanka Siolkowsky

'A Kardashian world'

Kondo has "become a celebrity,"  Siolkowsky said, and people want to know what's in her home.

Siolkowsky says the high prices indicate a wealthier target market. 

"We live in a Kardashian world," said Siolkowsky, adding that's something she sees as a sad reality. If someone famous says something's worth buying, she said, people are going to buy it.

Submitted by Anne Papaioanou