Kay Morrison-Top Female Achiever

Owner, The Occasional Wife

MARYLOU UTTERMOHLEN

On the first anniversary of the day Hurricane Katrina sloshed through New Orleans and damaged her Fontainebleau home, Kay Morrison found herself depressed and exhausted from years of climbing the corporate ladder in the nation’s hotel industry. The self-described “totally driven, focused corporate woman” quit her job and started her own business. Called The Occasional Wife, it helps people get done what they don’t have the time or skill to do themselves. Morrison’s staff of 25 contracted employees stands ready to organize customers’ homes and offices. “I have a whole moving section of the company that is headed by the Occasional Husband,” she says.

“We’ll pack people, move them, unpack them and then organize ever drawer, every closet. We’ll hang every picture. We’ll place every knick-knack.

We do it in something like 24 hours. We don’t skip a beat.” The hourly rates? $40 an hour for an occasional wife, $25 for a worker bee assistant for the occasional wife and $25 to $40 for occasional husbands based on the job they’re doing. The Occasional Wife, headquartered at 4306 Magazine St., also offers monthly seminars that teach people how to keep themselves organized. For kids, there’s a summer class that teaches etiquette and things like how to sew on a button and boil an egg. Morrison, 45, says the idea for the business originated when her husband joked a few years ago that what their busy family needed was an occasional wife, an extra pair of hands. After Hurricane Katrina, Morrison decided to make the idea a reality. “I started this business because I needed a lifestyle change,” she says. “I wanted to be home with my kids but I wanted to contribute to the financial stability of my family.” And Morrison struck out on her own because she wanted to be a part of the city’s entrepreneurial as it came back from Katrina.

She says her business has also “given other women, and men, an opportunity to have a career and have a better work-life balance” by working flexible schedules. Meanwhile, Morrison is at work choosing partners to help her expand The Occasional Wife beyond New Orleans. It is now up and running on the Northshore, in Baton Rouge and in Austin, Texas. “It’s my goal to build a national brand and for my headquarters to be in New Orleans,” she says.


Mentor: My mother – she was the true Occasional Wife and did it with a great deal of patience, kindness and flair.

Defining Moment: The day after the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina – when I realized I didn’t want to miss another important day in my children’s life and that a work-life balance was so much more important than an expensive car and purse.

Advice for Young Women: That at any age and at any point in your life or career you can make a change.

Goals: We have one goal: To create a national brand headquartered in New Orleans as the organizational company that offers a full line of organizational products in our retail stores as well as providing services to assist with organizing your home, office, projects or events that help create a better work-life balance for our customers, and at the same time creating career opportunities for woman who would like a better work-life balance but still able to contribute to the family income.

Favorite Things About What I Do: Everything – I love to organize and help people realize their goals, and at the same time I love building a business from the ground up, but most of all I love being able to be home with my family.
 

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