About Organized Living
Organized Living history goes back 95 years, when George Schulte and his brother John saw a need in the market for higher quality plumbing products. In 1919, George and John started producing top quality solid brass faucets and plumbing fixtures in their father’s garage in Cincinnati. They named the business The Schulte Brass Company.
By the mid-1930s, The Schulte Brass Company was recognized as an industry leader, and established themselves as experts in metal castings and copper, nickel, and chrome plating. By 1958 they outgrew their location and chose a nearby suburban location to build a new manufacturing facility.
In 1960, George Schulte’s son-in-law, Elmer Kokenge, took over as the second president of The Schulte Brass Company. The company’s reputation for quality manufacturing and innovation grew under Elmer’s leadership, as he developed many new plating and manufacturing methods, and drove product development with Schulte’s customers. As a “manufacturer’s manufacturer”, Schulte produced products for companies still around today, including Delta Faucet, Nutone, Schlage Lock, and the Whirlpool Corporation.
A New Era
The 1970s brought about a whole new era of metal finishing, with the introduction of epoxy powder coating. Soon Schulte was coating parts for most of the major faucet manufacturers of the time. In the 1980s, the company changed its name to SCHULTE and dropped the Brass to reflect its broader range of manufacturing capabilities. In 1976 SCHULTE launched its ventilated shelving line of products.
The storage and organization business continued to grow in the ‘80s. This new business resulted in the need to expand to another manufacturing facility in Bloomington, Indiana. SCHULTE continued its tradition of being a “manufacturer’s manufacturer” and produced powder coated metal parts for companies like Whirlpool and Delta Faucet. SCHULTE also manufactured products for storage and organization companies like the Elfa Corporation, sold through the Container Store, as well as product under the Organized Living brand.
The Next Chapter
In 1995, John Kokenge, son of Elmer Kokenge, and grandson of George Schulte, became the third president of SCHULTE. John began the next chapter in SCHULTE’s history by capturing the company’s long standing vision and values in comprehensive and concrete ways. John, together with the senior management team, set the core values, vision, and mission of the company. He believed the company’s growth dictated the need for a focused approach to instill these values –
- Do the Right Thing
- Act with Passion
- Build Winning Partnerships
- Think Long Term
- Learn, Grow, Change, Excel
In addition to formalizing the company’s values, the team instituted a vision statement -
We Help People Organize their Lives
This simple statement allowed the company’s historic and important vision of innovation and high quality to evolve into a higher ideal, and brought the customer’s needs to the forefront in every task throughout the entire company. They also created a mission statement –
To be the brand of choice for home storage and organization in the Single Family Residential and Commercial Residential Markets. We partner with select Independent Dealers and provide category leadership with exceptional Products, Programs and Support.
This mission statement was developed to dictate a path for growth and direction of daily decisions.
With the vision, mission and core values in place, the company focused on growth with development of new product lines, expanding current lines, and the strategic acquisition of the Tru-Space Company, which was a leader in the manufacturing of wood laminate storage and organization systems. Through this acquisition, the company not only obtained a great product line, but also gained first-rate, knowledgeable employees who became part of SCHULTE.
When continued growth once again dictated expansion, the company decided to consolidate all its US manufacturing into one large state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Bloomington, Indiana. The corporate headquarters, with sales and marketing, remained in Cincinnati, Ohio.
As the storage and organization market grew in popularity, the company acquired the brand name Organized Living. SCHULTE had manufactured products under the Organized Living brand for many years. The Organized Living brand had powerful familiarity with all involved in the Storage and Organization industry, and SCHULTE was thrilled to add it to their family of brands including freedomRail, Classica, Lifetime Ventilated, and Activity Organizers. Throughout this period, SCHULTE maintained its heritage of selling the highest quality products to quality minded dealers and distributors. Partnering with these independent dealers who understood storage and organization, rather then the big box retailers, was an important key to SCHULTE’s success.
By 2012, the company was selling many brand names through multiple markets including the builder market through its professionally installing builder dealers, retail dealers, hardware stores, home centers, specialty storage and organization stores, and online dealers. The company recognized the need to consolidate brands to focus on one master brand across all markets. When deliberating the renaming of the successful 95 year old business, John realized the new name should convey the company vision “we help people organize their lives,” and evoke a powerful connection for customers and consumers. The obvious choice was Organized Living.
In January of 2013 SCHULTE, a 94 year old company, adopted its leading brand Organized Living as its new corporate name. The legacy of quality and innovative products for the home that began in 1919 continues today as Organized Living.
Organizing Homes. Improving Life.