Layla May Ortega
Staging Design Doctor
June 28, 2023 at 6:01:52 PM
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Every business has a story. We want to share yours.
The International Association of Home Staging Professionals is proud to highlight business owners and companies in an around the business of Home Staging, Real Estate, Design, and Short-term Rental, though our IAHSP Articles Features.
Our goal is to highlight and explore the various business models and services that are offered throughout our ecosystem and community, giving both the public and our membership the ability to learn more about the businesses and services available through our vast network of service providers and businesses.
Let's dive right into our latest IAHSP Article.
Q. Thanks for taking the time to sit with us to share your story with our readers. Can you start out by sharing a little bit about you and your company?
Of course! Thank you so much for having me here today. I will begin with a quick background of myself.
As far as I can remember approximately 7yrs old I would be visiting my mothers best friend home and saying, “why are those chairs placed over there and why isn’t there a rug on the floor?” Now you might be thinking what 7 year old thinks like this? At an early age I saw space, color, patterns and light different…well you can blame my mom. She knew we couldn’t move every year or buy new stuff so the girl game began. She, my sister and I transformed every room by rearranging furniture, art work, lighting and sometimes my bedroom would be relocated to the other end of the house.
So my whole childhood was centered around creative, make believe world and it finally led to entering college studying interior design.
So how did I end up being a chiropractor? A major influencer, my interior design professor one day squashed my dream. He told the class we were entering a field that would not provide a livelihood and fear developed. Next semester I was enrolled in the sciences. My main passion is helping people and the healthcare field met that passion. But things changed in the field and my passion wasn’t being met.
I didn’t want to live with regret and wanted to show my high school son the importance of recognizing your passion and following it. So I delved deep to find how to help people in another way, use my creativity, be the kid rearranging furniture and transform living spaces like I transformed my life. That’s when Staging Design Doctor began.
Q. Everyone has a story about how they got started, what was the inspiration or the catalyst for you starting your business?
I began flipping homes and would buy the ugly ducklings and turn them into beautiful swans. I would buy the homes that no one wanted. My own son couldn’t at first understand it until he would see the final product and then would tell me he wanted to live in the “modern house”. I would stage every property and the houses were being sold with all the furnishings. I was meant to do this. I just went in a big circle but that’s ok. I learned so much, took courses, and had an amazing mentor.
I did Vacant Staging, Occupied Staging, Yacht Staging, Holiday Staging, faux arrangements, photography, and art work.
After doing all of that I decided to do consultations. So now I’am an Occupied Consultation Specialist. What is that? Well, I work with people who live in their homes.
Q. What services do you offer? And why did you choose to offer those particular services?
I specialize in Staging consultations for people who live in their homes. I realized a great need for it. Many people have lived in their homes for many years and don’t know were to begin.
I work differently than other stagers. I’m not here to make your house look pretty but more marketable. I look at each room and give you solutions on how to increase value. I give identity to spaces which in turn means more money in your pocket.
My consultations start outside to improve the curb appeal and work my way in. Trust me you will be overwhelmed by all the information but in the end I will give you my top priority list.
Clients will do the work but sometimes need the fine tuning for photos and that’s were I offer my next service Photo Prep.That’s were I come in with a team to get the house ready for the photographer and I also offer Redesign Consultations for my clients as well.
Q. Did you ever have a project or customer, where everything was going wrong or the project was challenging? Can you share about that time, and how did you find a solution, or over-come the challenge?
Oh yes! I was doing a Vacant Staging and an investor wanted to put his two cents in a room he had no idea what to do with. He mentioned how it was the one room he was clueless about but didn’t understand how I was going to make it work. I immediately saw what I can do with it so I told him let me do it and if you don’t like it I will take all of it out. I told him I will let you know when I’m done so you can come back. He couldn’t believe the transformation and told me “ Wow that is now my favorite room in the whole house”. I gave that room an identity which in turn brought up the value.
Q. Running a business is not always easy. What have you learned about yourself and your business, since launching your company?
It’s definitely not easy but definitely doable. I learned not to let fear stop me. I believe that everything I have done in my life has led me here. The dots finally connected.
Q. We've all had either an employee or a customer that makes what we are doing worth it all. Can you share with us a story about an employee, vendor or customer that really impacted you and touched your heart?
I was working with a high end client that didn’t like her home and wanted to sell it. At the time I was doing occupied Staging. It was a large home with good bones just needed help. I totally transformed her home that she decided not to sell. She was so excited that had her family come over and see her new place. Her mom hugged me and with a huge smile said “ my daughter and my grandkids finally have a beautiful home”. It was such a sweet moment for me. I felt so happy for them. Another happy client.
Q. If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice on how to manage or grow your business, what advice would you give yourself?
Learn as much as you can, education is key, mentorship is valuable. Meet other people in your trade, choose good content, and learn from each others experiences.
Q. If a potential client were reading this article right now, what would you tell them about you, your team or your business that would convince them to choose your company?
Hi, I’m a solopreneur when you call me, you get me. No one else! I will give you the best of me. My advice and recommendations to help you achieve your goal. It’s simple as that.
Q. What is one fact about you or your business that most people might not know?
This is my second year as the president of IAHSP for South Florida. I have a great team with me and I feel blessed to have them by my side. We are all leaders!
Q. Where do you see your business going in the next 5 or 10 years?
Doing consultations worldwide. Meeting new people, learning and teaching others about our industry through social media.
Q. It was so great sitting with you to learn more about you and your company. How can people find out more about you and your business?
Q. Thank you so much for sharing your story with IASHP Articles!
Thank you for having me. It was my pleasure.