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?
I started back in 2006, when nobody knew what Home Staging was. I spent all year educating realtors and homeowners about what it was. Now that Home Staging is a household term, I differentiate myself from the others, and educate them on the importance of Accreditation, as Home Staging Industry is not a regulated industry.
Q. Everyone has a story about how they got started, what was the inspiration or the catalyst for you starting your business?
I told my husband, "I was told that I'd be great at home staging... there's a company out West that started it all, I'd like to train with StagedHomes." We decided to wait til our daughter was a little bit older. It was a God thing,... a few months later, my husband ended up working w/Barb Schwartz! After working and getting to know her better, he summoned the courage to tell her that I was really wanting to take a course, to which she replied, "send her out here, and I'll train her myself!"
Q. What services do you offer? And why did you choose to offer those particular services?
In this market, you really have to diversify services. Introducing Design Services right after the Pandemic, was what not only saved my business, but help it thrive like never before! I'm sure as we are heading toward a tougher real estate market, home staging will be in even more demand. And luxury services, such as design, may shrink. It is important to keep up with what's going on in the real estate sector, as well as the economy.
We do stagings, full service design and consultations. We even started a furniture rental business, in the middle of a pandemic, because the need was so desperate. Now it is two distinct different companies. I use the staging furniture business for all my vacant stagings, and it has revolutionized the way I do stagings. I literally get to be the HGTV designer that points and wave my hand, and I've got a company that delivers and installs it with a white glove service.
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?
We had a challenging situation. The client was upside down on his house. He was depending on selling his home to get any money out, but in the meantime, his house was in deplorable conditions. His family left to the West Coast without him, so he could sell the house. He was in poor health, and did not have the funds to do what needed to be done in order to sell for top dollars.
I did a consultation telling him everything that needed to be done, including remodeling his kitchen, which included knocking down a wall. Of course, he couldn't pay for it but I could tell he really believed in my vision, and was convinced that that was the only way he could come out on the other end. We went back and forth, and I was very empathetic to his condition, so much so, I decided to invest and fund the project. I never have done that before. Business is business, and I did make a percentage for the loan in order for us to do all this, and the ending was beautiful. He sold for top dollars, got his money back from the house (and then some), we got paid at closing, realtor was extremely happy, and most importantly, he could move out West to be reunited with his wife and daughter.
Q. Running a business is not always easy. What have you learned about yourself and your business, since launching your company?
I have learned that we think businesses are a reflection of who we are, therefore, we sacrifice everything for it losing ourselves in the process. It is TOUGH to get a healthy work/family balance having your own company. We went through growing pains as a company, as a family. Since then, I put God first, Family Second, and then business. Being a mom entrepreneur, I try to make sure I wake up extra for myself in the am, try to knock out everything in my day and wrap up for evening time. I let it slip last year as it was a very busy year, but that's my New Years resolution.
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 had a client who has had me design for her many times. The last time was for her son. I am not hip, so I don't know what a 14 year old is into, but he educated me on what's in and what he wanted. This was years ago before colored programmable lights were popular. I created a moulding for him so it wouldn't look too bachelor and modern like, mixed in with some basic PB bedding and wood furniture, and it is one of my favorite projects. The best is that his mom videotaped him jumping up and down yelling how much he loves it.
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?
When you are too busy to sleep or eat, get help. It is hard to ask for help because you think you are going to catch up, "one wkend" or "one night" but it turns into a lifestyle. When you are missing out on everyday things, you need to determine where you need help and outsource it or hire someone to do it.
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?
We love what we do and everyone in our team embodies that and are easy to work with. I used to be at a point in my own company where my one employee made it so miserable to come to the office, I wanted to quit. I found out my clients were treated in the same light, and they didn't like calling on my company in case they'd have to deal with her.
Now my criteria for hiring is, (assuming their talent and skillset is top notch), do I like being w/this person? Are they easy to get along with?
Q. What is one fact about you or your business that most people might not know?
I was selected as one of the MyKirklands, National Designer. I won that award along w/other designers from all over the country. We had fun, going to their headquarters in TN and did a few design workshops and PR stints.
Q. Where do you see your business going in the next 5 or 10 years?
I see the business being a well oiled machine with teams and systems in place, and braced for scaling up. I always dreamed of franchising, but now, I think I would like to just grow it.
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?
They can go to my website to see all that I do. I hate to admit it, I have not regularly kept up with the photos - it is on my list for next year to be more consistent with that.
Q. Thank you so much for sharing your story with IASHP Articles!
Thank you for taking the time with me.