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?
It's great to be here, talking about my favorite subject -- home staging. A little bit about us: We're a boutique home staging company located in Los Angeles, one of the most vibrant and diverse cities on the planet with an equally exciting real estate market. We formed our company in 2011, and we currently have four principal staff members. We strive to be unique and to bring our signature sensibility to every project.
Q. Everyone has a story about how they got started, what was the inspiration or the catalyst for you starting your business?
My daughter Rachel Moore and I began to delve into interior design right around the same time -- 2008. She was considering switching from computer graphic design to the more 3D tactile world of interiors. I was working as a marketing manager and developed a love of collecting and mixing vintage furniture and art in unique ways. Rachel enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), got her degree and I quit my day job. Together, we formed our fledgling company named after the street I still live on. A couple of years in, Rachel's husband Ernie Rodriguez, joined our team as general manager. And just this year, we added new staffer Jocelyn Roman (also a FIDM grad) as our staging associate.
Q. What services do you offer? And why did you choose to offer those particular services?
We offer full staging for vacant homes in and around Los Angeles. Our clients are real estate agents, homeowners, house flippers and developers. We chose to specialize in full vacant staging because we feel it's important for the entire home to be coherent and feel fully designed as potential buyers walk from room to room. While we used to offer occupied staging (and still do occasionally for VIP clients), we want buyers to have an immersive experience. This helps them emotionally connect with the home they want to purchase -- and to envision their life there.
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've done a lot of model home staging for developers over the years -- and these projects certainly have their challenges. It's not uncommon to arrive with a truck loaded with staging inventory only to have to wait for 45 minutes while concrete is poured on the front walkway and steps. Large planks of wood have to be used to create a bridge over the fresh concrete in order to roll furniture dollies into the unit. Yeah, that was fun! (Ha-ha). Sometimes we encounter a client with very specific requests, like very large artwork to lean against a wall. A recent client had just such a request. Nothing in our inventory at the time was big enough, so we reached out to a staging colleague and we were able to rent a couple of pieces that were perfect. This is why maintaining professional and personal relationships within our industry is so important. You never know when you may need to call on your staging colleagues!
Q. Running a business is not always easy. What have you learned about yourself and your business, since launching your company?
Oh, man, I used to lie awake at night and worry about everything -- finances, payroll, inventory, you name it. One thing I've learned is that you have to outsource the necessary tasks that you truly don't enjoy doing. We hired ADP to handle payroll, we have a bookkeeper, a tax accountant and an employment lawyer we can consult with whenever necessary. Governmental regulations for small businesses are relentless and you have to have your ducks in a row. If anyone is out there feeling overwhelmed by these nagging issues, I say outsource them as soon as possible. Oh, and we're finally implementing the StageForce inventory management system, after having procrastinated (we were too busy to do it! Yeah, right) for years.
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?
We once staged a home for a young man who had inherited his grandmother's condo unit after her death. He was concerned about the sale and expressed his anxieties about staging, selling and realizing the maximum profit for his family. He was able to get the unit sold quickly and for an excellent price thanks to staging and a great real estate agent. Once he wrapped up his inheritance duties, he told us that his grandmother "would have loved to see" how we transformed her home. It's moments like this that make it all worthwhile.
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?
Wow, that's a tough one. I could probably go on for hours, but I don't really believe in regrets. I often think about how (and whether) we would do things differently if we could go back in time. We would've implemented StageForce sooner, for sure. We would've worried less and had more fun. We wouldn't have stressed out so much during seasonally slow periods and trusted that business will pick back up. That's pretty much it. As for all those small "mistakes" we made along the way, that's just called learning.
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?
Our staging company is unique in our market in that we have three home staging specialists on staff who have the years of experience and training to stage a home all by themselves. Two of these designers have degrees in interior design and one is self-taught. We approach every home we stage with a fresh eye and a firm grasp on what buyers want now. That means we follow (and sometimes set!) trends in color, form and style. We also have a robust inventory of unique decorative pieces that we've been collecting for a decade. Flea markets and vintage stores have yielded a rich variety of interesting objects and art we'd never part with -- and that help define our style.
Q. What is one fact about you or your business that most people might not know?
We're a female-owned family business made up of Los Angeles residents who know all the cities and neighborhoods that make up our diverse community like the backs of our hands. We stage homes to appeal to the most likely buyer demographic for that area, price point and home type. While we have a signature look, we also know how to mix it up to emphasize a home's architectural features and best qualities.
Q. Where do you see your business going in the next 5 or 10 years?
While I don't have a crystal ball, and the real estate market is tough to predict, I think home staging is here to stay in LA. We are a very image-conscious town (this is the home of Hollywood, after all!). And the future of home staging will bring it even closer to interior design. We're already seeing that happening -- as staging is quickly becoming fast on-demand interior design. The Postmodern trend is sweeping over home staging at the same rapid rate as in other design-related fields. I can't wait to see where this trend will take us in 5-10 years!
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!
You're welcome! And thank you for the opportunity!