Category Archives for "Become a Stager – Why this Industry is AWESOME!"

Advice on the home staging industry, home staging as a career and becoming a home stager

5 Reasons Why Interior Designers Should become Home Stagers

I love this video testimonial from Michelle Minch of Moving Mountain Designs who is also a RESA Stager of the Year and is killing it in the Los Angeles Area as a home stager! Michelle started out as an Interior Designer and took the HSR home staging certification training thinking she would add staging to her business...boy did she get more than she bargained for!

Here's 5 HUGE Reasons Why Every Interior Designer Should Be a Home Stager...

#1

Easy "Target Market" to Find and Market to...

Who is an Interior Designer's business target market?  New home owners and people considering a remodel or design project.  Are these people easy to find?  Not really. 

The Home Stager on the other hand has a target market of Real Estate Agents who are very easy to find online (and off) and very easy to target.

#2

A Target Market that Continually Feeds You New Business

Did I mention that having a handful of Real Estate Agents who use you on every listing they get means you are continually getting new business without having to lift a finger?

That's right, the HUGE business model benefit to working with agents is that this target market will actually do the marketing for you since they will need you multiple times.  The interior designer's target markets do not continually feed them new business.

#3

"First Crack" at the Designers Best Target Market

Every GREAT staging job should turn into a new move-in design job when positioned correctly!  The home stager has the best opportunity at connecting with the home seller who very soon will be a new home owner and want help remodeling their new space.

This is one of the biggest reasons the HSR Certification Training program goes over BOTH the staging and design business models.  This HUGE advantage is what makes us different from other training companies because we understand that beautiful staging leads to new design business and we want you to be able to handle all of it!

#4

An "Economy Proof" Business

Remember when no one was spending on "luxury items and services" during the down turn?  Guess what?  They were still spending on home staging because if they didn't professionally stage their home, it simply would not sell.

As the longest running, online staging and design training provider who has been through every economy I can safely tell you that staging is an "economy proof" business when positioned correctly.

#5

Less "Measuring" & More Fun!

Many of my HSR members have left the interior design industry and jumped in the home staging industry because they said it was just A LOT more fun! Design typically is a higher risk, higher capital, bigger stress profession that has a longer sales cycle whereas staging is an "in and out" profession where clients see huge results right away.

My X-Designer members tell me they like creatively working with what their client's have to make rooms beautiful rather than the tedium of completely redoing a client's space or measuring the exact cabinet size to fit a kitchen, etc....

There are many more benefits of adding staging to the Interior Design business model but those are just a few "biggies".

FREE Video on What it Takes to Be a Stager...

Could Home Staging" be a Career for You?


Don’t miss this..!!

  • 7 Key Questions to Ask Yourself
  • What the Cost is to Starting this Business
  • Do You Have the Personality for This Industry?
  • How You Know If You Have the Design Talent?

Every Interior Designer should consider adding home staging to their list of services and here are 5 GREAT reasons why designers should become home stagers…

Perfect Business for New Moms

business for new moms

Having just come back from speaking at the Real Estate Staging Convention I have so many, amazing stories to tell about the people who take a leap of faith, follow their design passion (and talent), take our HSR Certification training and are now loving life!  I have tons of photos to share too but I wanted to get this story out which showed home staging to be the perfect business for a new mom.

One such story, I had to share right away was Asha Thune Clarks of Haven Space Designs an Austin, TX based home stager.  I love her story because it shows how she created the perfect business for new moms and so represents what I hear daily from people wondering if they can do this.  One of the things I teach in my training right away is setting goals and “controlling” your business (not letting it control you).  Asha was a new mom when she started the HSR training three years ago and wanted a business that could work around her hours, allow her to contribute to the family finances and still make all the important events in her children’s lives.

Here’s her inspiring story and impressive before and after photos…

One of my very favorite childhood memories was walking into my bedroom and discovering that my mom had surprised me with a beautiful new bedspread. I can still feel the fabric and could pick that particular shade of pink out of a lineup any day. I could not have been more than four years old, but I vividly remember the beauty of my newly, lovingly designed room and how it made me feel: special, loved, and perfectly at peace (as much as a four-year-old recognizes peace).

Throughout the many years that followed, I looked at houses inside and out and loved how the built environment influenced the way I felt. My husband still finds my habit of asking him to slow down as we drive past warmly lit houses at night a bit creepy, but I just love how life happens inside a space that looks and feels beautiful.

When I was around ten, my mom started working for Any Baby Can, an amazing organization that helps families with children with special needs or chronic illnesses. I would tag along on many of her endeavors. One such trip brought us to a small house where we delivered Thanksgiving dinner. I will never forget driving up to the house and once inside, realizing that the dirt floors were not a temporary inconvenience during a remodel or construction; it was the way of life. My heart was changed so strongly that I found myself engaged in as much volunteer work during my high school years as I could find.

 When I was accepted into the UT School of Social Work, it seemed fitting; however, I had this nagging voice that wouldn’t let me ignore the dream of creating interior spaces that look and feel beautiful. After all, I was the girl who introduced herself to her would-be college roommate not by saying what my hobbies and interests were but by telling her that our dorm room would be decorated in purple and to please be sure she coordinated her bedding accordingly. Miraculously, she is still one of my most treasured friends.

I completed my graduate degree in Social Work and years went by. I found myself enjoying my career at a local non-profit for several years, but the feeling of “what if I could do what I really love” never went away. When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband encouraged me to take a leap of faith and make a change since we were about to embark on the biggest change of all. I wanted to be sure that whatever I did, I made it official; I started researching Professional Staging Certification programs. I found HSR and began the training.

I was a kid in a candy store going through the modules and learning more not just about how to stage and decorate but how to run my own business.

Before I even completed the training, I had my first client. I was in a total panic and made a couple frantic calls to Audra to get guidance on how to proceed as if I knew what I was doing. HSR gave me tools that helped me move confidently forward. I cannot believe that this journey started almost three years ago. My business has grown steadily, along with my family.

I specialize in Occupied Consultations and also work with design clients who want to improve their living spaces. I also now have a 10-month-old little boy. It is an amazing gift to live near my own mother who helps juggle – I mean watch- the little ones when I meet with clients. I get to plan my work around their needs and never have to miss out on special moments or events. As ridiculous as it sounds, I often find myself driving away from clients’ homes with a smile on my face.

I was recently asked the age-old “if you won the lottery, would you quit the next day” question. Without a doubt, my answer is “No!” I love what I do, I love the people I get to help, I love the realtors I work for who want the best for their clients, and I love that HSR helped turn my life-long daydream into my real-life job.

Here we are at the RESA Convention

What will your story look like?

Pursuing Your Passion in 2016

Pursuing Your Passion

I hear it all the time…”I need to just wait for XXX to happen and then I can pursue my dream of becoming a home stager.”  Sometimes waiting for the stars to align means things never happen for us.  Most of the time we let fear and self-doubt paralyze us from making decisions we know we would love to do.  Will you be finally pursuing your passion in staging for 2016?

Cori Smith of The Humble Abode was in this exact situation last year before she finally took the plunge by pursuing her passion and joined the Home Staging Resource training.

I recently asked her if she would have done anything differently now that she is living and breathing staging and she answered:

The only thing I would have done differently is doing it sooner.  I believe the biggest challenge starting a new business is courage and know how.  I needed a more solid business plan/model. HSR provided the guidance and direction I needed to be a Professional. 
 
So, don’t wait! If you have been rearranging furniture since you were 8, have a love of color and decor and your friends ask you all the time to help them with their house….Its time!!!

Cori graduated from the HSR training in April and hit the ground running with her business and passion!  When I interviewed her originally after she signed up, she told me these prophetic words:

My background in design and decor has always been a hobby and a passion.  Friends and family have been telling me for years to do something with my gift/talent…I am looking forward to making something that I have ALWAYS done into an official business!

I followed up with her a couple months ago and asked her how her business was doing and what advice she would give.  Here is her amazing story, wisdom and photos merely 6 months later…

1.  What was your background before starting a home staging business and how did it serve you well in this new endeavor?

My background was primarily in EMS. But, I have always been redesigning, remodeling and staging for friends and family.  I can’t remember a time when people didn’t tell me that I should design and decorate professionally. When I finally took it seriously I searched out Staging accreditation and chose HSR.  It is the best decision I could have made. HSR provided the bones for my business. The plan and direction.  There really is no way I could have done it with out HSR.

Now, thanks to the training that HSR~Audra Slinkey~ provides, my new business is gaining success every day!

2.  How “busy” are you today and why?  Do you have any real estate agent partnerships?

As of July, 2015 I average 1 to 2 consultations (redesign and/or occupied staging) a week, 1 redesign project every 2 weeks and at least 1 vacant staging per month. And my business is growing with a new partnership…the Charleston Dream Team. AND as I was completing a vacant staging project just yesterday, that client called Charleston Home & Design whom they work with frequently and told them to do a piece on my business.  None of this could have happened with out HSR!

3. Wow, that’s a steady stream of business already!  How have you marketed yourself?

Lets just be totally honest here….marketing is NOT my strong point.  I have quite a few friends and acquaintances that are realtor’s. That helped. My first vacant staging as The Humble Abode was basically a charity project (wanted to help a friend sell her vacant listing of 4 months and I knew I could do it!). I pilfered furniture, begged and borrowed and invested in my first acquisition of accessories. Promoted the talents of other friends who are Artisan’s and Craftsman by using their wares to fill the “Crooked House” a 1923 Charleston Single in Historic down town. It would have been easier to just deliver a yummy plate of “Pop By’s” to the nearest Realtor’s office.  The home received an offer with in two weeks of being staged….it wasn’t done up fancy or lux…just felt lived in.  That got folks talking about The Humble Abode.
Now, I use Thumbtack, Porch, Houzz and Face Book for most of my marketing. Mailers don’t seem to work and I haven’t had a great response to email marketing.  In my area it is who you know or who know’s you and refers you.
Get to know your Realtors. Establish relationships, make friends. In this day and age I am finding that people appreciate the face time and that you care about them and their clients.

4. Are you glad you decided to go into the home staging field?  Why or why not?

Yes!!! I was staging before I even knew there was such a thing and I have found my professional niche! I will most likely never do anything else.

5. Any words of wisdom for those just entering into the field?

I just have to THANK YOU again for HSR and the thorough extensive training you provide. I honestly could not have made my passion (or should I say fetish) into a business with out this amazing training!  I recommend that others trust the HSR training and learning process. Give yourself time, confidence comes with experience. Be honest with your clients.  Don’t be afraid to fail~that’s were we learn the most!

Thanks Cori for sharing!  I wish I could post every interview I get that looks very much like Cori’s.  If you have a gift in design, then do yourself a favor and pursue it!

I have never heard any of our HSR Members say they regret following their design passion and getting into the industry…Never!

Amazing Home Staging Before and After Photos

In the over ten years I’ve been doing home staging training, I NEVER get tired of seeing gorgeous, home staging before and after photos!  Successful staging is not “easy” or something you can learn in a book.  Amazing staging is an ART form born out of extreme expertise driven from a life time of a passion for interiors.  There is so much design talent in our HSR certified membership, I just had to share some of my recent favorites from our almost 10,000 photos in our Stagers Connect photo gallery…

Carolyn Rush of CR Interior Designs, a home staging company in Montgomery County takes a home with lots of character and works her staging magic:

BEFORE Staging

AFTER Staging

Look what Ginger Slemons of Elevating Spaces, a home stager in Salt Lake City did to this home!  It’s all about getting the buyer to stay in the home and eliminating those questions a buyer would have about a home that does not look “model ready”.  As you can see from these two home staging before-and-after photos PAINT makes all the difference!

And you all know what a pillow freak I am, so you can imagine how much I love the way this master bedroom home staging before and after is given some fun style with just a pillow…

Nichol Sandoval of DreamHome Staging in Hollister, CA staged this vacant home where before you mostly notice the bad valance and broken blinds.  Another critical reason to always staging a vacant space…look how the after staging makes this room look adorable!

 

 

 

Every tiny area of the home can benefit from a fresh perspective!  Laura McAllister of Laura Lorraine Designs, a staging company in Rancho Cucamonga, CA helped a friend redesign their entry table area.  Every area of the home, gives the interior stylist an opportunity to create style, function and a smile on the owner’s face!  I love how that tiny space now has big impact:

 

I’m buried in home selling success stories and wish I could share them all!  I also get to hear a ton of personal success stories especially from new members who just decided to take the plunge, follow their dreams and start a home staging and design business…

here’s a couple of my recent favorites that made me laugh out loud…

I am so excited about this business that I can barely sleep!  I dreamt about color  combinations all night. My boyfriend is looking at me sideways,  wondering why this makes me so happy!

Sure beats sitting in a cubicle.  Thanks so much for creating such a great program!

Best regards, Cyndi Latour

This was one of the first non-testimonials I’ve ever received and it made me completely crack up!

Audra, I cant thank you enough. Not a slow start but a slow/medium start to my new business but it finally clicked in and I am now turning down jobs because I am just too busy. There is so much information in your course that I was only able to skim through and if there is such a thing as a “slow season” I welcome the chance to go back and study it further. Looking back, the best tool I used to start my business was to sign up for your classes. The bad news is that I can’t recommend you because I don’t want my competition to have the valuable tools you have provided me…Forever in your debt.

I had to keep that one anonymous but isn’t that hysterical?  Anyway,

homes and people are being transformed in this industry…it’s a wonderful thing!

Finally, I just had to share an email I received from a new member, Janis Capone entitled, “A Great Friday the 13th!”

Janet had emailed me last week letting me know she had her first full, staging day on Friday, Nov. 13, so I quickly emailed her back some tips, encouragement and a request to let me know how it went…here’s what she sent today:

 Hi Audra,

Thanks for the congrats and well wishes.  Today was fabulous!  You really came through for me in so many ways.  I felt prepared, confident and comfortable with my first full home staging.  Your voice was a constant in my head saying,”You can do this”.  I practiced my pitch (like you instructed), I was complimentary of their home, I was honest and I listened to them.
Your words of wisdom really paid off. What great satisfaction not only for me, but more importantly my clients. Rewarded with many hugs and kisses and a check to boot! I know that there is so much more to learn and I can’t wait for this. So in closing, thank you for a great day and I look forward to many more.

 How cool is that?!  What will your story be?

Not all professional stagers are equal!  Our HSR Certification training was the first and one of the only staging and redesign training programs that has been third-party, accredited by the Real Estate Staging Association, so invest in the best!

Ready to Become a Successful Home Stager and Redesigner?

7 Reasons to Start a Home Staging Career

7 Reasons to Start a Home Staging Career

 

I just got back from Las Vegas and the RESA Convention and my ears are buzzing with all the excitement and enthusiasm from home stagers across the globe.  I’ve been doing staging training for almost 10 years now and I can truly say there has never been a better time to start a home staging career than now!  Here are my 7 quick reasons why this is the best time to start a home staging career but I’ll have more to report on the RESA Convention in coming blogs:

1. Home Stagers are Busier Than Ever!

Yep, the general consensus from the over 350 professional stagers at the RESA Convention is that they are BUSY.  Their phones are ringing and they are staging and doing redesign like crazy.  This isn’t too surprising because of the next handful of reasons but to say that 2014 was a good year for starting a home staging career, as well as staging statistically is an understatement.

 

2. The “Body of Work” is Better Than Ever!

When you look at the RESA Industry Awards and the amazing work these stagers do every day, you will truly become a believer in the benefits of staging.  Michelle Minch, a Los Angeles Stager and 2006 Home Staging Resource Graduate, was the overall winner in 2015 for her gorgeous vacant work which is sampled below:

 

Michelle Minch of Moving Mountains Design

Michelle Minch of Moving Mountains Design

 

 

When stagers do amazing work, real estate agents, home sellers, home builders and everyone else take notice.  The listing photographs stand out and these homes get the best price!

Michelle Minch of Moving Mountains Design

Michelle Minch of Moving Mountains Design

 

3.  The Redesign Side of the Staging Business is Booming

When I started the Home Staging Resource almost 10 years ago I knew that I needed to add Redesign training as well…great staging turns into move-in redesign.  I was the only staging trainer at the time (and even currently I believe) who incorporates both certification in staging and redesign into the training business model which is essential.   According to a recent Houzz Survey of 6,500 home professionals over 90% expect their business to grow!

 

4.  2014 Statistics on Home Staging are Better Than Ever

Those of you familiar with my blog know that we polled over 350 home stagers and 3500 homes sold worldwide and asked them (and their agents) two critical questions:  Are professionally staged homes selling for  more than not professionally staged homes?  At what percentage increase on average are they selling higher?  While the responses varied, on average the homes that were professionally staged in 2014 sold for 10% more than the homes that were not professionally staged.

 

2014 Home Staging Stats

 

 5.  Home Staging and Redesign Training Has Never Been Better!

The training for staging and redesign has never been better!  In fact, did you know that almost every one of the staging award finalists in the US categories (and some in the Canadian) are part of my Staging Mentors program?  We now have so many wonderful, generous mentors I don’t even list them all on the site.  The Staging Mentors program which is the third package in the HSR Certification training won for most Innovative Product or Service of the Year in 2015 at the RESA Conference! 

Here’s a picture of me hugging my award at the Conference…

best staging training

Not only has my training improved over the years, but I know that others have as well because we keep each other sharp and motivated.  Most of all, we love to see our students succeed!  I love what beautiful Kristi Barnett is doing in her psychological staging and tricky space trainings!  Here’s a photo of us on the red carpet:

 

Kristie Barnett and Audra Slinkey - Staging Trainers

Kristie Barnett and Audra Slinkey – Staging Trainers

 

6.  Stagers are the Best, Most Generous and Fun People in the World

Okay, here’s where I may be a bit biased but I have to say that home stagers as a whole, are a very fun, hard working, innovative, kind group of people with hearts of gold!  There is an enormous amount of respect we give to each other and our clients.  Stagers are fueled by their passion in design and their perfectionist personalities.  Here’s a photo from the RESA Conference of some of the HSR Grads over the last 10 years who I’ve had the honor and privilege to be a part of their training.  As you can see, we are still having fun up on stage chit chatting…

 

Grads of the Home Staging Resource at RESACon

Grads of the Home Staging Resource at RESACon

 

 

Here’s another of some of the gals who missed the photo up on stage:

Look at these gorgeous women!

Look at these gorgeous women!

 

And another fun photo of our yearly HSR networking event where I buy drinks for all my grads prior to the conference.  Even the bartender commented on what a nice, fun and cool group of people we are:

2015-1 002

 

 

 7. HGTV…Need I say More?

I would be a fool if I didn’t acknowledge that the rise and popularity of HGTV and websites like Houzz give people motivation to put beauty into their homes and buyers a “vision” of what they want to see in their next home.  The professional home stager is the person who makes that vision a reality!

So if you’re sitting on the fence and wondering if 2015 is your year to have a home staging career…just do it! I’ve never heard anyone have regrets going into this incredible industry but I do hear people regret not getting into it sooner or getting the right guidance.

 

XOXO – Happy Staging!

Audra Slinkey
Audra-Slinkey

 

Hope to hear from you!
1-888-563-9271

2014-11 Audra-Slinkey-Staging-Mentors-Most-Innovator-Product-or-Service-of-the-Year_edited-1Audra-Slinkeyinnovator

Not all professional stagers are equal! Our HSR Certification training was the first and one of the only staging and redesign training programs that has been third-party, accredited by the Real Estate Staging Association, so invest in the best!

Ready to Become a Successful Home Stager and Redesigner?

 

 

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