Thanks for coming back to the Chaise Lounge where, today, Nick talks to Courtney McLeod, the New York-based principal of Right Meets Left Design, who chose design as a second career after moving on from corporate finance. She graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a business degree and was successful in that field, but she wasn’t in love with her work. Courtney drifted more and more toward the art and design side of life until she couldn’t help but make her move. She quit her job without setting anything up or planning and pursued her new craft.
Welcome to the Chaise Lounge. This Friday, Nick chats with Michele Atijas and Amber Friederichs of the London-based home staging company Yohan May Interiors. In 2015, Atijas and Friederichs were friends who weren’t working in jobs that fed their passion for design, so they started a business together in a niche of the market that didn’t really exist in Europe. Home staging was a tiny part of the interior design industry in Britain compared to the United States, so they worked to find and fill that need.
Today in The Lounge, Nick chats with Cecilia “Keki” Cannon of Cecilia Cannon Staging & Interiors. Cecilia tells us how she got started in interior design and the staging business, and how blogging was a marketing catalyst for her interiors business. Find out on the episode how she strengthens her business through her blog, “Home with Keki.”
Laura Thurman- Nashville Design with LA Flair
Today in The Lounge, Nick chats with Laura Thurman of Thuman Design Studio. Learn about Laura’s pathway to design, her transition from LA to Nashville, and how she harnesses the power of networking and social media to grow her interior design business.
Pathway to Design
Originally from LA, Laura Thurman moved to Nashville, TN five years ago. As a child, she enjoyed painting, drawing, dancing and re-arranging her bedroom furniture. These interests ultimately lead to her future career as an Interior Designer. After receiving her degree in Interior Architecture from Woodbury University, Laura began freelancing as a graphic designer in LA, before landing a job with a commercial furniture dealer. While working in commercial sales she learned how form and function plays a crucial role in product selection and how to think both ergonomically and spatially. After working in commercial sales Laura went on to work for local residential interior design firms before venturing out to start her own business.
The Business Today
Before starting her own business, Laura spent six months developing her business cards, website, logo and resource library so she was prepared to go out on her own. Now after three years in business, she feels more established. Today, about 50% of her business is working with builders and developers making new construction product selections and the rest is working with the custom residential client. Her workload typically comes in batches of about 4-5 projects at a time. Laura attributes the power of networking as a key to her success. Laura decided to join a BNI professional networking group, which she attributes to helping her learn how to present herself to people. She has also found networking success through Linked In, and by simply reaching out. A fellow design colleague introduced her to Universal Furniture whom she collaborated with on a video series focusing on the behind the scene world of designers. Laura recommends using collaborations and partnerships and to think outside of the box to get your idea sponsored in a way that equally benefits both parties.
In addition to networking opportunities, Laura is also very active on Houzz. Houzz has generated some quality leads for her business. To be successful at Houzz, be timely with your response to inquiries. As Houzz may not work for everyone, Thumbtack offers a similar platform. Showing up to industry events has also been a key element to help grow her business. Next up, Laura will be attending the Design Bloggers Conference for the first time. Although a smaller venue than some of the other design shows, The Design Bloggers Conference attendees represent some of the biggest movers and shakers in the industry.
- Upcoming Events
Design Bloggers Conference – March 4 – 6
BD West – April 4 – 5
High Point Market – April 14 – 18
HD Expo – May 2 – 4
ICFF – May 20 – 23
NeoCon – June 11 – 13
If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at TheChaiseLoungePodcast.com. Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter or post a review on iTunes, you may even hear your review read live on our next podcast. With that said keep dreaming big, and keep designing a great design business. See ya!
Today in The Lounge, Nick talks shop with Kevin Htain of Identity Home Staging, Real Estate Stager and HGTV contributor. Very well known in California, Kevin had an interesting pathway through the design world to end up as one of staging’s most high profile players. Find out more, in this episode of the Chaise Lounge.
Kevins start t in the interior design business was designing model homes and leasing offices with KB Homes as his first gig out of college. He began as a studio art major in school, but then realized he needed his creative education to have a solid business fundamental. That’s when he discovered interior design. He has since worked for powerhouses like Ikea and progressive businesses like Pacific Dimensions, a merchandising company that seeks to blend traditional staging techniques with cutting-edge design trends. It was the most unlikely of avenues that finally got him into the staging industry though…a call from Mom. She had heard about it from a friend and recommend Kevin look into it. The rest, as they say, is history. Kevin was enrolled in staging training just weeks later.
Staging and Interior Design…What’s the difference anyway?
Kevin believes that home staging is all about putting a home’s best foot forward; if it had legs of course. It is really real estate market driven, so one needs to understand that segment in addition to having a background in design and aesthetics. Interior design on the other hand, is all about customization and personalization. It is design for a particular person or persons in mind. Staging is much less personal but still geared towards that target client. California’s staging market is robust, so staging is seen as a valuable tool at a seller’s disposal. Staging works across the board; in all budgets. Its all about helping the property perform at it’s highest potential.
What it Takes
Kevin has a team of 7. They include his stylists and moving crew. It can be tough to maintain a team in this industry, due to the fast pace and the eventual burn out that team members can face. That is one of the biggest challenges to be overcome. Keeping inventory fresh is another critical factor in keeping installations fresh and having properties show at their best. Some brands are also beginning to position themselves to meet the unique needs of the staging community. Brands like Uttermost, Coaster, and Ashley offer pieces that are striking, yet lightweight and easy to maneuver. Always keep the price point of the property in mind and stage accordingly. The scale and colorway in a million dollar home is going to be different than your average home’s inventory. A really good stager understands this and can market properties effectively.
Getting into the TV Game
Kevin is proud to share that Identity Home Staging has worked on 46 projects with HGTV over the last 3-4 years. There were originally contacted by the casting agency for the show ‘Flip or Flop’. Its been a great fit over the years and now Kevin will be contributing to the upcoming HGTV show ‘House to Home’. The next steps for Identity Home is to start their own furniture line. Nick is excited to pass some connections along in that area and to questions why there isn’t a current HGTV show focused solely on staging (hint, hint, casting!).
IAHSP and Kevin’s Commitment to Training Staging Professionals
Kevin Co-chairs training for the International Association of Home Staging Professionals. He is passionate about attending as many of the events as possible and keeping stagers trained in the latest merchandising techniques. His biggest piece of advice to students looking to join the field of staging is to challenge themselves not only to focus on the design side but also to be really well versed in the real estate market. That combination of design knowledge and business savviness is a winning one. Just ask Kevin…he knows for sure!
Learn more about Identity Home Staging online at: www.identityhome.com
If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes, Spotify or on our website at TheChaiseLoungePodcast.com. Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter or post a review on iTunes, you may even hear your review read live on our next podcast. With that said keep dreaming big, and keep designing a great design business. See ya!
Sanja Radovanovic: Home Staging from Rome
On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Sanja Radovanovic on home staging, her ambassadorship with IAHSP in Europe, and what’s next for her in the world of home staging.
Getting to know Sanja Radovanovic
Sanja Radovanovic, born in Serbia, currently lives in Rome, after residing in at least eight other countries. She met Nick at the International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP). Sanja speaks five languages and loves men’s watches, sunglasses, and high heels. She also enjoys Nutella and wine.
How Sanja got into design
Sanja states that interior design has always been a part of her. As a child, her mother’s job kept the family moving, which meant constant renovations and redesigns. Now, she is married to a diplomat, which keeps her family moving as well.
She has been involved with IAHSP over the last year and is on the board of directors. IAHSP is the longest running industry association and is dedicated to advancing the education for stagers and realtors. The organization provides ongoing education throughout the US and is expanding into Europe.
For Sanja, the switch from interior design to home staging came naturally. She was always attending open houses, though she mentions it’s a tough market educating clients on what staging is. She prepares a home to bring in top dollar in the least amount of time.
Sanja initially established her business in Chicago but has moved, again and again, restarting from scratch, feeling like she has to work twice as hard. She relies on social networks, industry associations including IAHSP, and professional relationships to build her business wherever she is.
What her business looks like
Sanja has never worked for someone else. She has always run her own firm. Interior design clients ask for home staging when selling, and then ask for help designing their new home after they’ve moved. Much of her business has been brought in through word of mouth.
Sanja mentions that interior design requires designing for someone else, which means you need to listen and understand what they need and want, whereas staging is for a home must appeal to a wide number of individuals, so it can sell, not the current owner.
Sanja is investing a lot of time and effort with IAHSP expanding across the globe. In Rome, there is less design work currently due to economy, but IAHSP founder, Barb Schwarz, says, “The world is full of money, you have to find it.”
- Upcoming Events
NeoCon – June 12 – 14
PCBC – June 26 – 28
Las Vegas Market – July 30 – Aug 2
BDNY 2017 – Nov 12 – 13
KBIS – Jan 9 – 11
- Wrap Up
If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at TheChaiseLoungePodcast.com. Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or post a review on iTunes, you may even hear your review read live on our next podcast. With that said keep dreaming big, and keep designing a great design business. See ya!