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.
Over the weekend, The Chaise Lounge posted a version of this episode that mistakenly included an older conversation with Bria Hammel instead of a more recent conversation (that came as the result of the first conversation). This episode was uploaded to replace the one posted on Saturday and now includes Nick’s chat with Bria, as well as the full explanation of “Cocktails and Conversations”, and how to 10 people will be able to get free copies.
Today in The Lounge, Nick sits down with designer Bria Hammel, as well as Justin Riordan of Spade and Archer. Nick and Bria focus on the trivialities of managing teams and finding the work-life balance. Justin and Nick discuss a variety of topics including cheerleading, drawing floor plans, and of course, everything that home staging encapsulates.
The Business of Home Staging
On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Jennie Norris of IAHSP, Tricia Tomlinson of Staging and Design Network, Lauren Matthews of White Orchid Interiors on a subset of Interior Design, the business of Home Staging.
Jumping into conversation with Jennie Norris (5:50)
Located near Denver, Jennie Norris has been staging since 2002. She has also been involved in the International Association of Home Staging Professionals in many different roles and is currently the chairwoman for the entire organization of thousands of members.
IAHSP is hosting an educational conference and expo coming up in February from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The theme of this event is “Raise the BAR” and will focus on business, applications, and resources. Not only will Nick of The Chaise Lounge be presenting on keeping your sales and marketing funnel full, but Jeff Lewis from Bravo’s Flipping Out will be sharing his expertise too.
Overall, Jennie said that home staging is physical and demanding. She mentioned that TV shows today show that staging is necessary and focus on furniture and décor, but what they don’t show is the actual business.
IAHSP’s Educational Conference and Expo is coming up on February 10-12. Please click here for more info!
Next in the lounge, Tricia Tomlinson (13:45)
Tricia Tomlinson is calling in from Kirkland, WA right now, but is hoping to expand to other locations soon! Tricia runs the Staging and Design Network, which is the only shared rental pool in the marketplace for home staging. By fulfilling this function, Tricia and her company can handle all payment and logistics, which allows home stagers to focus on the homes and design.
Tricia started in real estate with a company that provided staging, and she fell in love with it. She knew she needed more resources when her staging projects started to borrow furniture from her own home!
The Staging and Design Center allows stagers to receive income on rented furniture, art, bedding, rugs, etc as well as expand their inventory to be able to rent from other stagers. It’s like the Amazon for the home staging industry.
Tricia has seen great success and plans on expanding within the next six months. In the meantime, the company is providing webinars from educational providers on being successful in the industry. And, Nick will be presenting on marketing coming up in January!
When asked about the difference in interior design and home staging, Tricia mentioned that staging is the only industry where you can show your talent. Interior design caters to homeowners’ taste, while staging appeals to the broadest audience. You must do your homework on the market in that area.
Find out more about Tricia and Staging and Design Network on the company website or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a professional in the industry, please check out Tricia’s LinkedIn Group.
Last, but not least, Lauren Matthews (39:00)
Lauren Matthews is calling from her home office in beautiful Newport Beach, California. She is originally from Colorado and spent time skiing and road cycling at a high level of competition. This allowed her to travel and see great design. When her sports career wrapped up, Lauren decided to focus on this interest.
Initially, she thought staging was just rearranging and decluttering, but soon landed her first job staging a $2 million vacant home. It was a huge success, and from them on she has been fulfilling the need for luxury vacant home staging in Denver.
Lauren started with no inventory and sent fliers out to real estate agents. In naming her company, she knew she wanted it to be bigger than her, so she landed on White Orchid Interiors. The business now employs 12 individuals who stage more than 300 $1+ million vacant homes each year from two permanent office locations (Colorado and southern California).
When thinking about the staging industry, Lauren commented on the quick turnaround time that happens more often than not. And often, you just have to work with what is in your inventory and get the job done to make it work, while also keeping high end luxury expectations in mind.
Lauren describes home staging as selling a story, but the story changes from the homeowner to the actual home itself, and interior design focuses on the characteristics and personality of the homeowner.
For more information on Lauren Matthews and White Orchid Interiors, please check out the company website, which includes a helpful quoting tool.
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!