Zoom Out to Zoom In

Like the click and drag of my mouse on a digital map, it was time to take wide view from above at the real estate industry and at the local geographic market to assess how my business was relevant. So, I did just that. I met with one of the nation’s top staging experts whom I’d gotten to know and naturally gelled with via video courses and social media. That coaching session marked the beginning of a great friendship, but also signified the focus that was essential to best serve the audience I had been targeting and had worked with previously.  

 

Recognizing that greater than 70% of homes are Occupied when they hit the market was key in my decision to phase out of the Vacancy Staging service part of my business and focus on this much underserved area. Vacant Staging services are also the most expensive as they require rental of furniture and accessories in order for the prospective buyer to envision themselves in the space.

 

I had an “ah ha” moment driving home from the coaching session I had with my new friend, Bobbie McGrath of Successful Staging. That day with her was so enlightening…my notebook is dog-eared, and coffee stained from the numerous times I’ve referred to her suggestions, phrases, illustrations, industry secrets and buzzwords. Sadly, I couldn’t take her up on her invite to reflect on our time together overlooking her back patio over a glass of wine. What a treasure Bobbie is to our industry. One of the kindest, most generous people I’ve met in a very long time.

 

Vacant Staging projects: the blank slate of empty homes, (often freshly painted and newly remodeled) had been a dream come true when entering the world of staging. However, it wasn’t the most fulfilling in terms of creative problem solving. I wasn’t challenged with working with what people already owned, making it look thousands of dollars better, bigger perhaps. Many have the ability to shop for goods to fill a space, but it takes a legitimate and experienced stager to know how to edit one’s furnishings to the style of the home, the lifestyle of the perspective demographic/buyer and suggest items to pre-pack for the best listing photos! 

 

Helping sellers and agents earn the highest return on the investment in a property is most important and serves our community in ways in which we all benefit. I love this city I grew up in and I want to see it thrive. Supporting small businesses, entrepreneurs and attracting newcomers to the area shouldn't be hard and can be fun, yes?

 

Consultations and Occupied Staging is where I’m zooming in, re-focusing my attention. If you should require Vacant Staging, please contact me because I know the best in the area!

 

I look forward to assisting you with your next project! Let's zoom in together!

Wanna Bump?

You know you've found your go-to staging company when they are investing in continuing education such as new, fun and exciting was to bring you all the tips and pointers you could ever want! 

This year Rendered Nest is taking content to the next level with videos that will be posted here, in the blog section, and on all our social media platforms. 

Thanks a million Tori Toth for your talent and coaching abilities. Visit this video here to learn more about how you can grow your business with video! 

Click Here for and example of a quick "bumper" that will become the intro to all our future videos! 

Now there's a video term for ya!

Enjoy and until next time!

 

 

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The Power of Partnerships

We've all heard the cliche's and buzzwords promoting collaboration...."None of us is as smart as all of us." --Ken Blanchard, "It takes two flints to make a fire." --Louisa May Alcott. These types of quotes were tossed about in my former corporate setting as much as I utter the words "coffee, color and storage unit" these days. I loved and embraced the concept of collaboration at both paint companies I worked within. In both organizations I was assigned to the marketing arms of the business, which obviously supports sales but with my technical experience, I was pulled that direction often for development and creative input. I craved the diversity of the people and work/challenges. This collaborative interaction was where I thrived. We made mad progress. And when I met with my fellow color marketing colleagues for future forecasts....don't even get me started on what a high that was. Oh, the way the mind works when you know you are with your tribe....you begin innovating...solving world peace, curing cancer, well, at least figuring out that sock/dryer dilemma. You have to be in the room to experience it firsthand to believe it. Trust me on this. 

Fast forward to entrepreneurship where one is an island (seemingly). One. Single. Lonely little being. Don't judge just yet. This is a wonderful place at this juncture in my world. It's fresh, it's challenging. It's rewarding in the purist sense when its time to reflect on a project and realize A-Z - all you. BUT, there's Power in Partnerships that is beyond measure. Partners (by my definition) can be one's favorite second-hand furniture vendor, favorite moving company that you can count on with 2-days notice, perhaps a hair stylist that makes sure you look your best (you are your brand after all). As a residential home stager, the key partners are realtors, builders, investors/flippers, and mortgage bankers. There are many more, but this is usually one's first tier. It can be tough to nail down those partners and to learn who's really in for the long haul. 

This past week I wrapped up a staging project that almost wasn't if it weren't for the persistence and positive attitude of a realtor and friend. THIS is the partner you want with you. The one that understands the value you bring and goes the extra mile to make sure you are engaged even when it looks like budget will be all fixer up and none left for staging. This is the partner that while you are recovering from surgery sends you photos to approve, performs the heavy lifting (literally) and carpools you to and from the property for the final propping the day before photoshoot!  

Owning your own small business is not for the uninspired. If you don't have employees or only have contract or part time help, it can be maddening especially if you come from an environment of open workspaces and "teams". I find getting out of the home office and to a public / wi-fi friendly space like a coffee shop or cafe' is so refreshing. Make appointments with your clients, vendors, adjacencies at least 2-3 times a week if you can.  You know you need to anyway. Nurture those that "get it" (by the way, you can curate that list as an entrepreneur rather than it being dictated to you).

And definitely let your peeps, your partners in crime, your go-to's know how much you appreciate them. 

 

Best. Advice. Ever!

This article is so good, I am going to have to just put the link here and give credit to the author, #RoomsinBloom. Rooms In Bloom Home Staging & Design Inc. out of Canada.  I so wish I had written this myself. 

click link below:

Home Staging Mistakes

Great advice for real estate agents, home owners, anyone interested in learning more about the home staging profession. Fantastic!

Now you know! You're welcome.

The Big MELTDOWN

I’m not sure what day it is. Our daughter isn’t in school, I know Christmas is behind me, but I haven’t heard fireworks yet and the big ball hasn’t dropped. It’s all very confusing. As a new-ish entrepreneur, I’m not sure if I should be burning the midnight oil, or doing lots of child’s poses in preparation to hit it hard come January 2nd.   

The decisions I’ve made in the past year were not in haste, nor were they easy. What I’ve learned is that there’s lots more to learn, a lot more people to learn from and more fun and satisfaction to be had.

I had a ridiculously difficult time deciding on a name for my business, the details of which I will spare you, apart from opting for the word “rendered”. I first recall using rendered on a regular basis in design school referring to coloring our black ink / pencil drawings with uber expensive markers we bought from the campus book store. We’d go in together to get the minimum required palette per our instructor. That made for some nasty finger pointing when the caps mysteriously disappeared and all that was left was a dull, grayed-out nub. Fittingly, render also means “to do a service for another”. Perfect!

When my husband (then boyfriend), who can often be mistaken for Alton Brown or more legitimately, the Swedish Chef, began wooing me with his kitchen skills, I remembered another meaning for rendered which is “to dissolve or melt”. Ah ha! Yep, I melt whenever my hubby looks at me with his dreamy blue eyes, and I do appreciate when he whips up the best roux (with melted butter) this side of the Atlantic Ocean. And yes, I’ve been known to have the occasional meltdown, of which I’m not proud.

I start to wonder if there’s a certain age in which we cannot unlearn unwanted behaviors such as meltdowns and curating large piles of laundry to the point of not knowing what’s clean and what’s dirty. This starts me thinking about resolutions, you know, the ubiquitous New Year’s variety. I’ve had several thoughts about what mine will be for 2017 in the past few weeks, but decided it might benefit me to look up the definition for resolve / resolution before I finalize my list. Guess what I found? The very first definition of Resolve - obsolete :  dissolve, melt!  Again, with the melt! That struck my funny bone. It’s just one big ole Meltdown.

I think I’ll be more in control of meltdowns and crankmonsters in 2017. I think I’ll be more mindful of the extreme importance of everyday kindness and generosity. Perhaps a simple, but powerful look up from my reading or typing to acknowledge my daughter’s question. Or an extra squeeze of my husband’s hand while we’re walking or watching a movie to let him know I’m thinking of him.

What will you resolve to do or be next year? What services can you render for another? How can you treat yourself more kindly?

What type of cheese is going in your grilled sandwich, cause I know you want one right about now....?

 

Ozzie Steals The Show

Nothing but a 25 pound pile of whitish scruffy cuteness could pry me away from the last 1.5 days of the High Point Market and that's just what happened when we realized our house guests were checking out a night early. Ozzie, a terrier mix, had been in the care of a wonderful rescue league in our area and was residing with his Foster mom, Janet when we made the decision to welcome him into our new home. But, because he is somewhat people shy, we thought it best to wait until our home routine had returned to "normal" before bringing him in. 

Being home with our new furbaby actually gave me time to reflect on what I'd just experienced the past few days. Market is always a whirlwind of activity - eye candy overload, meeting incredibly talented and diverse people, and catching up with industry veterans.  Previewing market products isn't for the faint of heart and can be accomplished a month prior in-person or at the comfort of your own device by reading one of many blogs and articles such as this one from DesignInColorNYC.com (shameless plug). 

I so enjoyed seeing my former Sherwin-Williams colleagues present their brand's color forecasts with all the enthusiasm and passion they conveyed. Surprise jaunts to places like Pandora's Manor Bed and Breakfast had me stunned; I had no idea this project was shaping up just miles down the road from me and also, that I must have a tiny affinity for classic, traditional design buried deep within. Thanks for unearthing that Eastern Accents

I am currently setting up accounts and confirming others with some incredible vendors and manufacturers. So far, Ozzie has approved of all my choices. One of the highlights at market was in the Surya showroom when I was posting a photo of the pillow I fell in love with - it had waves of gray and brown and was in the softest faux fur that begged to be snuggled with. Seconds later, a FB friend requested I add 2 of the same to be sent to her and their rescued dog for their new home. Bam! I love technology.

My mantra....always, always take every opportunity to learn. One downside of missing the last few days was missing talented speakers. However, I did pack in as many seminars as I could in the first few days, many of which conflicted another's schedule so it was literally a coin toss in many cases.

A shout out to a new and brilliant company called Three Pears Productions which will surely delight designers and consumers with new products featuring a talented artist. I love my swag Three Pears scarf btw!

I think someone needs to go for a walk now...he's one spoiled little guy already.

These images should keep you happy and inspired until next Spring's market!

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Leah sees 4 billion shades of Gray

What a treat when my sister rang to tell me her friend and co-worker's beautiful home was being fully remodeled and that she would need help selecting new color schemes! It was my first official consult as Rendered Nest and of course I was a bit nervous. Nothing, I mean nothing could have prepared me for meeting Leah and seeing her beautiful home for the first time.

There before me (amidst the construction and hanging plastic) was the most subtle, yet impactful pale gray against white interior trim I'd ever seen....AND it was a Sherwin-Williams color from the color deck I'd stared at for 10 years as an SW employee. It was Crushed Ice....How did I not know this color? Where had it been? And why on earth did Leah want to change it? To be fair, all her furnishings were packed away in the garage while she and her adorable son, husband and sweet dog were shacked up with her mom during the total home renovation. So, I was unable to comprehend her desire to better "coordinate" her furnishings with her wall color to provide a more "cozy, creamy" less cool atmosphere.

Her descriptive terms, however, caught my attention. Now she's speaking my language, I thought! It's rare to find a consumer or even in some cases a design professional who can correctly articulate the subtleties of color. You know, the difference between cool and warm, bright and pastel? But Leah, she was on to something. And the funny thing was, she kept mocking herself as if she was somehow odd or freakish. She insisted she mustn't be able to see color correctly because her friends and family looked oddly at her each time she attempted to describe the mood she was going for with this new hue she was trying to define. 

I surveyed the rest of the house on that first visit and continued to feel giddy with her incredible and acute sense of color. We began selecting candidates for new colors using the fan deck I'd brought. She was drawn to a very light creamy off-white that in the end turned out to be precisely the color that the exterior of their home is painted (brick). Apparently she has good color memory too and knows what she likes (Westhighland White)! We decided THAT was to be the main color throughout and that we'd keep a darker version of the gray (ultimately Repose Gray) for the Kitchen and eat-in Butler's pantry while keeping Crushed Ice for the bedrooms upstairs. I honestly believe following this exercise, Leah is one of those rare humans who can see 4 billion colors as opposed to us common folk who can only see 7,000,000. Find out more about Tetrachromatism here.

Yesterday, I returned for the "after" photo shoot. Amazing. While I wasn't as in love personally with the Westhighland White as I was with the previous pale gray, it did look terrific. Besides, it's not about ME now is it? Most importantly, Leah was very happy and though they've just only begun moving back in....the whole space looks incredible! See for yourself.

Kudos to these homeowners and their impeccable taste in finishes and COLOR! Let me know when you're ready to move onto the next project...I think I know just the right buyer for this one!

1st Trimester

Yep, like birthing a baby, this business is off and running. I can't say enough great things about the wonderful support from friends and family near and far. To quote a successful entrepreneur from today's webinar..."I've made plenty of right decisions, but tons of wrong ones". She's making 7 figures now and managing her 4 profitable, lifestyle-focused businesses with ease, according to her.  Most days I'm simply happy to wake up and have a relaxed morning with my husband, daughter and pup, sipping coffee while planning for the day. But...here's to all my wrong decisions - I'll take 'em!

It's also very exciting to wake up and think about client's needs and how I'm challenged to creatively solve problems. I think I'm most satisfied with the near instant gratification that comes with transformations that are both aesthetically pleasing and financially profitable for the seller and homeowner. 

So much to learn, so much to put to practice. So, so many people to meet. Oh, I love meeting new people and learning their stories. 

High Point Market is just around the corner. Please comment if you are local and want to meet up! Saturday, Oct 22nd - Oct 26th.

I look forward to sharing some recent projects with you in the PORTFOLIO section soon! Until then, follow me on FB and Instagram and in old-school, face-to-face real life. A girl's, gotta get out ya know!