This heritage home had the right area rugs just in the wrong rooms….

During the 5 day PRES Staging and Redesign training course, I selected a gorgeous heritage for the one-day home makeover for living. During the consultation the biggest style error that I noticed immediately was the wrong area rugs in the wrong rooms and the wrong style curtains in the wrong rooms. Having the wrong area rugs in the wrong rooms is a fairly common styling mistake that many home owners make. As stagers and redesigners this is a fairly easy fix and often leads to other rearrangements of furniture and in this case also draperies, some accessories and switching out a wrong-coloured wing back chair for the rigth-coloured wing back chair in their bedroom.

For example in the living room ‘before’ the home owners’ daughters played piano and yet it was stuck in a corner. I knew the girls would be excited to be more ‘centre stage’ shall we say!

Modern sheers not working in this traditional formal living room, piano stuck in the corner...

Modern sheers not working in this traditional formal living room, piano stuck in the corner…

Once we moved the piano to another wall we put the large oversized sofa on a diagonal and changed the draperies from ones they had in two other rooms.

New traditional draperies, piano center stage and sofa on a diagonal with the right color area rug!

New traditional draperies, piano center stage and sofa on a diagonal with the right color area rug!

This testimonial tells you how IMPRESSED the home owners were…

From the wife, “WOW, We are so impressed! Our home looks like a show home. We are thrilled with the transformation. Dana’s team is so professional and kind we can’t say enough. Even our seven year old twins said, “Our house is now the best!” We couldn’t have made our house a home without your talent. Many thanks for a fantastic job.”

and from the husband (normally men are not so forthcoming with excitement) “Dana has worked a miracle. Our family home is 101 years old, divided into separate rooms and of course filled with all of our stuff. Dana and her team came in and made those rooms distinct. We were not aware of the mix of colour schemes and furnishing styles we had going on in each room but Dana was. She put the things that should be together, together. Moved furniture, drapes, area rugs and art work. She gave distinction, theme, flow and space to each room. Love it, love it, love it.

I can’t wait to go home and view it again. It’s like I moved into a new house and bought new furniture. Dana you and your students are amazing. Thank you!!”

Time Management Tips That Take Away Feeling ‘Overwhelmed’


Whether you are just starting up your home staging business or you have been doing it for several years now, I know your mind can be a good influence on you sometimes, and sometimes the negative just won’t stop. I talk about ‘mindset’ a lot because if you have constant chatter that says ‘you have to be all things to all people’ you will exhaust yourself and start feeling resentful. You’ll forget why you became a home stager in the first place – and for most of you it was to be creative, be your own boss, have fun, create gorgeous spaces, be independent, work the hours you wanted to have more family time, make a difference and help others who just don’t see beauty the way you do. And of course, you love shopping and spending someone else’s money so you make money!

Research shows that successful businesses spend about 10% of their time with operations, about 20% with production and a whopping 70-80% in marketing and sales. So it’s no wonder that you start feeling overwhelmed with all the things you need to get done to create a successful home staging business. If you are just starting out these numbers will most likely be reversed but in time, you want to strive to reach these percentages.

So let’s take a look at your work week and we’ll assume it is a Monday to Friday or any 5 days that work for you. You must have days of rest…

Here are some TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS to take away some stress:

  • Decide how many days a week you dedicate to your work and work your schedule around that
  • Pick a day and time(s) that you are going to do admin work. Many home stagers like to make this a Monday or a Friday. This might be paperwork like invoicing, returning phone calls, doing quotes, etc. . In time you want to delegate this to someone else.
  • We are all inundated with too many emails. Set up a time each day that you check them and stick to that. Many emails will go unanswered and that is okay. You don’t have to answer every person that sends you an email – prospects/clients of course.
  • Set up a ’personal’ email for family and friends and a separate one for business.  That way you can keep the two somewhat separate.
  • Perhaps you choose to provide your home staging services ‘production’ like shopping, sourcing, consultations, staging, destaging, etc one or two days in the week.
  • You need to schedule your marketing time for attending networking events and some of these may fall at night. If they do give yourself permission to start a little later than usual the next morning.
  • You may find that Friday is a great day for focusing on sales calls – returning calls or talking with new prospects to set up appointments for the following week.
  • If you do go to Open Houses on the weekend then give yourself some time off in the week for those extra hours you put in.
  • Social media needs to be part of your marketing plan so plan on doing about 15 minutes a day with it. You could also take ½ morning a week and do all of your blog posts (your blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc) for the entire week. If you use something like Hoot Suite you can just write one post that goes on all of your sites.
  • Whenever possible schedule your ‘down time’ – time with family AND time for yourself. This is critical to your well being to continue to grow your business. If all you do is work and do things for your family, then you will feel stressed. Setting good boundaries is critical to staying healthy.

The good news is as you grow your business you will be delegating more and more work to competent individuals that have skill sets you don’t. Even if you have the skill set, let go of the control and focus on what you do best. This is where you start working ‘on’ your business and not ‘in’ your business.


“Dirty, Sexy Money’ was Kimberley Seldon’s TOP 10 TIPS!

In my coaching practice one of the most often talked about issues is women entrepreneurs’ fear of charging what they are worth. Which is why Kimberley Seldon’s Talk ‘Dirty Sexy Money’ was so well attended!

Patti Kimberly Dana

Kimberley asked the stagers/decorators/designers/stylists to think about HOW they wanted to be perceived in the market place. She asked “Are you a Walmart brand or Hermes?”

These are her 10 TOP TIPS to comfortably and confidently charge what you are worth:

1. Focus on your expertise
2. Charge for your expertise
3. Charge for ALL your hours worked
4. Mark Up Trades Work
5. Share your discounts with your clients
6. Up Sell your services
7. Limit your suppliers
8. Focus your marketing
9. Limit exceptions to your rules & systems
10. Learn to say NO

PS If you want some help with this sign up for a Complimentary Coaching session by clicking on this ABOUT YOU link and we can get rid of your money story blocks that are not serving you!

Some fabulous Victoria BC home staging statistics!

Valerie Westra owner of At First Sight Staging in Victoria BC runs a very successful home staging business and she has the statistics to prove it! I had the pleasure of being Valerie’s coach and mentor last year and I love to keep in touch and watch her continue to grow and expand her business!

Valerie is part of a great collaborative home stagers and interior stylists group that are members of Josee LaLonde’s The Housse. I’ve had the pleasure of doing several home staging business workshops at The Housse and always enjoy this great group of talented women. The Housse was conceived to address the needs for a centralized resource to serve the unique problems facing the Vancouver Island home staging and design community. They provide a full-service rental inventory to their members and promote the value and importance of home staging through the education of home owners, realtors and developers.

Victoria Stagers & Stylists Certificate of Completion Marketing Course

Victoria Stagers & Stylists Certificate of Completion Marketing Course


Here is the latest 2013 statistics collected by The Housse, Victoria’s only resource center for Home Stagers and Interior Stylists. Based on 44 properties staged by Victoria’s Home Stagers, members of The Housse (including At First Sight Home Staging Solutions): 70.7% of the properties sold in an average of 3.8 weeks for an average cost of staging to the seller of $2100.

7 properties (out of the 44) staged by At First Sight this year which were listed prior to staging. They were on the market for an average of 17 weeks and did not sell. After staging, they sold at an average of 3.2 weeks!!!

According to VREB (Victoria Real Estate Board) data 85-88% of all monthly listings do not sell. The home staging statistics speak for themselves. At First Sight Home Staging brings great value and results to the sellers and real estate agents.

CONGRATS TO ALL THE VICTORIA STAGERS! And special thanks to Josee LaLonde of The Housse for getting these statistics from your members to share!

Did you know that Lack of Confidence is the leading excuse for procrastination, inaction and failure?


Confidence comes when you blast through your doubt and fears as you take your business to a new level. It requires the right mindset, taking action and trusting your intuition. Lack of confidence can stop the most passionate entrepreneur and it doesn’t matter if you are just starting your home staging business or have been successful for several years. You can create success for yourself starting exactly where you are right now. Anyone can take action in spite of doubt and fear – these are normal emotions in business that we all have. But, fear of failure or fear of success are not reasons for you not to take action.

Having the right mindset means telling that little negative voice in your head to take a hike. It’s really your ego trying to keep you just where you are. But your dream of creating a successful home staging business is what is going to propel you forward to take action in spite of the negative chatter. We all have what are called ‘panic attacks’ where we start thinking “Can I really do this? What was I thinking? Everything seems to be against me. No one is buying my staging services. They didn’t choose my company, I must be doing something wrong.” …and on and on it goes. STOP IT!

So you can continue to play ‘small’ or you can decide to blast through your fear to get over to the other side and start playing ‘BIGGER’. When you stop giving ‘fear’ the power over you, your life changes. You gain confidence, your muscles grow. You feel the success and you love it.

Fear will never go away but as you gain confidence you aren’t so depressed as you once were thinking you couldn’t accomplish something. By taking action you are going to be attracting new opportunities to your business. Things you may have never thought you would be doing sound good to you. Just do an intuitive check: Is this an opportunity or a distraction? You know the difference so be true to yourself.

Once you start investing positive energy into your ‘self’ you will start making progress. The confidence cycle starts all over again but each time you feel less afraid because you have proof that you can succeed. You have the right positive mindset, you have taken action and you used your intuition to determine if what you were thinking of doing was a real opportunity to grow or not.

As you continue to grow and try new things in your home staging business you will take your confidence to a new level. Forget about being told to ‘play it safe’, ‘it’s just a hobby for her’, it’s not a good time to take a risk’ – JUST GO FOR IT! When you take chances and they work, your confidence muscles start growing and growing.

Here are some TIPS on how you can grow your CONFIDENCE MUSCLES:

  • Really look at all the things you have accomplished each day. Focus on what % went well and not the mistakes – I have done 5 excellent staging jobs this month and the last one was not my best. Focus on the 5 not the 1.
  • Record your accomplishments daily – list 5 each day at night or first thing in the morning and celebrate them.
  • Keep a page of your favourite testimonials and read them before you meet with a realtor or home owner for a consultation.
  • Think about the best sales call you have ever had and ‘feel’ how good you felt, then make your phone calls.
  • If you did not reach your income goal for this year go back and see the accomplishments you did make and make some adjustments for this year. Look at where you did make money and congratulate yourself.
  • To build your confidence muscles celebrate even the smallest thing you did that you didn’t think you could do. Make it a habit and it will start to build inside you.

Confidence is organic – it grows. Whenever you take your business to a new level whether you are a newbie or not, fear will come up. Each time you accomplish a goal your build your confidence muscles. You become stronger and stronger in your authentic self.

PRES Featured Stager Sally Weatherley of Exit Stage Right!


Exit Stage Right, owned and operated by Sally Weatherley is a North Shore, BC based full-service home staging company. Sally and her team love working close to home, and focus on North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby, downtown Vancouver, and the Westside.They enjoy a green side to our company, and try to keep our footpath fairly local.

Exit Stage Right works with homeowners and their Realtor® partners in preparing their homes for sale, in order to appeal to home buyers. Although they aim to dress a home to appeal to a broad range of buyers, they like to refer to themselves as “sniper stagers”. They research specific areas and create a profile of the most likely home buyer. People often buy a home with their emotions, and Exit Stage Right is happy to set a scene that will tug at a buyer’s heartstrings.

Almost all buyers want to walk into a home that has an attractive updated modern look. That’s why they have a full range of one-stop shopping inventory from cups and saucers to living room sofas and chairs. Their furniture is modern and guaranteed to update the look of their seller’s home whether they need to stage all of the home with rentals, or only need a few enhancements.


Sally was contacted by a Realtor® to help his client sell this 2-bedroom property in East Vancouver. The client is an investor who had been renting out this unit, but had now decided to sell. The challenge was that the unit looked tired. It was also not terribly clean. The Realtor® organized for cleaners to come in and make the condo spic and span. He also had all new blinds installed. However, the owner could not be convinced to put any more money in for renovations; hence, the peach coloured countertop in the bathrooms remained!

Another challenge was that the unit is located right next door to the Skytrain. Also, it was very dark, with not a lot of natural light coming in. As a vacant space, nothing distinguished this unit from all the other beige boxes in the same price range for sale.


Unattractive Vacant Living Room

Unattractive Vacant Living Room


The key to really giving this unit a lift was to create a bright, sunny, welcoming space. They used yellow accents to bring the sunshine in. Adding a lot of lighting helped illuminate the space. Bright, bold, colourful artwork, cushions and accessories really helped add some pizzazz to an otherwise somewhat unremarkable condo.

Exit Stage Right wanted to create a young, funky vibe, as the prospective buyer would no doubt be on the younger side. They believed this unit would attract someone who would like to afford downtown Vancouver, but only have the budget for East Vancouver. Adding more modern furnishing you’d find in a downtown condo to this unit would definitely speak to the wants of the potential buyer.


Bright, trendy and looks like move-in ready!

Bright, trendy and looks like move-in ready!

The seller and the Realtor® were very happy with the end result!

How would you rate your Customer Service as a Home Staging Company?


If your sales haven’t been exactly what you were expecting now that the first quarter of the year is over, is it possible that your customer service practices may have something to do with sales? You might think you are providing an acceptable level of customer service but what if you went above your standard level – could that be a game changer for you?

In my PRES training program I like to stress the use of this phrase:

Under promise and over deliver….

So I know that when I am providing my home staging services whether it’s a consultation, client consultation, report recommendation or the actual hands-on home staging work, my clients/customers are getting MORE than they paid for! And I also know by doing this I get a fantastic testimonial and they are MORE likely to refer me to their friends in need. Now understand I am not saying not to charge what the project/job is worth, I am saying throw in a little something extra that would make them really, really happy and not cost you any money to do it.

See if you can say ‘Yes I do that’ to these customer service scenarios:

Read through this list of what I think are some of the top customer service guidelines and see how many you can say ‘Yes I do that’ to:

1. If a prospect/client has left you a message on your phone do you get back to them within 24 hours (I mean pick up the phone and phone them)?

2. If a prospect/client has sent you an email do you get back to them within 24 hours?

3. If you do not return phone calls or emails on the weekend do you let your prospects/clients know that by putting this in your message? (Staging isn’t often just a Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm business so you might need to revisit this)

4. If you are not going to be able to return emails or phone calls while you are on vacation or sick, do you have someone in place who can do that for you?

5. If you say/promise that you are going to do something for your client, do you do it?

6. Do you always arrive just a few minutes early to your appointments and look professional?

7. If you are going to be late for an appointment do you phone your prospect/client to let them know that?

8. When you do your hands-on home staging work do you do a little extra for your client and let them know what you did? (this isn’t bragging, this is smart business)

9. Do you have a database software (CRM) in place to keep in touch with your clients to let them know about any Special Promotions, how much you enjoy working with them, other services they might not be aware that you offer, etc.?

10. Even if you did not get the home staging job you bid on, did you follow up with the realtor and/or client to find out what you could have done differently, better, etc. Did you send them a ‘Thank You’ card and not an email?

You may have been able to get a 100% on these Customer Service questions – that’s just great. If not, you can make the choice to change some of the ways you are doing business. Only you can determine your level of customer service but to really excel in today’s home staging marketplace, I think you need to pick up the phone more, meet more people in person and deliver on all your promises.