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Meet Michelle Hall of The Staging Studio

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Hall.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My home staging journey actually found me around the time my twins started in Transitional Kindergarten, We had just welcomed our 3rd son and I was wrapping up yet another home renovation project on my own home. Prior to this, I worked in sales for years and found myself being a stay-at-home mom to three sons. Staying at home left a lot of time for me creatively, which I put to good use re-designing elements of my own home and posting the updates on social media. My son Landon had made quick friends with a sweet girl named Maqqedah. We were surprised when we received a dinner invitation from Maqqedahs parents, Josh and Treasure Anderson.

We happily obliged and learned that Josh and Treasure Anderson were prominent realtors of our small town and were quickly developing their own brokerage. This brokerage was changing the game by being unconventional and paying their realtors 100% commission!! In the real estate industry, this is unheard of, and I immediately wanted to join forces with them in some fashion. I wanted to be a part of the way they were revolutionizing the industry as a whole and setting a new standard.

I’m, not a realtor though, so how could I be apart of something so revolutionary? That’s when it came to me, over a glass of Jameson around a grand dinner table… Home Staging! That’s it!!!! I can collectively be part of the new industry standard by becoming my own entity, and teaming up with the best local real estate team! I quickly set up my new business, bought new inventory and an entrepreneur was born. Within my first year of business, I have five employees, multiple storage lockers packed to the brim with staging necessities and have become the exclusive home stager for Realty one Group ZOOM.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road to home staging is paved with good intentions but hasn’t always been smooth. As I began my journey I met a woman who is the expert home stager in my humble opinion. I’ve admired her work for years and have always been timid to approach her, I mean after all at this point I’m just a mom with a nicely decorated home, nowhere near her expert level. I met Mary Naleway while I staged my second home. Mary unbeknownst to me suffered from chronic illness and was slowly transitioning out of the staging business.

She has been my Mentor and sold all of her inventory to me to help me get my start. She has given me so much valuable information regarding contracts, inventory purchasing, consulting, time management, room-scale, etc. she has helped me avoid so many pit-falls that other new stagers may encounter. I feel like this is the time to admit I suffer from MAJOR anxiety which is something I’m learning to manage while blossoming. For example, I may have 10 homes out and have two more design projects starting the following week. There have been countless nights I’ve lost sleep, going over inventory lists ensuring we have enough pieces per project. There have been a few times I have to step off the job site because of having a mild anxiety attack.

Thankfully, I have an amazing team of women who assist me and allow me the flexibility to step out and take a few minutes to regain my train of thought. There have been times where I’ve fallen off of trucks carrying inventory, countless times I’ve had to ask myself where did that bruise come from? Aside from the physical toll staging takes, it also can be very expensive initially, not to mention the wear and tear on items, there have been countless accidents where inventory gets damaged coming off trucks and going back into them. The cost to replenish is nearly never-ending. In the end, having a helluva sense of humor to get through the ups and downs has certainly saved me, and keeps motivating me to this day!

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Staging Studio – what should we know?
The Staging Studio & Design Co. Proudly serves the Central Valley and East Bay Area. Specializing in color consultation, art placement, space planning, and award-winning home staging. The Staging Studio works with countless top producing realtors and homeowners to help them earn top dollar once their listing hits the MLS. In-person and E-consultations are available and can turn a house into a dream home. Here at the Studio, we are most proud of how far we’ve come as a team. We each have gown individually leaps and bounds and by all means, remain humble throughout the process.

We realize how stressful the transition can be from moving from one residence to another. As a mother of three small boys myself I never ever allow before and after pictures on my website or any other staging studio social media outlet. Maintaining my customer’s integrity is my HIGHEST priority. We are all casual and in this journey together. Whether you’re relocating, downsizing, upsizing, it’s our job to make that process as seamless and stressless as possible. All these elements combined set us apart from all other local staging companies. Whenever we hear of other women who are taking an interest in home design and staging, we reach out to them, mentor them, hire them, send them job leads.. over here at the studio we are all about collaboration, not competition.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
When we stage, we build a positive relationship with our clients from start to finish. At the initial consult, we introduce ourselves and give a little background. We often walk into homes that are currently lived in and ensure our clients have nothing to apologize for. I too have kids, crumbs, dust bunnies, and a husband who thinks the top of our bed makes the perfect dirty clothes bin too. LOL even as a designer, I am human too..just like them. I like to ask for some background on our clients and get a feel for the journey they are about to embark on. Listening is a great tool to get a feel for their particular style.

It undoubtedly reveals how detail-oriented they are or aren’t. we walk through each and every single room and I give recommendations on which pieces can be moved or removed altogether. Again each piece has a story, for example, a grand piano in a formal living room is placed there for a specific reason by a seller. I take particular interest in these stories as it builds the character of the home we are about to work in. We like to roll up our sleeves and come with our best inventory to help highlight each individual story. I see myself as a storyteller. Clients hire us to write their stories, but instead of words, we use canvases, furniture, architectural elements and of course personal items to them!

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Image Credit:

Gina Gutherie

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