Tori Toth, RESA Regional Vice President and owner of Stylish Stagers in New York, tells us how she joined our industry after an unexpected job change. Read her business savvy home stager story in this online interview.
How long have you been a home stager? 2 ½ years
Why did you decide to become a home stager?
I was fired from my last job and was looking for a new job on careerbuilder when a came across an article on home staging, I said, “I can do that.”, and started researching that same day. Home staging is a great way for me to incorporate several skills and tap into my creative side.
What did you do before you were a home stager?
I was a TV Reporter.
Tell us a little about your business, how it operates and who your clients are:
Since my background is storytelling and creating images, my business strives to “create an image that sells” based on any type of client need or budget. Despite being the only full-time employee, we’re a full service company. Our business usually comes from Realtor referrals in the New York City, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island.
What’s your favorite part of the business?
Since opening Stylish Stagers, Inc. I’ve become a social butterfly online and off by becoming a member of several Real Estate Boards and RESA. I’m recognized in my profession as an expert, which I love, but what I love even more is using my brain creatively to find solutions to homeowner’s dilemmas and building a company.
What’s your least favorite part of the business?
That’s going to have to be delivering and removing the inventory, it’s a problem bigger company owner’s don’t have because they have employees to drop off and pick up for them. I’m also not a fan of sales; especially, cold calling or continually trying to stay on top of people about buying our service.
Who are some of your favorite stagers?
Annie Pinsker-Brown, Michelle Minch, Karen Otto, Ashley Wittenberger, Leslie Causey, Bernadette Flaim, Lenore Ritter, Tara Boettger
The list goes on…
Tell us about your best staging experience.
My best staging experience to date was with a one-bedroom Brooklyn co-op. I was able to create a win-win situation, by referring this client to a Realtor and then staging the co-op that sat on the market for nearly a year. Once staged the home sold in 72 hours! The homeowner, a single bachelor, loved the transformation so much he bought everything in the space right down the apron we placed into the kitchen.
Tell us about your worst staging experience.
My worst staging experience was with a NYC Realtor who hired us to stage a vacant one-bedroom space. This Realtor agreed to our conditions, scheduled the staging, and set everything up. Upon payment he didn’t read through the agreement that our accessories will be rented monthly, he thought the price we gave him was the total and refused to pay the monthly balance moving forward, so I took everything out after a month on the market. This was a learning curve for me, I am now specific to clients that my accessories will be rented for a minimum of 3 months.
What was your favorite room or art or accessory?
Picking a favorite room is difficult, but I think my favorite piece of art is the artwork I make for our projects. It’s usually nothing fancy, but it’s a quick solution to bring in a pop of color and fill a wall. I even had some people buy the pieces.
If you were to pick a theme song for your career as a home stager, what would it be?
The Eye of the Tiger
If you were going to write a book about your staging career, what would it be called?
Setting the Stage for Success
What would you tell someone new, thinking of getting into home staging?
Research the business, get certified and ask yourself what your good at. Not all stagers need to open their own business in order to stage and in hind sight, as an owner I’m always working on building my brand and company more often than I stage. So, if you like to be creative and want to be hands on, rather than be the boss, I’d search for an existing staging company in your area and team up with them.
Connect with Tori through social media:
Stylish Stager’s Facebook fan page
Also check out Tori’s web training series, Realtor meets Stager.
Read more home stager stories in our, “I’m a home stager.” series.
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