People often ask me how I came up with the idea of Staging & Design Network, following that question with the comment, it’s a genius idea. I don’t consider myself to be a genius, it just seemed the logical solution to the problems I faced when offering professional staging services.
It was early spring when my neighbor and I were talking over a glass of wine. Her home had been on the market for almost a year with the listing about to expire. She said, “Tricia, you have a real estate company, and you love to decorate, would you be willing to list and professionally stage my home? With your talent, hopefully, you can help it sell at a favorable price.”
I wanted to help, and I thought it would be fun to stage, so I embraced the challenge. I spent some time gathering the needed resources, then staged her home and put it back on the market at the same asking price. To my delight, it sold in less than 2 weeks with multiple offers, over the asking price.
Soon after that experience, I had other friends asking me to list and stage their homes. As my schedule began to fill with opportunities, I fell in love with the design process of staging homes. The downside was the realization that the home staging process as a whole was cumbersome at best.
One evening after a long day of staging, my husband came home to find our sofa and his favorite piece of art missing from the living room. He quickly communicated his frustration when he asked me, “Tricia, where is our sofa and my favorite art piece?” With my most endearing smile, I whispered, “well I needed it for a home that I was staging.” With his sweetest bewildered smile, he countered, “why didn’t you use one of the twelve sofas’ already taking up space in our garage?” Although I felt his pain, I shared that “none of those sofas matched this particular home.” His strong suggestion, “please get a warehouse so I can have my garage back. Once you have more space, you’ll be able to buy more sofa’s and stop taking things from our home.”
I realized at that moment that I needed to take a more serious look at investing in inventory for staging. As I did, I realized that no matter how much inventory I purchased, I was never going to have the right piece for every home. I knew that I couldn’t be the only one with this issue.
I started working on a solution for stagers to share inventory. I came up with the idea of a shared rental pool where we could expand our inventory together. Everyone would be able to maximize the utilization of their inventory by renting to other stagers, creating a better return on the investment. I then realized that I spent quite a bit of time looking for affordable inventory, so I decided to add a buying center where stagers could buy at member prices. I also realized that inventory needed to stay fresh which meant, out with the old, and in with the new, so we added a way for Stagers to sell their inventory in staged homes or online. My experiences were the birth of the idea which is now known as Staging & Design Network. The company was launched to the real estate community in 2015 after 3 years of building the model and testing it with others in the Staging community. In 2017 we continued our evolution from the first member staging network by adding professional staging courses with CE credits for real estate agents.
Today, SDN is offered throughout the Puget Sound region. One day we’ll be in every real estate community on the planet.
Tricia Tomlinson, Founder & CEO