Friday

Get your Home Show Ready ...


Selling your house when you are living in it can be tricky sometimes.
You have done everything according the staging plan we came up with during the staging consultation. After all the de-cluttering, updating and a ton of elbow grease on the weekend ... you think you are all set. Not really !
It's Monday morning , kids just got on the school bus and you are rushing to get to your work or run errands ...and then you receive THE CALL ! Your hardworking realtor informs you that you have 15 minutes until a prospective buyer wants to tour your property. Now what do you do ? Panic ? 
Nope ... you just pull out the checklist I have below, go through the list ... and your home will be show ready !

Here's my Showing Checklist that I give my Home Staging clients ...


If you have 15 - 30 minutes :
  1. All beds are made
  2. All trashcans are empty 
  3. Kitchen Sink empty, clean and wipe down
  4. Clean & wipe down Bathroom Mirrors and Sink
  5. Toilet seat should be down
  6. All pets and pet stuff ( litter box, bowls, food etc ) out of the house
  7. Dining tables and counter tops clear of clutter ( mail, papers )
  8. Laundry basket lid should be on
  9. Open blinds , drapes and curtains
  10. Turn all lights on
  11. Secure and put away valuables
  12. Put away all personal stuff from end tables, bathrooms etc 
  13. Put toys and kids stuff away
  14. Set thermostat to a comfortable temperature
Note: For #12 & #13 a Laundry Basket works best! Corral everything in it and take with you to your car.

If you have a 1-2 hours :
  1. Everything on the first list
  2. Vacuum floors ( rugs , carpets )
  3. Sweep & Mop all hard surface floors
  4. Clean entire bathroom ( toilets & shower stalls )
  5. Air out the place to get rid of any lingering odors
  6. Quick wipe down of all appliances in the kitchen
  7. Replace all used towels with "show -ready " towels
  8. Style the beds and sofas with throw pillows 
  9. Make sure your front porch and your back porch is clean ( sweep it ) and is free of clutter.
  10. Park your second / third car down the street
I know you may want to be able to see who is walking in through that door...but please...make yourself scarce ... get out of there well before those buyers get to your property !

I have had my staging clients tell me how much this checklist has helped them during open houses and showings...



Hope this checklist helps you - the buyer get your home ' Show Ready '. Do you have any other tips that could be added to the list ? Please do share.
Until then,
Happy Styling & Happy Staging !


Minol Shamreen
Certified Professional Home Stager + Interior Stylist , B.Arch
Board Member - Real Estate Staging Association ( RESA ) Central Texas Chapter
Studio M Designs | 408.858.1438 | Austin TX

Connect & follow Studio M Designs on these social media platforms : 

Tuesday

Book Review : Marketing for Interior Designers by Anna Kovalchenko

I had the pleasure of connecting with Anna on facebook a few years ago. She and I were on the same boat as far as business was concerned.

She mentions in her book “When I started my interior design business I had just moved to a new city and had zero contacts let alone anybody who would potentially help me to start my career. "

We stayed connected and have since then learnt so much from each other. She has shared her knowledge and expertise with me and so many others on various interior design forums on social media. She is all about helping another person achieve their dreams and I had no doubt in my mind that it was one of the main reasons she wrote this e-book.



Here's her response about the idea and inspiration behind publishing the book:

"The idea of writing this book came into my mind when I was just starting my interior design business on my own and I was really struggling on getting my first clients with no real accomplished projects in my portfolio. The advice I would get from my tutors from the design school was to find a design firm and get experience there or to find a mentor. Probably I was unlucky with finding a mentor and had little idea where to search for him as well as I didn’t want to waste time working for somebody else. I wanted to build my own brand based on my own vision and create my portfolio that would reflect my personal style. So I decided I will write this book dedicated to all starting entrepreneurs where I describe the marketing tools that helped me in the beginning to start and develop my business from scratch. 
My inspiration was the feedback that I got on my blog when I started to share things that I learned about marketing interior design business and I thought it will be good idea to unite all information in one small, yet very practical and informative book."
- Anna Kovalchenko

We all know that it’s not easy to get new clients in a so called "saturated market". And that’s where this book comes in handy. Basically it’s a “ How To” book. Yes, there are plenty of ‘how to market your business books’ ... so what makes this stand apart is that this is geared specifically towards an interior design business.
It’s a great list for the newbies to be armed with when they set up a business in the design industry because all they want is to get more clients and new clients. It also serves as a good platform to jump off of when you want to get to the next level in your biz marketing.

Each chapter in the book addresses one of the marketing strategies. Here are the titles :
1.     Create your website
2.     Start writing a blog
3.     Get featured on Houzz
4.     Facebook
5.     Home Staging
6.     Freelance Websites
7.     Get listed in directories
8.     Partner with Developers & Builders
9.     Partner with showrooms
10. Partner with Real Estate agents
11. Partner with Architects
12. Participate in a TV Show
13. Get Published in Magazines
14. Organize Workshops & Master Classes
15. Create your own YouTube Channel
16. Write a Book or an E-book
17. Write Guest Posts
18. Participate inforums
19. Participate in Exhibitions
20. Advertise with Flyers
21. Participate in Design Contests
22. Pinterest
23. Instagram

Here’s an excerpt from the book :

ORGANIZE WORKSHOPS AND MASTER CLASSES : Spread your knowledge

Organizing a workshop is a great way to promote your work, get more exposure and establish yourself as an expert in the field. 




Here are the steps for organizing an interior design workshop:
  1. First thing you need to do is to define your niche - answer the question - for whom are you going to organize it? Example : Non professionals, people who have genuine interest in interior design. Age: 25-45 y.o. Women
  2. Set your goals - what are you trying to achieve with your workshop? Do you want to do it mainly for advertising your existing work as an interior designer or do you want to make workshops a part time income?
  3. Set the date. Depending on your target audience, define an ideal day to conduct your workshop. Usually evenings during the working week are best for any seminars, since on the weekends people prefer to rest and spend time with their family and friends. 
  4. Decide on location. It should be quiet, private and an easily accessible place. Think of the equipment and facilities you would require (e.g. tea/coffee set up, number of seats, projector, etc.)
  5. Start to promote: • Print out the flyers and take them with you to all events which your target audience might attend. • Invite friends and relatives • Promote on Social Media and your blog • Buy Facebook ads 
  6. Preparation is the key.  Start to get ready at least 2 weeks before the workshop and make several rehearsals in front of the mirror (watch your body language, tone of voice, facial expressions). Print all materials for the workshop on quality paper. Think of giveaways.
How to make your workshop successful:




Tip#1 - Make it interactive
Forget about boring PowerPoint presentations with bullet points and lots of text on slides. Think of including diagrams, examples of actual interiors, make simple floor plans and furniture templates and ask participants to create their own furniture plans. 
Tip #2 - Engage with your audience.
Start discussions, ask people questions, make them think, smile, wonder!
Tip #3 - Be a problem solver. 
In most cases, people are interested in knowing how to solve their own decorating struggles. Ask participants to bring photos of their homes so that they can ask questions about their decorating challenges.
Tip #4 - Show actual examples of your work. 
If you include in the workshop examples of your own designs, people are more likely to perceive you as an expert in the field.
Tip #5 - Include information they wouldn’t find elsewhere.
Think about the theory you studied in design school or something that you have learned from your own experience - your audience will really appreciate it and be excited about learning something they didn’t know. 
Tip#6 - Make it personal. 
A friendly, informal atmosphere is a key point in making your workshop successful. People will come not only to learn something but to have fun and socialize.
Tip #7 - Be yourself. Don’t try to copy anyone! 
Develop your own personal style and approach. People like authenticity and will immediately notice if you perform unnaturally. 
Tip #8 - Invite a professional photographer. 
Beautiful photos of your workshop are an excellent opportunity to promote it - make this investment which will eventually pay off. 

See what I mean … She not only introduces the method, but she also gives you all the details you would need to reach your goal to make that strategy successful. My Home Staging & Interior Business is all about Checklists. And this is one of the few checklists I wish I had when I started out here in Austin TX.


3 reasons why I would recommend it to anyone starting out …
  1. Simple Language & Easy to Follow Ideas: You don’t need intense technical skills or large financial resources to actually start on any of the methods.
  2. Clear, Practical & Precise Marketing Tips: She doesn’t leave you hanging after she suggests something. She actually goes through the step-by-step process and gives you ideas and resources from start to finish.
  3. Tried & Tested Tools: She has personally used and implemented each one of the tips and marketing strategies that are mentioned in the book.
You can get a copy of this book @ L'Essenziale Home Designs - Books & more info @ L'Essenziale Home Designs . And for sure you will want to follow her on pinterestL'Essenziale Home Designs on Pinterest .
Please do share with us if you have any other marketing tips and ideas that have worked for you. 
Until then... Happy Styling !


Minol Shamreen
Certified Professional Home Stager + Interior Stylist , B.Arch
Real Estate Staging Association ( RESA ) Central Texas - Austin Chapter Board Member
Studio M Designs | 408.858.1438 | Austin TX

Connect & follow Studio M Designs on these social media platforms : 


Wednesday

Hygge - The Danish way of enjoying Life's Simple Pleasures !


What is Hygge ? 
It's the lifestyle trend that is catching on real fast ! Pronounced as Hoo-Gaa , there is no one definition to this Scandinavian term. It said to have no direct translation in English either , though “cozy” comes close.  It is often described as a warm feeling of contentment ... a happy state of mind perhaps. And I think it sums up to being a concept about enjoying life's simple pleasures. 


Hygge is such an important part of being Danish that it is considered " A defining feature of our cultural identity and an integral part of the national DNA," according to Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. This national obsession with all things cozy is credited as one of the reasons why Denmark is always at the top of the list of the world's happiest countries, despite their infamously miserable winters. Now the rest of the world is beginning to catch on to this wonderful way of life.   - House Beautiful


So that means ... when I am enjoying my fav' latte in a local cafe or reading a book on a lazy sunday afternoon { yeah right...that happens once in a blue moon } or when I am baking desserts with my daughter ... I guess I am living the hygge lifestyle . 

Originally considered only for the chilly winter season { picture you sitting by the fire , in your fav' sweats & sipping on hot cocoa } , this style is very IN for the summers as well { picture you at outdoor soirees & dining alfresco }. As a decorating style, it is predicted to go strong in 2017. 

Here are 6 decorating & design elements that I think that are essential to this concept ...

  • Candles & Fireplaces
  • Natural Materials & Neutral Palettes
  • Textiles & Fabrics
  • Layering with Rugs, Throws & Pillows
  • Cozy , Comfortable & Intimate Vibe
  • Simple Styling 
Sharing some of my fav' inspiring snapshots of my version of the Hygge style ...












3 reasons why I like this decorating style so much ...
  1. Neutral backdrops with pops of colors : I personally love using grays, whites & blacks accented with the pastel-y shades. Make the spaces feel so bright & light !
  2. Effortless & Casual styling that is so warm & inviting. Brings in a feeling of being welcomed into the space.
  3. The style suits everyone. You can show off your personality ... either with muted tones or bold decor.

The best part of creating the hygge look in your home is that you don't have to go buy new stuff for it. Start by rearranging your existing furniture & layering accents to create intimate settings , a nice conversation area or a cozy reading nook. It's all about having what you like and enjoying the space with your loved ones.
Will you be taking on the Hygge style this year ? Let us know. 
Until then... Happy Styling !

Minol Shamreen
Certified Professional Home Stager + Interior Stylist , B.Arch
RESA Central Texas - Austin Chapter Board Member
Studio M Designs | 408.858.1438 | Austin TX


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