Since the day we opened our doors in 2009, our goal has been to advance not only the services we provide but also to pressure our industry to be better on a daily basis.
We know that leadership by example is the absolute best way to do this.
Let’s take a look at a few of the innovations Spade and Archer introduced to improve the home staging industry throughout the years.
We have offered free consultations since the day we opened in 2009.
Previously, all home stagers charged a fee between $75 and $500 for an in-house consultation. We did not feel right charging our clients to sell them our services.
In 2014, we posted a quick blurb on social media about our consultations being free. I was told a few weeks later that a number of my colleagues were not happy with us offering free consultations.
Within a year, nearly all of our competitors were offering free consultations.
Real mattresses and box springs
The first week we were in business we purchased and set up a blow-up mattress in our founder’s dining room. We tried everything we could to make it look like a real bed.
The results were abysmal.
Air mattresses deflate and look utterly ridiculous!
We vowed from that day forward we would only use real mattresses. The added benefit to a real master bedroom is that we prove to the buyer that a real mattress and box spring will fit up the stairs, around that tight corner, and through that low doorway.
Well, we have paid a hefty price for this one, but I can tell you it has paid off!
We have used vintage furniture, art, and accessories in our home staging projects since the day we opened.
The old guard of home stagers referred to us as the “garage sale” stager. They made fun of our less-than-perfect look and laughed at us. They laughed until we started to succeed. The best part is all the home staging companies that have opened since we started in 2009 now incorporate vintage items into their work.
Nobody has an entire house furnished with brand new items from Pottery Barn or Pier One. It simply looks fake. Nobody wants to buy fake. Eww.
One day stagings
This one took us a while. We had small teams and one truck and it was tough to squeeze an entire staging into one day. We made a few operational changes, trained our staff better, cleaned up the way we loaded items and boom: We were able to stage just about every project in one day.
The home staging industry moves fast. Real estate agents just don’t have 3-5 days to wait for a house to be staged. If your stager is taking more than one day to stage your project, their days are numbered.
Home staging is just like every other design field, it is constantly growing, changing, and evolving. Realtors are looking for easily digestible material to help them educate their clients on why home staging is important. We make special effort to exclude sales pitches from our classes and concentrate on the psychological aspects of how home staging works. We are told constantly that we are some of the best educators available in the industry.
Buffet setting of the dining table
Setting the table in home staging is passé. I will admit we did it for years. There came a point when it just didn’t make sense any longer. It felt contrived, like the bottle of wine with two glasses next to the bathtub. It started to feel too sweet and saccharine.
At first we started to place just a centerpiece on the table and it felt cold and empty in the photographs. Now we place stacks of plates and rows of glasses and napkins on the table, as if they are preparing to set the table.
The result is a warm and interesting table that does not feel too contrived. It warms my heart when I see other home stagers emulating the buffet set up. It tells me we are doing something right.
Catered open houses
We understand that our clients are busy people who have a lot on their plates. We started offering fully catered open houses to our clients when we have the time to do so. The result is wonderful.
Our Realtors get a bit of help serving food and making sure their guests are taken care of and we get to meet a few new brokers around town.
One of toughest things about being a home stager is answering your phone. Not because you don’t want to talk to people, but rather, we often have sofas or other large pieces of furniture in our hands. It seems to be a general rule that whenever I pick up a sofa my phone will start to ring. Sometimes that call has to go to voicemail.
The same can be said of Realtors. They spend their life meeting with folks in person. The last thing they want to do is take a call from a vendor while they are meeting with a client. To fix this problem, we brought in online booking!
Click on “book a consult” and you will be taken right to our calendar where you can pick the date and time that works best for you. It can be Sunday morning at 4 am or Friday night at 8pm, it doesn’t matter. Now you don’t need to depend on us to answer our phone to book your appointment.
It’s difficult enough to part with you money. Using a credit card makes it slightly less difficult. But still, having to call and give your credit card number over the phone leaves you open to credit card fraud, theft, or worse.
Our online payment system makes it so that we never see or know your credit card number. It doesn’t get much safer than that. The best part is, you can pay using your phone!
It used to be that we would send clients an electronic copy of our contract. Then they would print it, read it, sign it, scan it, and email it back to us. It was a process that could take upwards of an hour of everyone’s precious time.
We recently added an online signature program that allows clients to sign our contract electronically without ever having to print it out.
2018 will bring all new innovations from Spade and Archer that, in time, will affect our entire industry. We are in beta-testing now for our newest product that will absolutely blow your socks off.
We can’t wait to share it with you!