In this interview, we are joined by Emma Norman – Founder and Home Stager at Coastal Home Styling, located in Bournemouth, Dorset. With a background in textiles and design, Emma had come to the realisation during the first lockdown in 2020 that the property staging services through the UK lack affordability. After a successful completion of industry recognised Professional Home Staging course Emma launched the company in early 2021.
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Who are Coastal Home Styling and Emma Norman?
As the founder of Coastal Home Styling, I couldn’t be more excited to be following my passion for property and to be pursuing a career in something I truly love.
Being made redundant in the first lockdown allowed me the headspace to rethink my career and gave me the opportunity to put my energies into training, developing, and expanding my skillset.
How it all started with the home staging business?
Now with a new career as a professional Home Stager based in Bournemouth, Dorset.
Originally from London, where I studied at St Martin’s School of Art, I feel blessed to be part of such a friendly, supportive community and delighted to be able to offer Home Staging and Styling services to the local area.
Coastal Home Styling was launched in the early part of 2021. The birth of the company stemmed from a combination of a few things; a background in textiles and design, studying interiors, renovating properties, the realization that there was a lack of affordable property Staging and Styling services in the UK, and the successful completion of an industry recognised Professional Home Staging course.
What are your main responsibilities at Coastal Home Styling?
As the owner of the company I personally cover all aspects of property Staging and Styling, from initial consultations and detailed reports to floor plans, mood boards, project managing and hands on Staging, Dressing and Styling.
Unlike Interior Designers, the services Coastal Home Styling offers are unique, affordable and flexible. Working closely with reliable, local Trades we work with all property types from flats to Penthouse apartments.
What milestones you have set for Coastal Home Styling in the new 12 months?
As Home Staging is still a relatively young industry in the UK the main aim of Coastal Home Styling is to spread the word and educate people about the benefits of investing in Staging and the results it brings.
The ultimate goal would be to grow the company to be able to assist as many people as possible and at some point potentially offer training for anyone interested in pursuing a career in this field.
Describe your preferred design style and from where do you draw inspiration for each staging?
Personally, my preferred design style is a combination of Japandi meets Scandi with a twist of retro whilst incorporating plants and natural elements.
The Home Stager that I aspire to be most like is the fantastic Meredith Baer. Based in the USA where Home Staging is a huge industry, both her story and work are truly inspirational.
Tell us about your most recent encounter with obstacles at work.
Home Staging is a very rewarding job but you can encounter a few obstacles along the way! A recent Penthouse apartment we Staged had 3 balconies, all of which we decided to dress to demonstrate how the spaces could be used.
The weather in the weeks leading up to the project had been sunny and pleasant with no cause for concern, however the days that followed the Staging were anything but pleasant!
Gale force winds around 50mph and driving rain played havoc with the plants and accessories and the balconies needed almost daily TLC whilst photos and viewings took place. Lessons were learnt from this and plants and furnishings for future outdoor projects will now be of a more robust nature and weighted down where possible!!!
Each individual job is different and challenging in its own way. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution so it is important to define what each job entails. Firstly, is it a Staging or Styling project?
If Staging who is the property’s ideal buyer/tenant, what is the current condition of the property, the timescales and budget we have to work with, whether it is furnished or unfurnished, occupied or unoccupied, and the amount of input required to get it to where it needs to be.
If Styling who the space is for, any important elements/needs that need to be factored in, whether it is furnished or unfurnished, timescales, budget, style and colour preferences, amount of input and work required.
How to recognize Coastal Home Styling's signature?
Lots of plants, natural elements, light and space with a homely feel.
We are very friendly and approachable, passionate about what we do and love helping people.
What is the process to become a home stager?
Ideally you need to have a passion for property and helping people. Some basic understanding of scale, balance, colour and design is useful.
Do lots or reading and research on the industry, and study an industry recognised professional Home Stager training course or two! There are quite a few out there to choose from and the learning never stops!
I recommend logging on to the Home Staging Association of Uk and Ireland website where you can find details of relevant courses and reviews to get you started.
What is the right way to do home staging?
Understand your client and their property goals, budget, timescales etc. I always start with as much fact finding as possible and an Initial Consultation to get to meet the potential client and view the property.
Producing a report with photos is always helpful to demonstrate the recommended changes. It is good to set clear objectives and keep the lines of communication open and honest.
Put plans and timelines in place and only make necessary changes which will add value and appeal to the property.
What is the most common objections you hear from people about home staging?
Vendors / Landlords can be reluctant to invest money Staging their property when the market is hot and the Estate Agent has told them that it will sell/rent out easily as it is!
This is a misconception though as it is proven that Staged properties sell/rent out quicker and in many cases for more money than their un-Staged competition, in some cases 8-10% more!
Yes, it’s true that in a buoyant market property goes quicker, but you could see a much greater return on your investment if you Staged it first!
On what projects do you work on at the moment?
Currently, I have both Staging and Styling projects going on. One Staging project is for a client who needs to inject a little love and atmosphere back into her property before marketing it but also wants to get ideas and inspiration to take with her to her next home.
One of the Styling projects is for a young family who have recently moved into a larger property but are struggling to see how their existing furniture can work in the space, and need assistance with storage solutions.
What would you be your advice to someone who is not sure if they need home staging for their listing?
Home Staging works. Home Staging sells. Any time and effort that is invested in your property before marketing is a worthwhile investment.
The HSA produce an annual report based on facts and figures gathered from UK Estate Agents, Property Professionals and Developers which makes for a very interesting read.
There is also a new app called StageFlow which compiles data from actual Staging projects to help demonstrate the power and success of Staging. For anyone looking to achieve a quick sale for the best possible price they should consider using the services of a Home Stager.
What separates the good from bad home staging?
A professional Home Stager treats each property with the respect and dedication it deserves.
They take their job seriously, do their market research, know their target market and how to highlight the features and benefits of a property whilst ensuring it looks at its best.
Anyone who treats the job more as a hobby, doesn’t do their market research, isn’t professionally trained, and cannot show successful case studies or examples of recent projects may not be the best choice for Staging your property.
How did you found your first home staging client?
On a 3 day “set up your own business” training course! We sat around in a group discussing our business ideas and I received some very positive comments about mine!
The guy sat on my right was saying that he and his wife were thinking of moving but not sure where to start with their house as it was in a mess… I offered to visit their property for free as a trial run and it progressed from there!
Following my visit and a report with a list of recommendations, the property took a month to prepare and 10 days after going to market it had received multiple offers and sold for more than that asking price!!!
If you were to give advice to your younger self, what would be?
I would say do what your passionate about and what makes you happy! Believe in your abilities and take chances.
Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way!
Home Staging is a huge industry in the USA and many other countries around the globe.
It has been around for years and is considered an essential property marketing tool. For now, it remains a growing industry in the UK but I am pretty sure that before long it will become an essential property tool here as well.