Cheryl Flagg opened Stage & Sell, a home staging business, in March of 2010.
“I thought it would be rewarding to help people effectively prepare their homes for sale,” said Cheryl of her business. Home staging is the art of decorating and photographing rooms in ways that best show the space and appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers.
Cheryl has always had a passion for architecture, interior design, and decorating. She began working on a home-staging concept while living in Massachusetts. After completing a certificate program in interior design, she moved to Nevada.
Due to a disability, Cheryl was eligible to work with the Nevada Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation and apply for funding through their program. She was referred to a counselor at the Nevada Small Business Development Center (NSBDC) to develop her business model and evaluate her business plan.
Cheryl understood that the market and demographic would be different in Nevada.
“Home staging has been popular on the west coast for ten to fifteen years,” said Cheryl, “but it was just getting popular on the East Coast.”
Cheryl spent six weeks doing additional market research for the Northern Nevada area and when she ultimately submitted her business plan for review to Gracie Bartholet, a counselor at the NSBDC, her hard work had paid off.
“Gracie wrote a letter of recommendation back to the Nevada Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation, stating that my plan was feasible and well thought out,” said Cheryl.
From there, her loan was approved and Cheryl was able to purchase the inventory and supplies she needed to start her staging business: a high-end digital camera, laptop computer, and staging inventory and supplies.
Cheryl keeps a low overhead by renting the larger furniture she uses and reusing her props, all of which “give clients a visual of things they could purchase if they wanted to continue the look that I created.”
Cheryl’s first project was a 1920s home on Winter Street in Downtown Reno. It had been listed in 2010 without selling. Less than 10 days after staging the home and relisting it, the owners received and accepted an offer.
“It was very exciting for me to have that type of success,” said Cheryl.
Cheryl has had four clients since the beginning of February and potential client list has been steadily growing. She has been featured in the Reno Gazette Journal and attends local open houses to meet homeowners and, more importantly, realtors, who she sees as her greatest partners.
“Most realtors completely get it and would love to have every single home they list staged,“ said Cheryl.
Her range of services includes consultations, comprehensive reports, half-day staging, and full-day staging, all of which are customized to the needs and limitations of the clients.
Cheryl has continued to work with the NSBDC since starting her business.
“Gracie and I talked about marketing strategies quite a bit and she referred me to realtors that she knew in the area. Then we started talking about my contract. She took everything that I had, and along with the help of a student intern, she rewrote my contract,” said Cheryl.
“That was a huge, huge service. The contract has been working very well for me.”
When asked what advice she has for other business owners or those who dream to be, Cheryl responded, “The business plan – absolutely must have one. I couldn’t imagine doing this without one. There’s a lot of personal growth that you go through in understanding what it’s going to take to understand a business, to run a business. It gave me a lot of confidence that I was going to be able to realize my dream.”
“Take advantage of things like NSBDC – get the mentoring that’s available,” she continued.
“Finally, research – do your research. Know where you stand in the market. Know your competitors. Know the demographics of your target market.”