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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Stellhous , Creating beautiful interiors


How one boutique staging company got started

Published on:

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Ignite Business Insider shares the stories of businesses that are making an impact in their local markets. We highlight their stories in order to inspire entrepreneurial growth and to let readers learn more about businesses across the world that are growing and scaling.


Estela Leyva

Owner & Operator of Stellhous Staging


Thank you for taking the time to sit with us and share your story. Can you share a little bit about you and your company?

I dreamed about having a home staging business while working at my day job. I wasn't sure how I would get started and let go of my full time position with the government but I knew I had to somehow. In December 2021 , I made the move , left my government career of over 20 years and dove into my dream.
I had an uncle that would always call me "Stell house", he was a lighthearted soul and when he would see me he would always say , Whats up Stell house ? I never understood why called me that, my first name is Estela, I guess he felt it suited me. He passed away a few years ago and that nickname stayed top of mind . When it came time , I dropped the e and Stellhous launched Jan 2022.

A question so many people are interested in, is how you got started. Can you share a little bit about what you were doing before this, and what that moment was like for you when you decided to start this new journey?

Working with the government, I was managing a busy government agency office and in that office worked people. People that had real lives that needed leadership and real job roles that needed managing . The federal agency I worked for is one of the bigger agencies serving the American public.
I've worked for over 30 years on a full time basis because as a single mother I had to so it was very daunting to leave something so secure that paid me so well. It came to a point that nothing mattered though, I knew I couldn't start another year doing the same thing and depriving myself of my dream.

Let's take a little bit of a detour, and rewind the clock a little bit. What did you want to be as a kid? And how did that influence the person you are today?

I wanted to be an artist. I wasn't too well versed with the different avenues but I love to draw and paint ever since a little girl. Being creative has come naturally to me . Obviously , I never pursued that, instead I started having babies young and had to take on jobs that paid me next to nothing . Over time, I honed in on my skills and explored more of what I would like to do and was good at, it was then that I realized interiors was it for me. Not necessarily home staging but interiors was the realm of where I needed to be.
In retrospect, you know my mother was a sales representative for a company called Home Interiors and she would go to clients homes and sell decor items and my father was a welder by trade but his passion was restoring vehicles from the ground up. I think about that now and as young as I was , I believe these were huge influences which routed me to my home staging business .

Have you fully let go of that childhood dream? And where do you see yourself going in the next ten years?

Absolutely not. I still draw and paint , I actually need to. It restores me. I'm taking courses on learning to create my own wallpaper by making repeating patterns and hopefully someday, I am able to sell my designs and see them in households and in magazines .I know nothing happens overnight and although 10 years is a long time from now and so much can change in 1 year, I'm excited and just riding this wave and see where we go .

Now, I have found that with successful people, there is always someone pivotal as either a mentor, parent, teacher, or someone that you look to for advise, that helped set you on this path. Could you share who that person was? And what impact that had on the person you are today?

I've had a few instrumental people in my life that have shaped me to who I am today. My mother has instilled in me a work ethic that I am very proud of. As a young woman my mother taught me the importance of earning money and not being dependent on anyone for financial support.
Throughout my previous careers, I have adopted a mentor, who taught me everything about managing and leading people and the importance of emotional intelligence . All my business skills, I've attributed to him . I'm a sponge and I love to learn and I'm naturally curious about things that interest me or that interest others I care about.
During my downtimes I'm absorbing podcasts, books and surrounding myself with smart people.The other person that continues to guide me, mentor me and encourage me is my husband. He has a successful business in which he owns and operates too, so his opinions and recommendations matter to me .

What was one take away that you learned from that person? And how did it translate into your business today?

From my mother, I learned perseverance , keep going and stay consistent .From My business mentor, I learned control, I can only control myself and how I react to any situation, I can't control how others will act or behave.
From my husband I've learned the basics on how to get started and create relationships with clients .

When we work with businesses, we focus a lot on their "Why?". What is your "Why"? What is the driver behind your company, and why you and your team wake up each day and give it your all?

My why has to be because I love a makeover , a transformation and if I can help people make more money with my skill and talent then everything makes sense. It's also very important to me to show my family that anything is possible and that one can create the lifestyle they want. That definition of success is different for everyone but that freedom of time is the best currency .

Let's dive deeper into your products and services. You already gave an overview, but how do your products or services help your customers? And what makes them different from your competitors?

Besides staging vacant and occupied homes , I believe the extra services we provide really help the overwhelmed home seller. We help them during one of their biggest moves of their lives , selling their homes for whatever reason ( divorce, death, growing families ) , it's an emotional process and many moving parts. We offer a pre-staging service for occupied homes which really helps them prepare with getting their home market ready.

Let's unpack that even further. Let's pick one aspect of your business. What makes it so unique? And how does it change you or your customer's experience?

Occupied homes are what we get more frequently and they are more challenging . Often times they are being lived in still with children and pets etc. Once we come in with the occupied staging consultation and we provide them with guidance on what needs to be done, we see how overwhelmed they are , almost to the point in which they don't want to pursue the staging. So we offer pre-staging prep service, which means we help them get the home ready by helping them sort , donate , or pack what needs to removed. The relief on their faces after hearing this , they get excited with moving forward. Its also another source of income stream for us.

Let's dive into your customer's journey a little bit. Can you share with us, how do your customers discover you and your brand? What are their next steps? And what is the experience you would like to see your customers go on, when working with you and your brand?

Every weekday ,I prospect. I make phone calls and reach out to realtors that have upcoming listings, I offer my staging services. Most say no but the ones that say yes, they are repeat clients and have passed my information to their colleagues. I'm very active on Instagram and post regularly. Once a client onboards , it's important for me to communicate our process clearly by explaining a what to expect and how we can best work together . After a quote, we send the invoice and agreement. Once we have received payment and signed agreement, we schedule them in our books. It's important to me to have a quick , clear and short onboarding process and that it's always the same experience for them.

Let's rave about your customers for a minute. Can you share a story about one of your clients or customers, that either touched your heart, or made an impact with you and your team?

I think one that sticks out is the realtor that never used a stager and our service converted them . The trust they had for us to try this service out with no guarantee and to their surprise , the house sold for way over asking on the first weekend. That was really awesome. It feels good to be a problem solver.

Everyone likes an inside scoop. What detail or secret about either you, or your company, is something most people might not know?

Hmmm, I believe that one thing that most don't know is that even though we call ourselves " a boutique home staging company" we have so much in store for the future of where we want to take this company to.

Final thoughts. What feeling or benefits would you like your customers or clients to take away when working with you and your team?

Just like we connect homebuyers to homes , we would like to extend that to our clients by providing value and excellent service. Selling a home is a collaborative effort , it takes a village. If they have someone they can trust , that will ensure they get the best service possible, someone they can count on to help them get houses sold faster and for more money, then I can sleep at night .That is important to me .

Last question. How can people find out more about you and your company?

They can visit our website or find s on social media, specifically Instagram with our handle as @stellhous or pickup the phone and give us a call , the old school way.

Thank you so much for sitting with us and sharing your story.

Thank you for your time!

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