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LOCAL STORIES

August 30, 2023 at 4:08:41 PM

Design, Desire, and Dedication

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A Glimpse into the Inspirational Journey of a Home Staging Pro

Published on:

August 30, 2023 at 4:08:41 PM

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.

Featuring

Dianna Scarpa

CEO

Opal Home 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?

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk about Opal Home Staging. We're a New Jersey based home staging company serving the Garden State as well as Eastern Pennsylvania. We offer vacant and occupied staging as well as interior decorating, short term rental design and event design.

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?

I get this question often because home staging is such a unique industry and everyone finds themselves here by way of different paths. For me, I was in college studying Sociology and International Development when my professor asked the class "What would you be doing if money wasn't a factor?" Assuming the class full of seniors ready to start their careers in Sociology were going to choose something along the lines of social work, non-profit work or criminal justice, my immediate response was "something in design". My heart sank with the realization that I had spent the last few years of my life giving my all to study something that I now knew wasn't going to be my full-time passion. However, I successfully worked in the International Development field for a few years, but I couldn't stop thinking about my answer to that question. It was ringing in my ears and every day the ringing got louder. Finally I decided to leave the career path I was on, drop everything I had worked for, move to the Jersey Shore and start a Home Staging business. Family and friends thought I was nuts, but here I am, 7 years later, happier than ever and in a career that fulfills me. I get to help my clients move onto their next chapter in life, whether that's a big move, selling a flip, downsizing or any other reason behind their real estate transactions.

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?

The very first time I was asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, I was perplexed by the question and even moreso when my parents explained that I could be "anything I wanted". As a 3 year old, I answered "a monkey". After the laughter subsided, I was still confused, but I've kept that childlike tenacity and curiousity with me into adulthood.

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

Haha. I wasn't expecting this to be the next question. I can safely say that yes, I've let go of the childhood dream of being a monkey. However, in the next ten years I hope to have a strong team of stagers working independently on our staging projects as well as being a good resource for other stagers/realtors wanting to get in the industry.

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?

When I started Opal Home Staging, I reached out to SCORE, an organization that provides mentorships for entrepreneurs and I was matched with a wonderful man named Chris who helped me in the very beginning stages of the company.

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

The most valuable thing he taught me was that for every 9 "no"s you'll get 1 "yes". That helped immensely when I started reaching out to people to offer my services. If it wasn't for that advice, I very well may have given up after the rejection that is imminent when first starting out.

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?

Our "why"? is that we want to help people. We completely understand the emotions that are attributed to buying and selling houses. We come across all different types of people in all different times in their lives. We've worked with recent divorcees, people who are selling their late parents' home, first-time flippers, seasoned investors, and everyone in between. Although everyone has a different story, they all have a similar goal - to sell their homes. We at Opal Home Staging provide our services to help them achieve that goal, many times selling their homes faster and for more money than their unstaged competition.

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?

Our home staging services help our clients by turning ordinary properties into extraordinary showpieces, capturing the hearts of potential buyers and maximizing your property's value. Our team of designers has an unparalleled understanding of current market trends and buyer preferences. We know how to highlight your home's strengths while minimizing any perceived limitations. We also tailor our transformations. Whether it's a cozy apartment, a sprawling suburban house, or anything in between, we curate staging solutions that are tailored to your property's unique characteristics. Our designs are never one-size-fits-all; they're a reflection of your property's personality, which is why we own all of our own inventory and do not rely on a third-party rental companies. Lastly, our staged properties see faster sales and higher returns. Studies consistently show that staged homes sell faster and often at a higher price point. Our expertise in creating inviting and aspirational spaces positions your home as a must-have in the eyes of potential buyers.

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?

My background in Sociology is a big part of what makes Opal Home Staging unique. We understand buyer psychology and behavior and adapt our designs to diverse audiences. We are culturally sensitivity, which ensures designs resonate universally, while also having the skills to keep staging fresh and aligned with ever-changing preferences. Enhanced communication, problem-solving, and collaboration abilities enable effective client interactions and innovative solutions. In short, this sociological background uniquely equips us to create emotionally resonant spaces, navigate diverse demographics, and excel in the ever-evolving landscape of home staging.

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?

Our customers find us primarily through word of mouth or a simple Google search. Fortunately, we have only had wonderful experiences in the 7 years that we've been staging and we look forward to keeping that reputation going! The first step in any of our services is a consultation. Many times, we can provide a report or quote using only photos, videos or a listing. Other times, we'll set up an in-person consultation to see how we can help. We want our clients to have a seamless experience with us. We understand that selling a home can be wildly stressful and we do not want to add to that.

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?

We love our clients! Like I mentioned before, everyone has a different story and we love that we're able to meet them wherever they are in their journey and help any way we can. We have done pro-bono projects for people in need, but for their privacy I have to keep their stories to myself. However, one story that I love is that I previewed a home with a realtor, giving my suggestions and painting a picture of everything I would do to get the home ready for market. To my dismay, I didn't hear back from the realtor for a little bit. Flash forward a few weeks, I get a call from the realtor being apologetic for leaving me hanging, but he explained that after meeting with me and hearing my suggestions, he could see the potential in the home and decided to buy it for himself! Although we didn't get the opportunity to stage that property, we are now this realtor's go-to staging company.

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

I feel like I've already revealed a lot in this interview that people didn't know, but I can offer some exciting news that I received this week... we're officially moving into a warehouse that is twice the size of what we're in now!

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

We want our clients to walk away satisfied with our work and trust that we're the experts that will transform your space to appeal to the widest variety of buyers.

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

They can check out our website www.opalhomestaging.com or for real-time updates on what we're up to, I always suggest giving us a follow on Instagram @opalhomestaging

Any readers out there that are interested in our home staging or design services can give a call or text at 732-895-6640

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

Thank you, it's been my pleasure!

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