Thursday, January 5, 2012

Flying Swine & a Retro Rita Interview

If someone had told me just three years ago that I'd give up my 25+ year career as a human resource executive, turn my passion into real action and launch my own bath and kitchen accessories business, I probably would've said, "When pigs fly!"  But that's exactly what I did ~ a real dream come true!

Looking back, I wonder if that's why I've always been drawn to flying swine.  Over the years, I've collected a few.  The cast iron variety...

These little porkchops sit on top of my desk:

"Hammah Montana" is my favorite!  She's a vintage piggy bank and weighs about 10 pounds!

Squeel!  Look at her hamhocks!  Isn't her curly tail cute?

So when out and about recently I spotted this little porker and thought she'd be perfect for this month's blog giveaway:

What should we call her, Patsy Swine?  Britney Spareribs?, please!

Anyway...I'm hoping this little piggie is a reminder that dreams and wishes do come true!  For a chance to win her, leave a comment on this or any of my January 2012 blog posts and I'll randomly draw a winner on January 31st.

Turning things over now to Retro Rita who's here to introduce you to Rhonda Effron, a friend who's following her dream as a home stager...

Retro Rita:  Tell us about your business, Rhonda.
Rhonda:  In the blink of an eye we get initial impressions.  Everywhere we go, everyone we meet, everything we see is instantly and subliminally anayzed and opinions formed.

Putting a property on the market is no different than placing a product on a shelf.  Just as a good retailer will carefully consider all aspects of packaging, pricing, timing and product placement, a home seller should approach the process of selling this prized possession with considerable forethought and careful preparation.

For most of us, selling a house is among the biggest financial moves we make.  We cannot affort to have our investment languish in a stagnant housing market with a seemingly endless of number of other houses trying to sell.

Staging is about making a property stand out among the competition for the quickest and most lucrative sale possible.  That's what I do!

(Rhonda tip:  With lots of natural and upward lighting, it will be love at first sight when a buyer sees herself in this bathroom mirror!)

Retro Rita:  What drew you to home staging?
Rhonda:  A tip from a friend at just the time I was looking for a new challenge.  She thought it might appeal to me and how right she was!

This was back in 2003 and having never heard of the term, "home staging," I was intrigued by the concept and jumped online to find out about this emerging industry.  I loved it.  The concept made perfect sense to me and I believed it would catch on in a big way.

Thanks in large part to awareness raised by the many HGTV shows that have popped up over the years, the term, "home staging," is now nearly universal.

Retro Rita:  How did you get your start in the business?
Rhonda:  My initial online research was done in May 2003 and in June I was on a plane to Seattle for training with Barb Schwarz, the original visionary who created the profession and coined the term.  I was accredited at the training program and staged my first house that same year and have attracted business mostly by word-of-mouth every since.

(Rhonda Tip:  A clean driveway helps curb appeal!)

Retro Rita:  Why is home staging so important, particularly in this down market?
Rhonda:  If you think listing your home as a slice of pie, the longer it sits on the sill, the less appealing it is.  Listings go stale quickly and the first days on the market are your greatest opportunity for making the sale.

It is critical to make a good first impression both online (visual and descriptive) and with the pricing.  Move-in or rental has a much greater appeal and a much greater chance of a quick sale.  Psychologically, when a potential home buyer knows a house has been sitting on the market, she's likely to move on to a newer, fresher listing.  It's just human nature.

This is an extremly challenging housing market but sales are happening.  There are many distressed sales where buyers are enjoying great values.  To make a sale in the shortest time possible and where you get a fair price for your home, it is critical to come on the market priced competively and looking better than your competition.

Retro Rita:  Share with us some simple, no cost staging tips, please.
Rhonda:  In today's market, it's all about the pictures!  Over 90% of home buyers begin their home shopping online and this makes your home's photo day crucuial.  Be sure to hide trash cans (inside and out), put away the pet paraphanelia, exercise and baby equipment, close the toilet seats, open the shades (the more light the better), get all of the cars, campers, etc. out of the drive.

Retro Rita:  To date, what's been your favorite or most successful staging project:
Rhonda:  My biggest thrill was last spring when a home I staged sold to an out-of-town buyer before the realtor even got the sign in the yard!  Like I said before, it's all about the pictures.

(Rhonda Tip:  Dont forget to stage your outdoor spaces too!)

Retro Rita:  Apart from home staging, what do you do?
Rhonda:  I have been a dental hygienist for 30 years and sub on-call; this allows me great flexibility and satisfaction in a profession that I've always enjoyed buy find physically difficult for more than a few days at a time.  I also travel a lot with my husband and when possible, my grown kids.  Other favorite activies include square, round and line dancing; making "trash art," and playing in my flower garden.

Retro Rita:  What does doing business with small businesses mean to you?
Rhonda:  Building relationships and learning from and inspiring others.

Retro Rita:  What are your hopes and aspirations for your business and where do you see yourself in the future?
Rhonda:  I'd like to grow the virtual aspect of my business.  This is where I consult with home sellers (or anyone facing a decorating or home improvement challenge) online, working from their digital photos.  It's a very afforadable option and one that will do well, even when I'm traveling.

Retro Rita:  What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Rhonda:  A beautiful rocking cradle my dad and brother made for my first born.  It has an inscription on a little brass plate, the dowels were all hand turned with love and my stepmom made a sweet flannel bedset for it.  All of my babies slept in it as did their little stuffed babies after that.  I'll treasure it forever.

Retro Rita:  What is your favorite indulgence that you use to treat yourself?
Rhonda:  Oh, that would have to be getting a pedicure.  I think I got my first pedicure ever in 2002 and now get one about once every two months ~ makes me melt!

(Rhonda's passionate about square dancing!)

If you're in need of some home staging help and tips, please contact Rhonda at (407) 234-1329,  or or visit her Facebook page.  And remember, she can assist you online, easy peasy!


My Vintage Mending said...

Happy to be right with you in the pig flying fleet...following dreams is certainly worth the sweat and tears...smiles...Renee

Jingle said...

I love your cast iron pigs!!!! WOW! LOVING THEM! Great interview, too!

Holly- Cutie Pie Cottage said...

Oh my, I so do NOT get the flying pigs hee-hee but I have another friend who DOES so I will give her your link! :)

Home staging sounds fun. Good luck to Rhonda and to you in your ventures! ♥

Missy Shay said...

I love the little pig, I'm surprised you don't want to keep it for yourself!

Betty Lou said...

We never know where our road will take us in life. How boring if we did the same thing over and over all our life. Be careful when you say "when pigs fly," those pigs might just fly.

Becky said...

Now you have me in the mood to look for flying pigs!!! Yours are too cute!

And what a cool job your friend has! She gets to "play house" at other folks homes. Her work is beautiful!

Donna said...

Finally catching up with my blog reading! I love Hammah!!! You have made me smile for the first time today :)
I just adore my apron!!!

Melissa said...

Great interview! I have the print that is named "When Pigs Fly", so very cool that I cam across this!!