At lunch yesterday, one of our young team members was pondering her future. She just doesn’t know which way to move forward as she grows older. She was brought up to understand that you should be a responsible person, so she was wavering between her passion and her adult responsibilities.

Carol Ann and I both know her passion is photography. We told her we started our dream several years older than she is now, and it has been hard work and we have sometimes thought we just can’t fight the fight anymore. Sometimes the continual ups and downs and the negative people who do not understand the power of home staging, are still challenging. We are still here and still fighting, but we also enjoy the fruits of our labor. So many of our clients tell us we make a difference in their lives; we solve a problem for them. Plus, we have made so many friends along the way, and have families who believe in us. So, we told her, yes, she should pursue her dream of being the best photographer in Chattanooga, but be prepared to put in all the hard work that it entails.

Carol Ann and I decided 10+ years ago to try a go at this business. Staging companies and the very idea of home staging were not known back in the day like they are now. Thankfully, HGTV helped with that! Over the years, we have adjusted many processes and learned how to build confidence and relationships to continue to strive to be the home staging go to girls!

I can remember the “early” years of this business. Carol Ann was at her home office trying to painstakingly build a website to market our new business, while I was working part-time in a medical facility and trying to also keep up with opening a new business. We were so excited and could see the potential of being the first real home staging business in the Chattanooga area.

Take a walk down memory lane…some of these pics go way back. Remember over a decade ago, the style was so much different!

As I sit here typing this, I look back to the first couple of stagings we landed. The very first one we staged was for a now political figure in North Georgia. I remember getting the call while we were sitting in the parking lot of what used to be Glen Gene Deli on Shallowford Road. We were so excited. We started screaming, and then I realized I had not hung up the phone! We were mortified but still shaking with disbelief. We had worked so hard and visited and reached out to so many friends and realtors. We even begged for jobs, just to let us prove ourselves! 

We had, at the time, no mentors that we knew of to reach out to. We were literally on our own. We could not afford to join any associations or professional groups (and there certainly weren’t any in the area). Once we did more research, we ended up at a RESA (Real Estate Staging Association) meeting the greatest girls in Nashville. We are so grateful to Anthea Click of Fresh Perspectives in Nashville for helping commandeer our ship for several years. She always had a positive answer to all of our fears and questions!

It is a very scary thought to step out of your comfort zone and try to reach for a goal that seems so insurmountable as you start in that direction. However, if you work hard and not sway when people don’t seem to believe in you, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel.