How I became a Professional Home Stager

Home Stager with Set The Stage

A few Days ago I was asked how I became a Home Stager by another AR member since I had a wealth of Computer expertise... I responded to her comment, but have had more people asking me the same thing...

Actually the computer stuff is by accident (well, there is no 'accidents') being rural for 7 years and part of that time without a car, but I had a computer - I learned what it was all about & then I was pregnant with my now 4.5 yr old daughter. I wanted to stay home with her, so again I was trapped at home out in the 'boonies' as my parents like to call it and with a baby, so I learned more - bound and determined to make it work and learn all I had to know to do it myself!

I hate paying for things that I can learn to do myself and I really hate conflicting information that is all over the internet these days - so I set my mind to finding out what works and what does not... I did find out... and I also learned that I have a passion for design.

I created my first website 7 years ago - it was bad & I mean really bad;) then I started what was many new businesses, I made natural soap - designing my own fragrances - that didnt work so well...

Then after my daughter was born I opened a small shop on  my property for all handmade items - I redesigned the shed for my shop! - but that didnt work out so well as a business either, so after a year or so - I found myself designing jewelry - all natural stones with solid silver and gold... The jewelry did work for about a year - now the materials cost so much that I have to jack my prices up & the customers dont want to pay that kind of $$$ - so That in the end didnt work!

But through all of it I realized about 6 months ago that I have always been designing - I am a true designer and love making things 'look pretty' the SEO experience came out of necessity, not really because I liked doing it - I much prefer to do the design and thats it.

The real experience with websites and SEO came after my house burned down and we were rebuilding our home. The builder stole $30,000 of the insurance $$$ and never came on site again - we were left with a house ready to collapse, the insurance company refusing to pay out any $$$ until the house was ready for painting and a suspended mortgage because the builder also lied about having national home warranty.

We were devistated and this building company was building other homes for elderly people and others like us across Canada - I had to do something, so I put up a website to document the construction of my home for all to see - I used Web CEO to track my websites performance against this builders website - I was determined to be the first website people saw when they searched for him!

You can check it out at;

I succeeded and he is now sitting in jail for 21 months after committing fraud for 15 years! and his accomplice is now in the process of being charged by the alberta government. (yea for me ;))

We ended up loosing $70,000 when all was said and done with the construction of our house (that I designed) and we decided that we had to sell (or the bank would foreclose) so I took my passion for design and applied it to the house (I had read somethings online about staging) and I did a test... before we staged we had an offer of $240,000 and after the house was staged the next offer was $310,000 - thats a $70,000 difference! from that moment I knew what I wanted to do, and really it is what I have been doing all along...

Comments (5)

Kimberly Wester
Valparaiso, IN

Cheryl - So sorry to hear about the whole house ordeal.  My parents went through a similar ordeal (dishonest builder, but no fire) I wish they had had your courage, rather than just paying all of the subcontractors out of pocket.  But You have definitely been blessed by it, as you seem to hold what you gained at a higher value than what you lost.

We all seem to have stumbled into this career in similar fashion (experiencing what staging can do, again, not the fire).  I wrote a blog asking for everyone to share their path.  Here it is.  I hope you enjoy reading it - it gives you a lot of insight into your fellow stagers.

Congratulations and the best of luck - you are going to be great!

Mar 01, 2007 07:52 AM
Kimberly Uksik
Independent - Pickering, ON
Home Stager - Durham, Toronto, On.


What a story.  I know now why you are such an advocate for the public and making sure that they get all of the correct information.

Good for you for making a negative into the positive.


Mar 01, 2007 11:23 AM
Joan Staker
Time to Stage - Arlington Heights, IL


Incredible story and way to go. That guy is right where he should be.  Yesterday's Oprah show was about the resiliency some people seem to possess,and  manage to rise above whatever obstacles come their way.

So sorry about the fire experience and all the other negatives, but what a truly amazing and strong soul you are.

All the best- 

Mar 02, 2007 02:20 PM
Cindy Lin
Staged4more School of Home Staging - South San Francisco, CA
Host, The Home Staging Show podcast

such an inspiring story! i look forward reading more on your expertise and staging experiences.



Mar 12, 2007 08:41 AM
Erica Howard
Take 2 Home Staging - Centerville, OH

Great story! Unfortunately sometimes we have to go through the bad times to get to the good times.  But, they definately make us stronger and who we are today.
Good Luck


Mar 13, 2007 01:46 PM