Q&A with a Staging Studio Student Who Was Featured on HGTV!Dec 30, 2020
Designing for HGTV is a home stager’s dream! When we heard that one of our students, Lynne Trinklein of LynneMark Home Staging & Color Consulting, got to live that dream, we couldn’t wait to share her inspirational story with you.
Lynne staged a home for HGTV’s My Lottery Dream Home, which is about a lottery winner who is searching for a new home! They show the lottery winner several homes to pick from, and Lynne had the opportunity to stage one of those homes.
So first things first, introductions! Tell us your story and all about your staging company.
I’ve always pursued creative passions. I studied photography in college and English in graduate school. In between, I dabbled in everything from stained glass to oil painting to floral design. But once my youngest left the nest, I realized that home staging was the ideal opportunity to funnel all my creative interests into an activity that could be a full-time business.
That’s when I got into staging and took Staging Studio’s courses. I have a real love of homes, so I always wanted to be a REALTOR® or designer. Like so many of us stagers, something that makes me really happy is rearranging my home and creating beautiful spaces, so it was an easy transition.
I’ve been in business for 5 years. I have a large warehouse and two full-time employees, and lots of part-timers. During the busy season, you can’t do it all by yourself. Having people who you trust and who know your aesthetic, it’s huge. I have those people – I’m really blessed that way.
We do mostly vacants, but also offer occupied staging, and I do color consults. Now people are finding me on the internet, and I’m doing design work for clients in New York! It’s kind of funny! People read your reviews and see your work, and it sells you. I’ve been really fortunate.
Your staging was recently featured on HGTV – SO cool. What was that like?
HGTV saw my work on Houzz and picked me for the show. It’s quite an honor given all the stagers that live in my area. In fact, Racine (where the show was made) is only a half-hour from Chicago, so HGTV had stagers there they might have chosen. The offer was a great validation that the skills I developed through Staging Studio set me apart from the pack.
They wanted me to put together a plan and a budget, and once it was approved, I had a week to get it done. It was a whirlwind of a week for sure. I was lucky the house was really small; they only wanted the living room, dining room, and kitchen done.
The only thing I knew about the lottery winner was that she is a woman, so I staged with more flowers and feminine touches, and that was really fun.
Another caveat was I couldn’t use artwork unless I had the signed permission of the artist. We did a wall of mirrors and I made shadow box art myself. We used some metal pieces, in the kitchen we put a chalkboard. It was funny because when it aired, my shadow boxes were blurred. I guess they didn’t know for sure if they had permission or not!
The lottery winner wanted a home and yard big enough that she could entertain her family. My house was the smallest, so she did not pick it, but mine was the only house they sat down in! I knew that it probably wasn’t going to be the house that was picked. The bedrooms were so small, they didn’t even have closets! But it was a cute house.
What was your favorite part about the entire experience?
Definitely my favorite part was watching the episode when it aired. I don’t have cable so I couldn’t actually see it, I had to buy the episode to see it! My house was on at the very end of the episode.
I always get to know the sellers, but I never get to know the buyers! Just to see someone who appreciates your work or has a happy ending, it’s really a good feeling. That’s what we’re all doing. We’re helping our sellers, but we’re also inspiring our buyers too. It’s a really fun line of work to be in.
You’ve taken every single Staging Studio course there is, which is seriously amazing!! How has being so highly-trained influenced your career?
Staging Studio’s courses have given me so many important insights. When I took the Master Class last January, right before the COVID-19 shutdown, I’d already had a pretty good business, but I still learned SO much.
Debbie and Julie’s trick of not using end tables in the living room – just ways to still make a space look lovely and not stretch your inventory. Little tricks like that make a huge difference! You learn new tricks and tips, and you know how to proceed.
It’s nice to know that you’re not alone. Especially when you’re starting out, you can feel like you’re kind of alone. Stagers, we’re all part of such a generous community. Stagers are more than willing to share what they know.
Last but not least, what advice would you give to home stagers just starting out? I’m sure many of our readers aspire to the kind of success you’ve achieved!
Just don’t give up. The hard part is unless you get some kind of lucky break, where you know a REALTOR® who wants to employ you to do a lot of staging, it just takes a while to build your business.
If you form a connection with somebody who’s doing a renovation, that can give you an “in” to that community. I think half of my business is from people who are purchasing properties, renovating them, and then selling them. They’re part of a community too, and they share information.
It’s all about plowing forward and not giving up. Reaching out to REALTORS®, making those phone calls, and going to open houses. It gets a lot easier when you’ve done a few projects and have nice pictures and reviews. Like any business, you have to work hard on it. Take more courses and get as much education as you can! Being part of the staging community, all those things help.
As Lynne shows us, the sky’s the limit when you’re a trained and confident stager! Learn how to become a profitable home stager by earning your Staging Design Professional® certification, just like Lynne. For more examples of student successes, check out our Staging Studio student gallery for gorgeous photos of staging done by our certified SDPs®.
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